We’ve all seen one of those aluminum, bullet-shaped trailers on its journey around the world in style. For years these retro caravans have hauled families, friends, kids, pets, and more in search of the next great adventure. Airstream enthusiasts have ventured from the Egyptian Pyramids to the top of the Eiffel Tower to the villages of Ethiopia – they live for the open road.
This year marks the 85th anniversary of Airstream and we want to celebrate the man behind the masterpiece. We got our hands on Patrick Foster’s Airstream: America’s World Traveler, a book that tells the story of Airstream through its countless memories and adventures, and recognizes the visionary who created the Rolls-Royce of travel trailers, Wally Byam. We can’t get enough of these awesome vintage photos and the experiences they encompass.
This photo shows an early Airstream trailer, probably created around 1933. This man appears to be Wally Byam even though he is not identified. The early Airstream trailers were shaped like a “teardrop” to improve aerodynamic efficiency, and the sleeping compartment in this model sits toward the rear of the trailer.
An Airstream allows you to travel to places that you couldn’t reach by plane or train. In this photo, a traveler observes Sveti Stefan, an island about 4 miles southeast of Budva that is connected by causeway to the mainland in Montenegro.
This photo shows a 1948 Studebaker and it is towing a large vintage Airstream created around the same time. This family seems to be enjoying their vacation in style somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon line.
A quick trip to Florida was always easy for those that didn’t have much time to travel. Airstreams allowed you to park your trailer right on the beach, being constantly surrounded by sand, palm trees, and warm breeze.
Wally Byam had a great sense of humor. Here he shows off two Airstream trailers: the larger “Nursery” and the smaller “Mother-in-Law”. The signs in the windows indicate a few of the best features of these sturdy trailers.
The Arc de Triomphe is a must see in Paris and this western-dressed couple seems to agree. The monument was created in 1806 to honor Napoleon’s Grande Armée’s victories.
This photo was taken on the road in Africa but the location is unknown. To protect themselves from lions and tigers, the men in the lower left are carrying rifles.
In this photo, Charles’ Ford pickup and Airstream are parked in front of the Charminar building in Hyderabad, India. Charminar means “four towers” in the Urdu language.
To make cold weather touring possible, the Airstream trailer offers extra-snug insulation and a great heating system. This couple took their Airstream to the mountains for a ski trip.
Stopping to pick flowers in San Francisco in 1964, with the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop. The car is a 1964 Cadillac, and the trailer is an Airstream Land Yacht.
The Ford Country-Squire station wagon was an ideal vehicle for towing Airstream trailers in the 1960s and 1970s. This 1967 model is towing an Airstream through Hawaii.
When young buyers began purchasing prettied-up and sportier compacts, they learned that these small cars were more suitable for use with smaller trailers, like Bambi shown in this photo.
Always a popular tourist destination, Taos, New Mexico gives visitors a look at an ancient civilization, with local Native Americans on hand to introduce newcomers to the Pueblo Indian culture. This photo was taken during the mid-1970’s.
Yacht owners loved that they could lock up their home right next to the yacht!
This is an exterior view of an Airstream Funeral Coach around 1982. The flowers were put in the back and the casket was put in a side carrier space. Mourners could ride inside the passenger space – with individual seats and a couch.
The most luxurious Airstream trailer, the Limited, even came with branded folding chairs. The couple in this photo look happy as they camp near a beautiful mountain range.