Vintage Airstream owners keep Wally Byam's legacy alive. But what is it that matters about Wally, now decades after his death? Someday, I'd like to read or write a good biography of Wally. Perhaps we know less than half the story.
No matter who Wally really was, we do know he was a master at public relations and marketing. He reminds me a little of Richard Branson of Virgin Inc. Like Sir Richard, Wally used his personality and his own lifestyle to promote his products and create a buzz and cool-factor that translated into sales of his travel trailers. But even more than an ingenious marketer, Wally seems to have been authentically committed to promoting a life of travel and adventure for all Americans. In his books, he pushes his readers to get out of the rocking chair and travel.
Here's a great ad from right around 1956 that demonstrates the way he wove together marketing and adventure. You might have to click on it more than once to make it the big enough to read.