To date, I have only heard of five other Holidays in existence. When I found my first one in central Florida, I couldn’t find anyone who had heard of them. I contacted Airstream directly. They had no record of a ham can type trailer ever made by Wally or Airstream or any trailer ever sold as a “Wally Byam Holiday.” I contacted the Tin Can Tourists. Forrest Bone responded that he had not heard of the Holiday but suggested I post it on Airstream Forums. I did and got mixed replies from “Ain’t no such thing” to “Man you have a really rare Airstream. “
It was on the forums I first met Fred Caldwell who turned out to be a remarkable cornucopia of Airstream facts and history. But even in the beginning Fred had not heard of the Holiday.
My first real lead came from Scott Scheuermann, the first VP of the Vintage Airstream Club. Scott suggested the Holiday might be a Holiday Travel Trailer. “From what I understand they were only produced for one year. It is an Airstream product, thus you can join the WBCCI and or the Vintage Airstream Club. The person you want to talk to is RJ Dial. He knows a lot about Vintage Airstreams and knows others who also know more about them than he.”
I contacted R.J Dial and he responded: “I've only heard of the Holiday one other time - little is known about it. Ohio didn't open up until September 1952, and the windows on your trailer were not used after 1952, so I set the age at…. 1952!… The Wally Byam Holiday does show up on the official list from the WBCCI as eligible trailers - and they received the list from Airstream back in the late '50's.”
Somewhere along in here I was told to try the The Recreation Vehicle and Manufactured Housing Hall of Fame Museum. They responded that after searching their records they had no listing of the “Wally Byam Holiday.” It was through the RV/MH Museum I got in touch with Al Hesselbart, author and historian who joined the staff of the RV/MH Hall of Fame in 1994 as the on site manager. Al wrote:
“Lanny, I heard back from Wally Byam expert Bud Cooper who is very familiar with the Holiday and nearly owned one when new. It was a small production prototype model made only in 1954 to see if the customer would buy the caravan styling as opposed to the typical Airstream styling. The test failed and they were never put into real market production. The prototype unit was built by a Jack Oakley and John Taylor for Wally. “
So the history started to come together.
While building up Airstream’s Ohio production and sales during the first two years, Wally Byam manufactured this less expensive trailer under his own name, the Wally Byam Holiday. Based on small lightweight trailers he saw in Europe, the Wally Byam “Holiday” is a 15’ flat-sided canned ham style trailer built only in Ohio and sold during 1954 and 1955. I was fortunate to have found and purchased two of them them, I assume both built in 1954.
History is courtesy of Lanny Webb - firstname.lastname@example.org
See his site below for more information and tons of pictures.
According to the brochure and magazine ads, it can sleep five adults. They would have to be exceptionally good friends and small as well. The undercarriage is steel ladder frame construction like many other Airstreams. The outside skin and most structural body members were riveted aluminum, with a few wood framing members as necessary. The interior is all wood, 3 ply 3/16th inch thick Birch paneling. Balura paneling was also used. Standard equipment included a four burner South Bend butane stove, oil or propane heater and an airplane chemical toilet. A flush-able marine type toilet was an option for an additional $20. Both my Holidays have Cunningham marine toilets. There was a standard sink and faucet fed by city water but an additional ten gallon stainless steal fresh water tank and hand pump could be added for another $40. My #1094 has the stainless steal tank. One of the existing Holidays #1102 owned by Ellen and Shannon Stewart has a wall mounted gas fueled water heater. It mounts on the wall next to the sink, looks to be about ten inches in diameter and 24” tall. It is not listed as an option in the original brochure.
The choice was between the standard 50 lb. ice refrigerator or two models of gas refrigerators, the Astral for $135 and the more expensive Silo from Germany for $175. These were exceptionally expensive options considering the stock or base Holiday price was $1,395.00 F.O.B. Jackson Center, Ohio. My #1094 has the ice box. The #1135, much later model, has an electric refrigerator built in Germany for the Alaska refrigerator company. It was original with the camper but not listed in any of the promotional material. . All have the same floor plan with a dinette which converts to a twin bed, a rear double bed with a narrow bunk above. In the first models, optional extra equipment included a marine type flushing toilet, 10 gallon stainless steel water tank and hand pump, gas light, propane Panel Ray heater, coil spring mattress, twin butane tanks and an Astral or Silo gas refrigerator. My 54 has the Gas light, an Alaska 110 electric refrigerator, the twin tank option and a Dearborn butane heater.