[Modify] [Delete] Hi... Peter and Robyn aka Turbopete @ Robynhood,yesterday we purchased a Franklin Regent in absolutely superb condition The serial no is 2331834 and stamped on the drawbar is 4235-1,the van was supposedly under a carport for 30yrs travelled not at all and was used as a spare room for visitors ,it still has (i was told) the original tyres and rego.no (L42850)?? as it was always ?? registered ,the stove appears to have been used probably to boil water for coffee and the refrigerator( gas..240v) seems as new and works on 240V Gas??? :... can some one tell me the age of the van,if it is aluminium framed.( i was told it is) and is it insulated Peter :D@ Robyn
G'day Peter and Robyn, and welcome to the forum! ;D
I see there's a couple of other people have posted questions above yours, so I hope they found out answers to their questions. Looks like I've been a bit "slack" in keeping up to date with this thread.
Your van is a 1971 model Regent. The chassis number works like this:
The first four numbers are the consecutive build of chassis numbers throughout the year. So you have the 4235th chassis built, which puts it around about the Sept-Oct period of 1971 (Franklin were building about 6000 units per year at that time)
The 1971 bit comes from the "-1" ending of the chassis number. We know Franklin used this numbering system from 1965 up until 1971 at least, but then I'm unsure of what happened in 1972 and 1973.
In 1974, a new system is evident, where the chassis number starts with a letter (V=1974, W=1975, etc), followed by numbers.
Your van qualifies as a "Classic Caravan" covering the period 1970 to 1979, so if you are interested in seeing other vans from the 1970s, we have a sister forum you can visit and join: Classic Caravans forum. I'm a Moderator on that forum, so you'd be more than welcome to come join us.
ps. Oops, I didn't answer your question about the frame. Yes, Franklin were well and truly into aluminium frames by 1971. The walls of your van were made as a bonded sandwich, where the aluminium cladding, the "Thermo-Kool" insulation, and the inner wall panelling were all glued together before fitting to the chassis. If you ever have to do any repairs (and it sounds like you won't, the way you describe the van's condition ;D ), then you would have some challenges to pull the wall apart.
Last Edit: Oct 31, 2010 11:18:31 GMT 10 by Franklin1
Just received an email from Whale pumps concerning the dating of the Tiptoe pump installed in our 195/6? Franklin "Wanda":
"My research has shown that the Tiptoe pump was a follow on product from the Brass Bilge pumps our company was commissioned to manufacture for the Royal Navy during the 2nd World War. The exact date for the start of manufacture of the Tiptoe pump is hard to find, but would have been in the late Fifties. If the original caravan had a Tiptoe pump installed, the Tiptoe pump that is installed in it at the moment must have been a replacement, as the Mk IV was a revamped version that was released in 1967. Hopefully this answers your query.
NB. This version of pump is still manufactured for various clients, and Service Kits are still available."
No closer to actual birth date of Wanda but an interesting response, and of course it could have been replaced at some time.
Below is a photo of a Franklin Penthouse posted on behalf of Jennison:
Jennison will tell you the sad, sad story of this van...
Franklin1: Is this a pre-1970 van? Looks more like a Classic era van to me, but if it's a pre-1970 van I can move this post and any following to the DHL Franklin thread.
Oooh, gees DonR, yer gettin' me all excited posting photos like that!
They're an amazing looking van, ay? But unfortunately we can't talk about 'em too much here. Seems they were made for a short period of time in 1971/72 and were based on the "Arrow" model (and they were marketed as the "Arrow Penthouse"). Jennison's photo is only the second one I've seen, so they are as rare as hens teeth.
I know Admin has got a soft spot for Franklins, so I don't think he'd mind us hearing the sad, sad story about this van on this forum. I'm certainly curious to hear it.
Thanks DonR First up I was pretty sure it's a 70s' van but it was so unusual I sent the pic to DonR to post out of interest. Thought it may have been of particular interest to Al. The sad story....... It was for sale at Mitchell caravans where fireball V8 works. Barnardos approached them to rent a van for a few weeks to accomodate a kid in a bit of trouble....trouble was he burnt it to the ground 70s' or not a sad end to what must have been a very rare old van jennison PS Must have felt like you were towing a parachute ;D PPS Looks surprisingly well balanced...Fireballs EH isn't sitting down that much at the rear there.
Last Edit: Jun 29, 2011 21:28:47 GMT 10 by Jennison
1953 14' Jennison Pathfinder, 1960 AP3 Chrysler Royal V8, 1964 EH Special, 1982 WB Statesman Caprice, 1984 WB V8 Ute
Post by Don Ricardo on Dec 17, 2011 20:56:09 GMT 10
1962 Franklin offered for sale on Ebay in December 2011 as a Coronet:
On 10 December 2011, Cruisindoug posted the following regarding the above van:
Listed on ebay, have contacted the seller and have permission to use the photos for DHL and to post up here, but to me this looks to be a Franklin (rebadged??); it even has the Franklin shelf. The chasis number has been obliterated but was a three digit number welded on - I have asked about if it had a letter as well awaiting a reply. The brand was given as Coronet based on previous owners advice and from an old rego label ...
What do you reckon, rebadged early 60's Franklin, or perhaps mis-identified as a Coronet? Either way looks good.
Cheers, Doug. And Franklin1 responded on the same day:
I think it's a case of "mistaken identity". Definitely a Franklin van, based on all the evidence. It would be good to get some genuine chassis numbers from this particular design. The seller said it's a 1962 build, and I've got some photos from another one of these vans where the seller had the paperwork to say it was bought in 1963, but he wouldn't give me the chassis number.
Hi all, The founder of Franklin caravans was Geoff "Robertson" not robinson. Geoff is alive and well and living in Ballarat having just turned 80 this year, he has 3 daughters. Geoff grew up in Sorento in Victoria with his parents Harold and Phyliss and sister Lesley. His parents operated a guest house that still exists (as a private house) on the boulevarde on the foreshore as you drive into Sorento and it was called........."Franklin"... da dah.... hence the name for the caravans. Most of the early caravan brochures used familly members as the models not hired ones. At the time when Geoff owned Franklin, he lived a few mile up the road on a farm called "Arrandale" on the old midland highway. The original farmhouse and The "new" farmhouse he built there, still exist side by side and is itself, a design icons of the era.
I Have met up with Mal Coulter a former Franklin employee. Mal started working for Franklin at age 15 in 1960 as a body builder. His employee number at Franklin was 24. Mal is now the manager of the Avoca Caravan Park in Victoria. He spent 13 years building caravans in Ballarat. It was very interesting talking to Mal about his working experience at Franklin Geoff Robinson the owner of Franklin Caravans started building vans at the rear of his father's Town Hall Hotel Armstrong St Ballarat. The Town Hall Hotel is no longer there, having being pulled down some time ago and the Myers Store is there now. Geoff built 3 caravans at the back of the Town Hall Hotel possibly sold under the name of Robinson ( Al Franklin 1 has told me geoffs father told him to get the vans out of the hotel yard as there is no future in caravans )
Geoff Robinson then moved his business to 7-9 Dawson St Sth Ballarat and this is where Mal started working for Franklin. As the business grew, it outgrew Dawson St and moved to the outskirts of Ballarat. The new address Corner Learmonth Rd & (Sunraysia Highway) & Caravan Street Ballarat Once again as the business grew at this address the workers at the factory welders, carpenters etc. would work back at night and weekends to put another extension on the factory. ;D
When Mal started at Franklin, the welder had a full time job at another factory and would come to Franklin after he finished work there at night he also worked at Franklins at the weekends. As more extensions were added to the factory the production line would weave its way through the factory. The production line was not like a car assembly production line. The vans would be pushed along to different sections to be assembled by chassis, roadwheels and jockey wheel. Mal remembers the bondwood sides being primed in redlead before they were stood up on the chassis. Another of Mal,s stories was that as a 15 year old aprentice he would ride his bike around the corner to another factory, pick up 6 table legs and ride back with them across the handlebars of his bike. As you walk into the vans, on your left the cupboards up at roof level were round, these were made in about 6ft lenghts and sliced off at the depth of cupboard that was required. The corner was round so that you didn't hit your head on a square corner. All upholstery was made on site. The body builders job was also making and fitting aluminium windows etc. One interesting story from Mal, the aluminium skin, insulation and inside ply was all molded together before being fitted to the vans. Some time in the 70's Franklin started to cast the word Franklin into couplings and the stainless steel sinks. In its hey day Franklin was the largest company in Ballarat employing approx 300 people
The owner of Franklin Caravans Geoff Robinson in the end, sold the business to a consortium some years later the consortium closed Franklin Caravans up and the factory was sold and is now divided up into a lot of small factoryettes Geoff Robinson went on to become a developer in the Ballarat area. If any of you franklin fans are passing through Avoco drop in and have a yarn with Mel maybe stop a day or 2 as it is a very nice c/park photos of the factory as it is today to follow ;D Cheers Geoff ;D ;D ;D ;D
1960s Franklin Panorama van posted on ebay Sept 2008:
Edited Description: Franklin 14ft long. Roof is made of aluminium, and the sides plywood. The model name on the front is "PANORAMA". The van is in outstanding original condition and has been kept under cover for most of its life and has had very little use. There are two single beds down the back. There is a two-burner stove with grill. Original varnished wood on the cupboards and drawers. The caravan doesn't have brakes. There is also an annexe that goes with the van that looks like it might be the original, but it is in good condition. The van has 13 inch Holden wheels.
[comment from Franklin1: this van looks very similar in outside body shape to other early Franklins we've seen. However, I'm not aware of any connection between Franklin and the Panorama nameplate as is shown on this van. Maybe Franklin supplied vans that were then branded by others as Panorama, or maybe Franklin made a budget model van and named it Panorama. We don't have enough information on the early Franklins yet to say what the real truth is. Update: I contacted the ebay seller and asked what information they had to connect this van with the name "Franklin"? His response was: "Good question. The only reason I assumed it was a Franklin is that it says Franklin on the rego papers, but it is true that the information on rego papers is not always infallible, and also I don't think the word Franklin is found anywhere on the van itself. Perhaps someone can throw some light on the matter."]
Looks like I can shed some light on this one. Panorama vans were build by Graham Hayden of Huntsman Caravans in Dana Street, Ballarat. The van pictured is certainly not a Franklin but a Panorama badged Huntsman.
G'day 56items, and huntsman, and welcome to the forum! ;D
Firstly to 56items, it sounds like you have a fairly close connection to the Robertson family based on the details you've given. I heard in a roundabout way a few years back that Geoff was supposedly rather ill, so I'm surprised and delighted to hear he is fit and well and celebrating his 80th birthday. I spent a few days in the Ballarat Library back in 2010, researching the local Courier newspaper for the history of Franklin Caravans. Got a lot of good info, but still had plenty of gaps from the first ten years. I would have loved to have been able to track him down and try and talk first-hand with him, but I didn't know where to start. Oddly enough, my search of the White Pages on the internet back then gave no results for Geoff Robertson in Ballarat.
I don't suppose you are in a position to see if Geoff Robinson Robertson would donate any old pictures/brochures/info about the Franklin history?? I personally think it would be fantastic if the complete story of the Franklin empire was gleaned from the horse's mouth, so to speak.
Now to huntsman... It's interesting to hear of the existence of the Huntsman brand, and particularly interesting to hear they operated in Ballarat. I guess it explains why there is a certain similarity between the early Franklin, Coronet, and Huntsman vans.
Your information helps to sort out something that was puzzling me about some of the early vans I thought were Franklins. After studying a number of Franklin photos, I became aware of the shelf above the sink as being a common feature, and more particularly that the shelf had a single triangular support bracket.
Then along came the photos of the Panorama van as shown above, and the shelf has two support brackets, not one. That threw me for a loop, because it was an oddity. Now you're saying that that particular van was made by Huntsman.
Just to show you how confusing it can be sometimes, here is a van that I'm saying is a Franklin, and which has the single support shelf that is typical of early Franklins...
...And here is a van that is very similar to that Franklin (and the Panorama above), but has a shelf with two support brackets (same as the Panorama)...
It's usually after trying to make sense of these sorts of photos that my eyes start to cross, and my head starts to hurt.
Last Edit: Feb 2, 2012 20:31:56 GMT 10 by Franklin1
Post by Don Ricardo on Feb 2, 2012 20:15:39 GMT 10
G'day 56items and Huntsman,
I would like to echo Franklin1's welcome to the forum. As a person with a particular interest in caravan history, the day people with your knowledge and background come along is a particularly splendid day from my perspective!
Already you've been able to solve a couple of identity problems for us, as well as tell us quite a bit more about the Ballarat caravan industry. I wonder what it was that caused all that activity in Ballarat? Any ideas?
Anyway, we look forward to hearing more about the different Ballarat manufacturers as you both have the time and inclination.
I don't suppose you are in a position to see if Geoff Robinson would donate any old pictures/brochures/info about the Franklin history??
I am sure that Franklin1 meant to say Geoff Robertson, didn't you F1? Yes, I know, of course you did. (Having some Robertson forebears and relatives I know how important it is to get that middle syllable right!)
Hi all, Yes my dad had a dealership (well I dont think they had any formal agreement, dont know that anybody actually did) and I am related to geoff. Geoff is not known for his sentimentality and so, has literally nothing in the way of pictures etc but obviously all the knowledge. Next time I see him I will show him this and see if we can stir him into a nostalgic state. I note there was a thread about freighter.... Geoff was a director of Freighter as well and of course there was freighter factory was next door to Franklin factory. My brother has a lot on photo slides and so I have got him to start copying some to send to you. cheers
Post by Don Ricardo on Feb 4, 2012 22:48:41 GMT 10
Interesting to hear a bit more about your family's links to Franklin. We look forward to hearing more, particularly if you are able to relate some of Geoff Robertson's memories of his involvement in the caravan industry.
Hi, Today we brought our ‘baby’ home! We’d appreciate help in identifying her. We are ex-dairy farmers, very new to caravanning, new to the forum and not sure yet whether we belong here or on the Classic forum (explanation follows). A week ago we ran into a long-time friend and happened to mention that we were on the lookout for an old, small caravan – he immediately said he had just the one. Said it was a 1977 Franklin and took us to his storage shed to check it out. I would have preferred maybe an older one, but hey, this one was old and small and would look quite novel being towed behind our 1976 Datsun 260Z (modified). Electrical and gas and registration all recently renewed, asking price reasonable, so we sealed the deal. Since bringing her home I’ve been trying to find out more about her. Hence, have been learning a lot from vintagecaravans.com I couldn’t seem to find any info or photos similar to ours from around 1977, but then narrowing the search to “Safari” came upon ‘Stuart Little’. Our little one looks just like Stuart except for a few things – we don’t have a window above the cooker! Ours is about 11’6” (where exactly do you measure from?) Could it possibly be that ours is in fact a 1968 Franklin or around then? Searched for identifying numbers and finally found those numbers on the tow-bar… 566-8. Does that mean it was the 566th van to be built in 1968? Hopefully some one can verify this. The forum looks great with lots of information and advice which we can hopefully use to bring our baby back to her former glory…. when we find out her age!
Our van has two different logos just to complicate things – this one above the windows at the front and the older style one at the back.
hope the photos are ok – first time posting photos.
Looks to me like my wish may have been granted and we have an older Franklin than we thought.
We’re finally getting stuck into sprucing Frankie up! She now has brakes, a lock on the door, new fridge and replacement back window (full width, so replaced it with Perspex so it doesn’t break again in a hurry), had the wiring etc checked by the professionals. Thank you Dario! I’ve ordered some new curtain material and am now working on a bit of a more comfortable bed. Will be wanting to replace the laminate on the tabletop and recover the vinyl upholstery in something appropriate to the 60’s era. Suppliers in South Aus?? She’ll get an exterior paint job at some stage, but for the moment am concentrating on the inside. Am a real novice, but am looking forward to the challenge. Would love to jump straight to the fun stuff – all that retro kitchenware and bits and pieces, however better do the important stuff first! There’s a bit of water damage around the windows but nothing too drastic. Will probably need to replace the window rubbers at some stage. Window latches are all rusty – WD40 has helped to free them up, but any ideas for cleaning them up? Will I have to remove them all? Some are screwed, others are pop-riveted. I noticed there’s no 1968 Franklin in the Chassis Register – Would our Frankie be a suitable candidate? Chassis No. 566-8 Am looking forward to the Grand Parade of Vintage Caravans at the Adelaide Showgrounds in February. Frankie might not be finished by then, but should be good to get some ideas and meet a few like-minded people. Can’t seem to remember how to use photobucket, so haven’t posted a photo for the Chassis Register. Could just try and copy & paste to this in word?? I posted photos in my first (and only other) post, but you probably don’t want the Hilux ute attached!!
Post by Don Ricardo on Apr 27, 2013 23:48:19 GMT 10
Last weekend Doña Ricardo and I visited some friends who had been given a caravan. I heard about it at the time but was told when I enquired that it definitely wasn't vintage...
However, turns out it is, vintage that is - a Franklin Premier with Doug Thorley "Executive Styleline Deluxe" stickers on it:
It seems to be identical in shape to the 1966 Franklin shown in Reply #39 (reproduced below), but the shape of the end of the flashes are different - sharp angle at the end of the flashes on our friends and rounded on the flashes on the vans below:
Maybe Franklin1 can tell us whether there is any significance in the shape of the flashes in terms of build dates?
And before you ask Fanklin1 - no there is no serial number to be seen. The original draw bar and coupling has been cut off and a new A-frame grafted on.
Although our friends were chuffed to be told that their van is vintage, I don't think it is likely to be restored any time soon. The van has been totally stripped inside - down to the external cladding - and our friends are still in the process of getting their lives together after losing everything in the 2009 fires, as sadly many still are. More likely that the van will be used for storage than for holidaying.
Post by aussiegryph on Dec 9, 2013 13:55:43 GMT 10
Hi folks. (first post) I was searching for images, trying to identify an old pop top van my friend had bought (turns out it was an '86 Windsor Sunwagon), and found this image. The blog is no longer, but the photo and blog was mine :). Ah memories. We upgraded after this van and were living in 7 Pines caravan park at Sunnybank in Brisbane, in a 25 footer in the late '60s & early '70s. Some of my earliest memories were in that old Franklin. My mother banned me from the drill truck when dad was in camp, because, as a 4 year old, I would find the greasiest cr*p I could get my hands on and make sure I was covered, just to show how hard I had been working. Of course, the half 44 bath would be a mess by the time she had got me clean again. I have another image of the van in the background somewhere. I'll hunt it up. Cheers
Back in the Old Days Posted at 10:52, Wed 9 August 2006 in The Old Slide Show
The owner of the photograph wrote: "Taken sometime in 1967 somewhere in South Australia. This was our home. Dad would drive the drill rig and Mum would follow him in the FJ (rego NCC-600), towing the 18 foot Franklin caravan. Dad's main job was water bores. My sister and I would have been 6/7 and 3/4 yrs old respectively. Most of the time we were out in the scrub, so school was Correspondence lessons given to us by Mum. We had a pet Magpie chick at one camp. That is until Roz and I killed it accidentally by throwing wet paper on it. We bathed in a half 44-gallon drum that was filled with water, and heated by a fire before we jumped in. Just like kidlet soup! I remember once a bloke that was friend of Dad's. I would have still been three at the time, barely close to four. This man had no legs and got around everywhere by walking on his hands. I have vague memories of having a race with him up a dirt track somewhere in the middle of nowhere..."
Post by Don Ricardo on Dec 9, 2013 21:45:19 GMT 10
Glad that you found your photo on the forum and made contact with us. It's great to hear about your 'life on the road' with your parents. A lot of good memories there. And of course we'd love to see some more photos if you have them.
There was a bit of discussion when Franklin1 first posted your photo about towing the Franklin with the FJ. We were wondering how it coped? Those on the forum with FJ's these days tend to stick to smaller vans. Perhaps they're just soft or less adventurous? ;D ;D ;D
Hi All, I recently brought a 1967 Franklin Safari 15ft 6in caravan. It only had one owner and is in original condition. I am in too minds whether to do it up ( paint, change cupboard and lamanex colours, Re upholster the seats) or leave it original. Its a 5 berth with a double and single bunk at the back and a double bed with the table lowered.
Also its it worth more in original condition or done up. Actually what is it worth?