I am new to this forum and to the world of caravan restoration. Look forward to getting to know you all and looking forward to the steep learning curve I've opened myself up for!
I have an old (early-mid 60's?) aluminium caravan, which came with our house. It needs lots of TLC, and I don't even know where to start. The trailer is a Dymwood, but the make of the caravan remains unknown.
Tried to use the photobucket practice page so I can add some photos, but it's asking me for a password . Please help so I can get started!
1. Hover over the right hand top cnr of your pic & a tool (sprocket/cog) image will appear 2. Let click 'Get Media Links' 3.Left click 'Image Code' (not the URL but the actual word Image Code) & it will say copied. 4. Right click on here & paste.
Thanks so much for the step-by-step I think it's gelled now!
Okay, here goes. This is our old aluminium van, 13 feet and four inches long. I really any appreciate any light you can shed on her identity As far as I can tell, she's been sitting in this position for 20+ years. The previous owners of this property are no longer around to ask.
The chain anchored to grounded metal poles is to stop her from blowing away in a cyclone.
Here is the left-hand side, you can see the door's hinge is on the left, rather than the right. There is a small access panel down in the corner, but I haven't been able to open it to see what's in there yet. (lots of redbacks, I imagine ) It has lovely art-deco type hinges.
The right hand side, two windows, a port hole, power and water access points. The port hole is hinged at the top.
I haven't taken any photos of the interior, but I can tell you it's a total shemozzle. Most of the original features are gone. There's no sink/table/ice box/lights, etc. I can't tell how many berths were intended as most of it has been stripped back to framework. The interior front wall has been covered in shelving which can't have been original, as it obscures the windows. There is some water damage towards the back, and some soft spots in the floor, but otherwise it seems ok - dusty, but sturdy.
The only remaining feature on the inside is a small wardrobe (without doors )on the right as you walk in. It has two little drawers and cupboards underneath. I checked them for hand-written clues, but no such luck.
So what do you think? Can she be saved? I know that everything from the wiring to the window panes will need replacing... Apart from thoroughly cleaning out the insides, where should I start? I live in a remote area, so selling her on to somebody more experienced at caravan restoration isn't really feasible, but I am prepared to put in lots of time, TLC, and elbow grease .
Its sad when they get to that state, but time & weather wear most things down.
My personal thoughts, based on a lifetime of rebuilding cars/hot rods/ & the last 10 years or so vintage caravans.
I couldnt see anything in the van as you presented the pictures that was woth saving, let alone spending several years & $10,000 plus rebuilding.
Its not a unique desirable brand, like some of the older ones.
Dymwood is a brand used on a lot of caravan parts in the old days, but not likely to b the brand of the van. A lot of vans used Dymwood couplings & other components
Personally I think you would be better buying a reasonable complete & useable van. Fix it into your desired style while you use it.
One of the most frustrating parts of rebuilding a (for the lack of a better word) wreck, is that at times you feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel, & you wonder why you started. Add to that the fact that almost everyone you talk to will tell you that you are a crazy idiot to have taken the project on in the first place.
Having said that, a lot of us have rebuilt vans that would at first glance appear to be junk.
I have found after rebuilding 5 vans, & in the process of rebuilding another, that it gets easier as you go on.
But thats only my thoughts. The other thing that comes into the equation is where you live, & whether you can find parts to rebuild nearby, & tradesmen if you need them.
Sometimes you have to overide your heart with a commercial decision based on cost.
Welcome to the forum, and thankyou for sharing the photos of your van.
I would have to agree with jbj, at first glance, in so much as I would be inclined to walk away from this project(just looking at the outside). The costs involved, even working as cheaply as possible, add up very quickly. We try and use recycled materials where we can, and provide almost all of the labour by doing everything we can ourselves, but it still rolls into thousands when all's included.
Having said that, I'm sitting comfortably with oodles of vintage vans of my own to go and play with.
If I were sitting in the pilbera, with no other vintage vans for a thousand kms it may make it look a whole lot better, and get the creative juices flowing and the excitement of what could be buzzing round in my head. Bit like being high on vintage vans ;D. I know that feeling only too well
If I may suggest, it's worth putting a wanted add up if you have a local store or supermarket notice board expressing an interest in aquiring a pre 1970's van. One of our vans came home that way, someone answered the add, locally, and the rest is history. Our vans came to us as cheaply as a give away at one end of the scale to many thousands, and still requiring work at the other end.
Altrenatively with so many members on this forum if you advertised for a van wanted you never know what may turn up.
Having said all that, and if you still are keen to go ahead and restore your own little piece of vintage van history we wish you all the best of luck with it.
I hope that you are not too disheartened with the comments and that if you decide not to do up the one you have, that you find another to love and be enthused about.
Either way, I'm sure you will find alot to help you on this forum.
Thanks very much for the words of wisdom. Having considered your comments for a few days, I know now that I can't walk away Even though you are probably right and you may well see me back on the forum, having a big moan about taking on this task in future
I can't help it, I would rather do what I can to save this little van than see it sent to the scrap yard. I accept that the trailer itself is toast, but the van, I think, looks worse in photos than it actually is... Maybe it will prove that my ignorance really is bliss?
The fact that I have so far been unable to identify it only makes me more determined, as it IS, as far as I can tell, unique. Perhaps I will not be able to source original components, but I'm okay with that. Hubby and I are both creative and practical, and he is qualified to do the electrical, so I am actually excited rather than daunted... At this stage
Perhaps I will not ever get her to the stage of being a roadworthy van... but rather, I will be able to make her a lovely little place for guests to stay when they trek up here I don't mean to offend the sensibilities of any purists, I just think it's better to preserve a van in some form than destroy it altogether, if you see what I mean.
Thanks again for the comments and advice, I really do appreciate all input on offer
Just wondering, does anybody know if Modern ever produced vans with the 'bulkhead' shape at the front? Like the shape that the Viscount Valiants have. Sorry if I'm calling it the wrong thing, fairly new at this
My caravan has several identical features to the 1959 Modern featured on this page, but the shape is quite different. I am not having a lot of luck googling "Vintage Modern Caravans"... can't imagine why...
Post by Don Ricardo on Dec 17, 2012 22:07:41 GMT 10
I see that you've asked a few questions about the van you've got your eye on which haven't really been answered, and I thought I might try and respond to at least some of them. To that end I've transferred your query about Modern caravans earlier today (and Roehm's reply) to this thread, just to keep the discussion all on one thread. It gets confusing if different posts about the same van are spread over several threads, so I hope that's OK.
Now to some of your questions:
The access panel to the left of the door is most likely a little locker for longer items such as tent poles, etc (not to mention redbacks! ).
Yes, the aluminium panel at the front covers what would have been a window. Hopefully the window frame is still there behind it?
What you have called the "trailer" is the A-frame (you can see why by its shape) which is attached to the chassis of the caravan. 'Dymwood' appears to be stamped on the clamp which is used to attach a jockey wheel to the A-frame when the van is detached from a tow vehicle. In the 30's, 40's and 50's van manufacturers tended to use components produced in the state where the manufacturers were located. By the 60's - when your van was most likely produced - some of the state barriers had broken down and component producers used to deliver their items further afield. Given that your van is in WA (and towards the northern end to boot) and it has a Roebourne number plate, I would put my money on it being a WA built van which happens to have a Victorian produced jockey wheel clamp, rather than it being a Victorian van which has been taken to WA. Vans in the 60's did travel far on occasions, but our experience on the forum has been that most vintage vans have been built in the state in which they are discovered.
Interesting that the van has a Trailezy coupling. I think they were produced 'over east' as well, but that still doesn't change my hunch about the van being a WA built van.
Re the "bulkhead" - I don't know if that's the official name, but it's the word I use, so we must be right, eh? At this point we haven't seen any other Modern caravans that have a bulkhead, but that doesn't mean anything, because we don't know a whole lot about Modern vans, full stop. The shape of your van is typical of the early 60's. At this stage we have only seen Moderns from the mid to late 50's and then one from the mid to late 60's. They must have been producing something in the intervening period, and it stands to reason that they would have followed the styling cues which were popular in the early 60's, including bulkheads over the front windows. So maybe your van is a Modern, but we will just have to looking at the clues and compare with other vans from the period to try and work it out.
Hope some of that helps you in your search. Keep feeding us clues and we'll try and help you work out the vans identity. That little circular window on the near side (over the sink) is pretty distinctive, and the way the coloured panel on the side is edged is also pretty distinctive. Those points may help us work out what the van is.
Thank you so much Ray, and Don Ricardo for your detailed response Very clever work with the posts, too
I think you're right about the age, of course I hoped it was a little older for some added street cred but if it really IS a Modern, then it must be from some time in the early 60's.
The whole Victorian trailer A frame thing had me stumped, as my van doesn't really match any that I've read about from Victorian/East Coast manufacturers. So what you say about the Dymwood & Trailezy components maybe coming from interstate and then being attached to a WA-built caravan makes the Modern theory so much more plausible.
There is also the very faint outline of a rectangular badge on the "bulkhead" ( ;D let's always call it that) which would match those of the Modern vans. It isn't visible in the photos. I've no idea when the badges were removed, or why anybody would do such an unnecessary thing Probably done by the same culprit who muddled the interior so badly
I like that idea about long storage behind the little hatch door hadn't thought of that! I live in hope that when I get it opened I will find finally some concrete identifiers... Well... we'll see.
Anyway, it's now cyclone season and because she's out in the open, I am really limited to non-structural work for practical and safety reasons. But I can keep cleaning out the interior (did I mention the several decades worth of junk inside? ) test some aluminium-cleaning methods, and, most importantly, keep on researching, I know I have SO MUCH to learn. Luckily I LOVE that aspect
Thank goodness for the internet, especially you helpful folks with your collective wisdom. It is also so inspiring to see what others have achieved with their own rescues - especially the now-lovely vans which were in worse shape than mine! I will be sure to keep checking in regularly.
The lower front areas on each side bounded by the trim with the radiused corner and the round marker lights located at that trim's juncture with each sidewall sure seem like distinctive enough features to me, and both your van and the one in the pic you found share them.
Good luck as you start your new quest. A lot of work can get done doing it a little at a time, just be persistant.