Post by Don Ricardo on Jul 27, 2014 19:49:39 GMT 10
Here are the pics of Ladyevelyn's caravan posted on her behalf, beginning with an old original photo of the van in its heyday...
...and continuing with the van as she is now:
Double bed and bunk above:
Shower door and shower/bathroom:
Stove recess and sink:
Sink and ice chest:
Note the radio on the shelf behind the table:
Dressing table - looks like there's some slide out tops, etc, built in:
This is a unique van with some very unusual fittings. Hopefully somebody will buy it and do it proud.
A few of us met Ladyevelyn at the Melbourne caravan show earlier this year, when she told us a bit about the van and the story behind it. Maybe she would like to tell us a bit about how she came by it on this thread?
Post by ladyevelyn on Jul 28, 2014 10:43:50 GMT 10
Hi Everyone, We bought 'Lady Evelyn' two years ago as friends of ours knew an elderly lady who was selling items that had been stored in her shed for years. Not only was there this caravan but old boats etc. Our friends had no where to store a caravan so told us about her and asked if we were interested in buying her. We had the room so purchased her and towed her (nail biting apparently!) to our house. We started buying vintage caravan magazines and going online for ideas on how to start the restoring process. We realise now that it is too big a job for us and she really needs to go back into a shed. We have tarps on her, but if we don't sell her we will buy a proper caravan cover to protect her. Our friends who are in touch with the original owner have given us more old photos and the original plans of the building of her. Thanks for all the lovely emails on your thoughts of 'Lady Evelyn'.
Post by Don Ricardo on Jul 28, 2014 15:04:55 GMT 10
Lady Evelyn's owners, Kathy and John, have sent me some more wonderful photos of their caravan to post, again beginning with some photos of her in her heyday:
It appears that the van was developed and modified over time. Note that in the two photos above there is no front window at this stage, nor the louvred window for the bathroom that is visible in the first group of photos posted.
The above two photos are interesting for several reasons:
Both the door and the spats have been modified in between the two photos being taken. I think I have the order of the photos right, because the door in the second photo matches the door on the van as it is now.
The van has two roof hatches, each incorporating glass or perspex, which is a nice touch.
The curved rear windows have been made using three flat pieces of glass placed horizontally, one above the other.
Some photos of the caravan when it was camped at Walhalla (Gippsland, Victoria) - Lady Evelyn on the right in the first photo:
The photos of the camp at Walhalla must have been taken sometime after November 1948, because a Holden 48-215 is visible peeking out from behind some shrubbery in the second photo above.
And now some more detailed contemporary photos...
One of the spats:
The inside of the ice box:
The pullout bench from what I've called the 'dressing table' - by its shape I'm thinking the bench is probably an ironing board?
In the above photo I can also see what appears to be a bench extension or similar sitting on top of the dressing table. Perhaps Kathy can tell us what it is and how it works?
The cupboards and left hand wardrobe:
The right hand wardrobe with power board:
The more I see of this van, the more I realise how remarkable it is, with some truly unique features. The photos of the van as it was developed and modified, together with access to the plans, provides the provenance for the van that most of us only dream of. It's size and shape are reminiscent of some of the American caravans of the 40's. I really do hope that someone from the forum buys it and restores it! (Or maybe that Kathy and John decide to keep it and restore it! There's plenty of people here to advise you if you decide to do that, guys! )
NOTE TO THE FORUM ADMINISTRATOR: This van is so unique and unusual, that once it has been sold - and with Kathy and John's permission - I think this thread should be moved to the "Members' Photo Album" section of the forum, and not just deleted. It truly deserves to be preserved as a part of Australia's touring heritage!! NOW DONE
In answer to the questions above, the desk can extend out. No idea how much it weighs though. There is no hot water. Glad everyone has enjoyed the photos!
I would think it would have had hot water going by the dual hot/cold pipes leading to the shower/sink.Perhaps there was a heat transfer system (burner)used? The shower pipes lead into the ceiling - does that mean there is a cavity water tank hidden above so the water would be gravity fed but what is the cylinder on the shower floor? Could it be a "mains" pressure tank? Wish this `van was closer.One could spend a day or more marveling over its fitments & more.
Queenstown Tasmania. 1948/52 Mercury Teardrop. 1959 Phase III Vanguard Vignale.
I had a look at the van today as we were in Melbourne. We took the opportunity after a great weekend in Winton. The following is only my opinion. The van will need a full restoration. Most of the external sheets on the sides and roof will need to be replaced as will a number of inner linings. The 4 corners have extendive rot and will need to be replaced. The A-frame has been extended but I doubt that it would pass any state's registration guidelines. The interior is complete but a lot of work will need to be done. The running gear will need to be upgraded. This will be a great van when complete but any one considering this should consider their finances and capabilities. This is a ground up restoration and if they cannot do the work themselves will probably need a good bank balance. This is only my opinion and anybody considering this van should go and see it them selves before committing to a purchase.
Post by shesgotthelook on May 21, 2019 15:03:50 GMT 10
I received a similar report from Dale in 2014. I really think this magnificent & unique van would be best set up undercover as an Air BnB or in a museum. Of course it would be amazing if someone had the skills & dollars to do the full restoration, there is not another like it that I know of.
Lady Evelyn lives. After 6 months of work Lady Evelyn lives again.
The story continues on from above. After a month or two of discussions with the previous owner I was able to purchase the Lady Evelyn and Anne and I decided to bring the van back to Canberra ourselves rather than paying a courier to transport it for us. My worry was that at highway speeds all I would get delivered would be a chassis with the balance of the van spread between Melbourne and Canberra.
It took us two and a half days to get it roadworthy. I replaced all the running gear with modern electric brakes, light truck tyres etc. I rewired the lights so they would work and Anne and I screwed several sheets of ply onto the front and back of the van to hold it together. We left Melbourne mid-morning to avoid the rush and made it home the following day without incident.
I will put the entire restoration process down in a document later but at this stage this is just a summary.
This restoration was (almost) a pull it all apart and build it from scratch job but luckily enough the internal cabinetry, part of the frame and the chassis was in good condition. All the rest was destined for the tip.
The A – frame/tow bar was replaced with modern steel, the single axle was replaced with a dual axle setup with modern hubs, tyres and electric brakes and a 3 inch dropped axles. To meet registration guidelines a breakaway switch was also added.
All external ply had to be replaced as was the front and rear ribs.
These were constructed by laminating 3mm ply round a curve and gluing them together.
The Floor had to be replaced because it had borers but luckily they ignored the hardwood frame. The entire van was insulated during the build.
By removing all the external ply we were also able to redo the entire wiring for the van, 12v and 240.
It also allowed us to restructure some of the plumbing and add in a 240v/gas hot water system and pump for the new water tank.
I also discovered that you could buy 12v fridge components from a ship chandlers and have transformed the original icebox into a working fridge by changing only the internals.
We also made one other major change. In the original van to open the door you had to move the bed back into the seat as it took up half the doorway space when extended. The other thing is “Why would you invite guests into your van when you entered through the bedroom, walked past the toilet/ensuite through the kitchen and then into the dining /seating area"?
We made the decision to move the door to the back of the van and it now is a much more workable setup.
It seemed to take ages to get the outside done, as well as getting the electrical and flooring completed, but by October we were able to paint the outside and put calico on the roof.
The van was registered on October 30, 2019
Now the fun bit started, the internal painting, connecting up the plumbing and installing the shower base and toilet. Spending days chasing shower leaks and trying to connect modern plumbing to 1940’s plumbing was also a challenge. The security system was added, external TV aerial and diesel heater installed. This seemingly took months but with Christmas in-between and several trips away in the caravan but we now have it finished.
We were luck to pick up a 1940's kerosene pressure stove/oven from Colin and Sue that, after a bit of clean and replacing the insulation, it now works a treat. I have not cooked scones in it yet.
We have tried to keep the van true to the builder’s intent, but have also made it a bit more liveable by incorporating a bit of modern functionality. All of which is hidden.
We have added a 240/gas hot water system. We can now plug into town water, or use the water in the tank. We have a 12v pump to deliver the hot and cold water to the sink, or shower, or bathroom basin. The Solar panels charge the deep-cycle battery so that we can go off grid, and the TV is 12 volt. We have added a radio. All lights are LED behind the original fittings.
The van is fully self-contained as the fridge also runs of 12v.
In summary it took six months work working 6 days a week (Golf on Tuesdays) . If I was not retired then I would not have undertaken the challenge. I was lucky that I was capable of doing all the work myself (except the welding). Bunnings supplied most of the components - Timber , screws , insulation and paint. Supercheap and Jaycar provided the electrical and Caravans Plus provided some of the bigger components - Hot water system, toilet, TV aerial. The internet provided the rest - Love EBay - and speciality stores the other - Coast to Coast for the Fridge and IKEA the bed.
I must thank my wonderful wife for putting up with me during this restoration and supporting me in this endeavour. While she could not provide much assistance in the carpentry work she excelled in painting and upholstery.
So where to now. As this is our only van we still intend to go to as many Vintage Caravan events as possible, as we have been in the past. We also plan to travel much more as we have a van that is almost as good as a modern van as it has similar mod cons, and tows well.
All in all a most challenging task that challenged my physical and mental capabilities. Building things was OK, but working out how to solve some of the problems was also a challenge.
Last Edit: Jan 26, 2020 20:57:46 GMT 10 by tooleyau
Tooleyau, Saved is saved. best thing is always a rescue and or hearing of one. Really love the Updated radio and fixtures, really looks the part. Clever this fitting of fridge bits to an icebox. beaut!
WOW!!!!! you really kept that restoration under wraps. Michael to have done an absolutely fabulous job of blending the new and safer, whilst still being true to the essence of the caravan. I'm sure the original builder would be proud of what you've been able to do. I hope you have many happy and healthy years of vanning in it. Congratulations!! Ray