Hi people, I live in Maryborough QLD and will be picking up a aluminium Drifta van about 16 foot by weeks end. There's a fair bit of work involved in getting it up to scratch but im hoping I can get info and tips of this site and share some as well. Editorial note: This post and those which follow up until 8 August 2014, were originally posted on the DHL Drifta thread, because Leeroy76's initial understanding was that his caravan was a Drifta van built by Jack Wedlock in Maryborough, Queensland. However, in fact Leeroy76's van was branded 'Drifter' (as opposed to 'Drifta'), and, as indicated in the posts below, Leeroy76 subsequently discovered that his Drifter caravan was indeed built in Maryborough, but by Ron Vickers. Don Ricardo
Last Edit: Sept 24, 2014 17:44:40 GMT 10 by Don Ricardo
Post by Don Ricardo on Jul 29, 2014 18:48:53 GMT 10
Welcome to the forum. Great to hear about your purchase of a Drifta caravan. As you will have seen from this thread, we don't know a whole lot about Driftas, so are keen to hear about yours and see some photos.
Living in Maryborough, maybe you know a bit about Drifta and Jack Wedlock who built them, and can tell us a bit about them? If not, at least you're in the right spot to do a bit of research.
When you have picked up the van, if you want to, you can post some photos here on the forum by using an online photo storage website such as Photobucket or the attachment button. (There are instructions on posting photos using Photobucket and other similar websites in the 'Forum Guidelines & Helpful Hints' section of the forum.)
Good luck with the pick up - hope it goes well. I am sure plenty of people will be happy to provide advice, ideas and encouragement when you start the restoration.
Hi all, got my drifta home this arvo on the tilt tray, very cool and exciting. Found out a little bit of info, Jack started making caravans in the late 50's and didn't make his last one till about ten years ago at the age of 79. He still lives in Maryborough. Will post up some photos tomorrow.
Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 2, 2014 19:37:52 GMT 10
Hmmm...you're right, the attachment facility has reached its limit for this month. The attachment facility on the forum is an 'added extra' that has to be paid for, and currently is provided through the personal generosity of the forum founder and sponsor, Mark T (otherwise known as the Administrator). The facility works on the basis that people on the forum can upload attachments up to a certain total megabyte limit for the forum for a certain dollar amount. You probably didn't ask for all that info, but there you are.
I'm not sure what the limit is for the forum at the moment or when the month begins and ends, but once the limit is reached you get an error message.
You can still post photos using Photobucket or one of the other online photo storage websites. There are instructions on how to do that in the 'Forum Guidelines & Helpful Hints' section of the forum. If you can't figure it out, give a yell and I or one of the other forum members can probably help.
Alternatively, if you don't want to go down the Photobucket route you can email the photos to me and I'll post them for you. If you click on my forum name in blue in the left hand panel of this post, a new window will pop up which will show you my email address.
We're all keen to see the photos of your Drifta, so don't give up...
Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 2, 2014 22:23:15 GMT 10
Thanks for sending me the photos of your Drifter caravan. I am delighted to be able to post them for you (and am always happy to do so):
What a surprise to see that this Drifter is a toaster style van. Another interesting piece of Australian caravanning history revealed! Intriguing also to see that the spelling of the name on this van is 'Drifter' as opposed tot the earlier 'Drifta'.
Was Jack Wedlock able to give you any idea of when this van was built?
I only spoke with jack for a few minutes on the phone and was told he made them plain alloy as well as with the blue stripe. The original blue aqua is under the colour you can see so not sure if the logo was changed or maybe a different van, but the lady we got it off said it was built here in Maryborough. The Electrolux fridge you can see in the background is out of the van as well and had to be removed through the back floor. We are planning on a refurb, as I am a sheetmetal worker it could help a bit.
Last Edit: Aug 2, 2014 23:06:46 GMT 10 by leeroy76
Just had my wifes parents over, the father in law is also a cabinetmaker and knew jack back when he was a cabinetmaker and said he doubts very much it was one of jacks vans. We where thinking the same thing because the overall finish inside and out is a more home handyman. Looks like we got an imposter,not that we knew anything about it beforehand. Never mind either way it will be a bit of fun none the less.
Although it does have the same square windows as the one at the top of this thread, anybody else have any ideas on this ? Maybe the different spelling was for a different model ?
Last Edit: Aug 3, 2014 17:54:40 GMT 10 by leeroy76
Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 6, 2014 14:38:55 GMT 10
I noted the curved roofline on your van as well. It is quite distinctive - I can't think of any other toaster-style van which has that feature.
I was interested also to read your comment that the quality of the internal work - and the different spelling of the name - had made you wonder if the van was a Wedlock van. Maybe it has been "redecorated" by someone at some point? Hopefully you'll be able to catch up with Jack at some point and ask him if it is one of his. That unusual roofline should help work it out one way or the other.
hi, don and leeroy,, tony is jacks son and the first van listed is his,,, will try to contact them to get involved,,, jack was a foreman at a furniture and cabinet factory on hervey bay rd one of the biggest outside of brisbane..during the year jack would build a caravan to take his family on holidays at xmas.. on returning on would go the for sale sign and so on,,,till jack left his job to make caravans and cabinetry....i have some photos of other drifta vans but none like yours leeroy so jack could have some answers for you...another interesting thing is jack had afishing shack and his neighbours were none other than the murrys who manufactured grace murr caravans in bundaberg ,,,,as for your logo on your van,drifta was jacks...yours is still a unique van as is any van that has been saved and brought back to life to be enjoyed by all.......
Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 8, 2014 20:01:04 GMT 10
Great to hear from you again. Thanks for posting that further info about Jack Wedlock. It is fascinating to find out a bit about the caravan builders of the vintage era, and about the vans they built - especially the less recognised and lesser known ones such as Jack. I loved the bit about Jack having a shack next to the Murrys. That's something you'd never guess! It would have been interesting sitting with them when they were chatting together.
Like Leeroy76 I'd love to see the photos you have. I'm not sure how familiar you are with how to post photos, but I gave some pointers to Leeroy76 in a post higher up this thread. Alternatively I'm quite happy to post some photos for you as I did for him if you would like to email them to me (details also mentioned in the other post).
Download AttachmentHello again, found out the van was made by Ron Vickers here in Maryborough . Ron done his apprenticeship at Allan & Puttick body builders in Brisbane. He enlisted in the war but was soon discharged because of the scarcity of tradesman and worked for Aircraft Pty Ltd at Archerfield Aerodome repairing war planes. he later started his own aluminium business and built the first aluminium caravan in Maryborough in 1957 which is the one I have. I do have a newspaper clipping from 2006 when they did a story on Rons life and am trying to post clipping.
Last Edit: Sept 23, 2014 23:19:49 GMT 10 by leeroy76
Gday Leeroy.Great van you`ve got.As a sheety you shouldnt have a problem removing the damaged curved section/s & running it through a wheeling machine.Thats how we did the curves (roof & pillar panels) on our buses back in the 60s. gordon
Queenstown Tasmania. 1948/52 Mercury Teardrop. 1959 Phase III Vanguard Vignale.
Post by Don Ricardo on Sept 24, 2014 17:33:17 GMT 10
That's very exciting news! Congratulations on tracking down the origins of your van. It's excellent that we can now give Ron Vickers some recognition on the forum.
As you can see, I've separated out the posts about your van from the original 'Drifta' thread, and created a new thread with the title 'Ron Vickers'. Hope that's OK? It will assist people looking for info about Ron Vickers and Jack Wedlock on future occasions.
A couple of questions arising from your discovery:
...and built the first aluminium caravan in Maryborough in 1957 which is the one I have...
In reference to your comment above, am I correct in understanding that you know/believe that your van is the actual first van that Ron built, or do you mean that it is of the same design as the first van?
Do you know at this stage whether all Ron's van were called Drifter, or do you think it's a name that was given to your particular van? (It would be quite an odd thing if the two caravan builders in Maryborough - Jack Wedlock and Ron Vickers - called their vans Drifta and Drifter respectively!)
Last Edit: Sept 24, 2014 20:15:57 GMT 10 by Don Ricardo
Hi Don, from what I understand this is the first one Ron built. Ron did make alloy boats as well a aluminium fabrication. When I arrived in Maryborough 4 years ago I started working at Vickers aluminium with his grandson Neil. I no longer work there but will call in to ask a few questions in the near future. I'm not sure if it was only the one van or he produced a few. Cheers. Lee
It does sound a bit dodgy that both vans where called similar names, used the same colours and also from the same town and era
Last Edit: Sept 24, 2014 18:17:38 GMT 10 by leeroy76