I am new to the vintage caravan forum & I have a link below to some photos of our caravan which we picked up yesterday! Towed perfect from Ballarat to Phillip Island & we have spent the day cleaning
Our Viscount Duralvan was first registered in 1962 according to VicRoads however, I have found the number 69 written in pencil inside a cupboard and suspect that it could be older than this but it just doesn't add up. Oh well it doesn't matter too much but i still would love to know.
Congrats on getting your new caravan home safely. Cleaning up is always fun isn't it, not LOL, especially when it looks like it's hot there today.
Your van looks great. Heaps of room and lots of cupboards for storage
Are you planning on doing anything to the van or keeping it as is?
In regards to the year of your van, like mine I was told it is a 1962 make and it's registered as a 1962, but it has been suggested to me that it could be a 1966 or 1968 make. I have found no marks on the inside of the van with any clues, so who knows ??
I think if VIC roads is telling you that it was first registered in 1962, it would have to be from that year wouldn't it ??
Post by Don Ricardo on Jan 18, 2016 17:35:54 GMT 10
Great to hear about your new van and also to see the photos.
The good news is that Viscount caravans, and their sub-brands Ambassadors and Valiants, are often a bit easier to date - at least approximately - than some other brands that are around. The reason is that from 1964 onwards the vans normally include one or two strong clues as to when they were built. These are:
The design of the painted flash on the side - the design was changed every year or so.
The serial number normally found on the A-frame included a letter of the alphabet that most often tells us what the van was branded (Viscount, Ambassador or Valiant), and some numbers which we can use to compare with other vans to help us confirm a date.
And often a handwritten date somewhere inside the van, in the internal lining, in a wardrobe or under a draw, etc.
With your van, the flash on the side indicates that it's a van built in 1968 or 1969. The fact that you found '69' in a cupboard is some extra confirmation of that. You may even find a full dd/mm/yy date written somewhere if you keep looking.
There's a fair bit of information on the dating of Viscount Ambassador caravans and the design of the flashes in a thread in the Down History Lane section which you'll find by clicking here. There's a bit of debate about when your flash was introduced, ie 1968 or 1969, but I think that the 69 you've found indicates your van is 1969, as I indicated.
The design of the painted flashes seemed to have been used by Viscount across their whole model range for a given year (Ambassadors and Valiants were the 'economy' models), however I think that the wrap around front windows on your van possibly indicate that it was branded as a Viscount. If you are able to find and tell us the serial number on the A-frame (it will be welded numbers most likely on the door side of the A-frame a bit back from the coupling), we can most likely confirm what it was branded, and the number will also be further confirmation of the build date.
There's separate information about Viscount caravans in the Down History Lane section here.
You mentioned a possible build date of 1962 for your van. There's one other reason why that doesn't sound right, and that is that in Victoria - despite what Vicroads told you - caravans didn't have to be, and weren't, separately registered until 1967. So prior to that they didn't have a caravan/trailer number plate, etc, but just had to display the registration number of the tow vehicle which was often just painted on, or even written in chalk for vans that were towed by a range of vehicles. All that means that your van wouldn't/couldn't have been registered in 1962, even if it had been built by that time (I'm assuming that your van has Victorian registration?).
Where I think that the 1962 date may possibly have come from is that your van may have been re-registered at some stage and the owner had to come up with a date, and not knowing the actual date, guessed at 1962. We have found on the forum that that happened quite often. So the Vicroads person may have just been telling you that the van is/was registered as a 1962 van, as opposed to it being first registered then, but they may also not understand the distinction.
All of which leads to another point about the build date of your van - your van has a split, two-panel central front window, and they weren't introduced by Viscount until their 1964 models, so again ruling out a 1962 build date.
I hope the above is of some help to you.
One other tip (and I'm sorry if this is turning into a long post)...
If you copy the 'IMG' code for your photos in Photobucket, and then paste it into your forum post, the photos will display in the post itself rather than just providing a link to your Photobucket album. (If you need further info on this just let me know).
Looking back at the thread started back in Dec 2007 by Franklin1 he mentions a book by Trevor Gill, I will have to enquire at the State Library to see if they have a copy, but does anyone know if they are still around? It would be nice to just find a book solely about Viscount caravans, from their inception and covering all aspects from wooden to aluminium frames, the differing external coverings, the dating system, bedding styles, locally made and overseas parts used, the factories, staffing, advertising, sales, etc. There seems to much information spread-out through this forum and probably many trivial little matters retained in members, and non members heads, that it is a shame that it cannot be recorded somewhere, if not already, and recorded in one central document.
Oh well, maybe a task for when I reach retirement.
Post by Don Ricardo on Jan 21, 2016 9:27:35 GMT 10
The book by Trevor Gill you were referring to is called Still Swinging the Billy and was published in 2012 by the Caravan and Camping Industries Association of South Australia. If you contact the Association they may still have copies available.
There's some reasonably detailed info about a couple of manufacturers including Jennison, Furness and Roadmaster, but only snippets of info about others unfortunately. It's a really interesting read though.
Hi Everyone, I am new to the forum and not quite sure if this is the right place to introduce ourselves. Last week we brought "Myrtle" our Viscount Duralvan Ambassardor - chassis No. D 0320 home. We used to own her 22 years ago and loved her for a few years , 2 weeks ago we were very fortunate to buy her back . That was so very exciting. She is now being looked after and made leak proof as well as having some repairs done.A new annexe is on the horizon and then she'll be taking for a trip . Looking forward to "perhaps" get to Meningie ? Greetings to you all , Ose and HC ( Hans-Christian )
Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 25, 2020 23:25:09 GMT 10
G'day Ose and HC,
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on being able to find Myrtle and have her rejoin your family... I'm not sure what you call it when a much loved vehicle or caravan comes back home after being absent - your family - your garage - your fleet? 22 years is quite a period for it to be away though.
Anyway it's wonderful to hear that you're going to do some repairs and then head off on some trips with her.
The serial number you've quoted as 'D0320' has me a bit puzzled. Normally Viscount didn't use a leading zero in its serial numbers, so it would either be 'D320' or D?3210' where the '?' is a number other than zero. If it is 'D320' that would make it quite an early Ambassador from 1964, and the 'D' would normally indicate a timber frame.
I've used 'normally' quite a few times in the above because we have found there are always a few exceptions in the Viscount world!
It will be interesting to see some photos of your van, and hear if there is anything more you can tell us about the serial number. There are instructions on how to post photos in the 'Forum Guidelines & Helpful Hints' section of the forum here. You may like to start a new thread about your van in the 'Members Photo Album' section where you can add to your story as you do the repairs and start to go on trips with Myrtle.
G'day Don , thank you for your greetings. To answer your question about our chassis number it is : D302 , We are very excited to come and be part of the Get-to- gether at Meningie , is there anything be have to do join ? The only available spot was an unpowered site so that is where we'll be . Not sure if our Myrtle will be authentic enough as we plan to have her "solar powered" .we bought her here in South Australia but she came from Brisbane and had a "make-over"there from a ships carpenter , when we first saw here I just loved her . I am not very good with the modern technology of computers and it has taking me ages to find your response to my post , we have quite a few pictures of Myrtle but I think I have to engage some of my children or grandchildren to assist with posting same. My husband is now trying to find an Insurance Company to insure her but is finding it difficult,could you or someone recommend any one ? Cheerio and see you in Meningie ? Ose
Post by Don Ricardo on Sept 1, 2020 21:55:23 GMT 10
Good to hear from you again. Hopefully you’ll get used to how the forum works quite soon.
Posting photos does require a bit of learning, and I hope your children can help you out as you’ve suggested. If not, let me know, and you can email some photos to me and I’ll quite happily post them for you.
You confirmed that the serial number on your van is D302. That number indicates that Myrtle is an Ambassador built in 1964 with a wooden frame. The latter is indicated by the ‘D’.
It is great that you’re going to take Myrtle to Meningie. I’m sure you’ll have a great time. Don’t worry to much that your van has had a few modifications. Vintage and classic vanners are generally pretty relaxed about how other people have rebuilt, remodelled or modernised their vans, even if their personal preference is to keep their own van in original condition.
I am not planning to be at Meningie. Apart from anything else, I am in Victoria so at the moment we wouldn’t be able to set foot in South Australia even if we wanted to! However, we are hoping that the 2020-now-2021 Vintage Caravan Nationals will be going ahead in Victor Harbor in May 2021, all being well and the pandemic under control, so I might meet you then if you come.
Regarding insurance, it’s a bit of a vexed issue. There used to be a couple of specialist classic vehicle insurers who insured vintage caravans, but no longer do. Shannons will insure caravans if they are going to be towed by a classic vehicle, and used only for display at shows, etc. So if you’re planning to use your vans for touring or - gasp - holidays, then they are not interested. At the moment the best prospect seem to be the auto clubs insurance such as RACV or NRMA, and CIL Caravan Insurance. You will probably have to ring about a bit.