No it doesn't belong to one of our collegues Don R, it belongs to the proprietor of a caravan repair business in Rockingham WA.
He has a bit of a soft spot for older caravans, and has a 1946 masonite caravan under resto (pics to be posted later).
I gave him bit of a serve ;D for leaving the Cadet out in the weather (its been bucketing down rain over here) and suggested he sell it to someone who can store and repair/restore it. One of our members is keen to take it on.
Yes, its the same size as mine, I think they're 14' 6".
John,we own build no 257- and we would like to have a look at the don van you may have if you have purchased it.We will be coming up to bendigo to the fx fj state titles oct 21 for a few days if possible could we catch up to have a look at you're project .Doug &Vicki
Post by Don Ricardo on Nov 24, 2007 19:18:16 GMT 10
Mark - and everyone,
Regarding your Don serial no list, what evidence do we have that van numbers 257 (Doug and Vicky's 12 ft) and 261 (your 10 ft) are pre-War?
I've been working through a few numbers in my head, and my thinking goes as follows:
Don started producing vans in 1934.
Serial no 30 was produced in 1936 (so we've been informed)
That represents 30 vans in 2 to 3 years, or 10 - 15 per year.
The War started three years later in 1939, and I'm assuming that van production ceased for the duration of the war (but maybe not).
If numbers 257 and 261 were produced in 1939, that would represent something like 77 vans per year from 1936.
That's quite a ramp up in production compared to the first three years, but may certainly have been possible - particularly if the production was something like, say 50, 80, 100 over the three years in question.
Assuming that no 261 was the among the last produced before the war (and of course we don't know that), then post-War Don produced 200 vans between the end of the war and the end of 1949. No 461 was came of the production line in November 1949.
I presume production would have taken some months to start up again after the end of the War, so smaller production numbers in 1946-1949 compared to 1936-1939 is certainly likely.
3010 is alive and sort of well. It has just been purchased by a chap in Melbourne and I am making it towable for the trip back from Paynesville. The Blue is vinyl not tiles and the jack handle is still there. Tyres need replacing and a total rewire. I guess from your research that it is around 1963. It doesn't seem to be too bad inside. No stove so what should it have? Had a gas bottle out the front at some stage. the new owner will be incontact with you soon. Regards Rick.
Post by Don Ricardo on Oct 26, 2008 22:01:34 GMT 10
Congratulations on your new acquisition and welcome to the forum. It's great to see the new owner of Don no 4038 joining us online.
As Mark T has indicated, it's impossible to date your van precisely at this point. According to the family who manufactured Dons, production ceased in 1965 (or possibly early 1966). So that means that is the latest your van can have been produced. The other factor which provides some guidance on the date for your van is that the seller told me that the serial number plate said only 'Don Caravan Co, Oakleigh' not 'Cadet' as on the plate shown in the post higher up this thread. Perhaps you can confirm that for us?
However, if that is true, I think that means that your van is a Don 'Special' or a Don 'Standard' which to the best of my understanding were only produced from 1963 onwards. The Special and Standard models replaced the Cadets.
There was a 15 ft Don van advertised on Ebay a couple of months ago which was evidently a very late model because it had relatively wide front and rear windows for a Don. I have been told that that van was serial no 3090 or no 5090 by two different people. If it was no 3090 then that would suggest your van was produced quite late in the piece, say 1964 or 1965. However, if the other Don was 5090 that would tend to push your van back to say 1963.
Sorry, I've probably inundated you with info, but I figured that if I gave you the above background it may help you to work out a more specific date if and when more details about your van come to light. Sometimes there is info relating to the manufacture date of the van itself - pencilled in cupboards, electricity authority certificates, that sort of thing.
As Mark has said we would love to see some pics of your van, and particularly the serial number plate which might provide more info.
hi, I am new to this site, but wanted to tell you that I own a Don Bondwood caravan. It still has the original build card in it and is number 1107. It was built in 1958. Hope this helps with your information gathering.
Post by Don Ricardo on Oct 26, 2009 21:09:53 GMT 10
Welcome to the forum, and thanks for telling us about your Don's serial number.
Can you tell us a bit more about the van? If it was built in 1958 that probably means it is a Cadet model, or one of the 150/133 series, rather than one of the earlier leadlight window models. Is that correct? And do you know what the length of the cabin is?
Perhaps you'd like to post some pics of your van. There are quite a few forum contributors who are interested in Dons and would be pleased to see some photos.
Instructions on how to post photos can be found here if you're interested.
This is all very new to me so please bear with me. The caravan is a 133 and is about 12ft long. We have owned her for about 15 years and have had many happy holidays travelling around Victoria. The interior is in excellent condition but the exterior is requiring a "tidy up". I will post some photos as soon as I can get some organised. Thanks for the link on how to do this.
Post by Don Ricardo on Oct 27, 2009 19:40:18 GMT 10
A 133! That is very exciting. As far as I am aware from talking to members of the Robinson family, who owned the Don Caravan Co, there were very few 133 and 150 model vans built. Most of the post-1956 vans were Cadets or Cadet variants. We know of one 150 which is in Sydney, but yours is the first 133 that has been mentioned on the forum.
I've seen a few advertising pictures of a 133 model, but not photos of an actual van, so will look forward to seeing the photos of your van with lots of anticipation.
It does seem to have worked this time. Hope the photos give you some idea of our how our van looks, The first is when we first bought it followed by ones after she got a new paint job to match our old "Rover". I will post some photos of the interior in the next couple of days.
Post by Don Ricardo on Oct 31, 2009 21:34:03 GMT 10
Congratulations on mastering Photobucket. It sometimes take a bit of experimenting to work it out, but then when you get the hang of it, it becomes easy.
What a fabulous caravan you have there, and so fascinating from a Don history point of view. The interesting thing about the styling of the 133 model and the 150 model is that they seemed to combine the old and the new. The front of the 133 is quite upright and very mid-50's, while the rounded back is very reminiscent of the Don leadlight model caravans of the 30's, 40's and early 50's, which the 133 replaced.
Must say I like the waist stripes you've added, they seem to be keeping with the van.
You've got a real treasure there. I look forward to seeing some internal photos when you are able to post them.
Thanks for your information and positive comments re my 133. Have attached some internal photos ( I hope). Am in the process of restoring the exterior as the paint had become quite shabby, I hope it comes up well again. I can see that the 133 is a mixture of the old and new styles and it does make her quite different.
Post by Don Ricardo on Nov 1, 2009 21:15:37 GMT 10
The photos of the inside of your 133 are as interesting as the ones of the outside. The cupboards, etc, of your van appear to be almost an exact carryover from the previous leadlight models.
If you look at the photos of the inside of our 1949 Don 140 here, I'm sure you'll see the similarities with the galley and pantry cupboards, etc. Even the door, ventilation flap, and door handle, etc are very similar.
Would you class your van as a 3 or a 4-berth? Is the dinette wide enough for two when the table is lowered?
Your van is gorgeous and the similarities to the interior are amazing. I guess I would class the van as a 3 berth although when the children were younger we would sleep 2 of them in the converted dinette. As I mentioned we have had the van 15 years and bought if an old gent who i believe had owned it since new. He had stored it in a shed all of its life so it was in very good condition when we bought it. Since we have owned it it has been either in a shed or under a carport for all but 6 months. despite that, the harsh Australian weather is impacting on the state of the exterior and she is now in the middle of an external repaint. I realise that 7 years is too long inbetween painting.
I was interested to read that after your father passed away your mum still towed the van but then felt it was time to part with it. My husband passed away 7 years ago and i took our kids away a few times to Philip Island. The children are now teenagers and we have not holidayed in our Don for 4 years. I am thinking it is time to consider parting with her as I am not in a position or qualified enough to maintain a van like this in the state she should be. After the repaint I will probably have to consider parting with her, this will be very sad but I am hopeful I can find someone who will get as much enjoyment as we have had, and appreciate that she is a part of Australian history.
Thanks again on the link with your Don, it was a wonderful read.
Thanks for the link to your van. I am now realising that my van is a bit unusual. No wonder I have not seen others like it around, I have viewed this site for the last year to see if there are other vans like mine around. It is interesting to see how it is a combination of the earlier leadlight models and the cadette which followed it.
Post by Don Ricardo on Nov 18, 2009 21:12:05 GMT 10
This is one for the Don tragics amongst us. Other folk can just pass on to the next post if they wish.
I've been doing a bit of thinking about the Don serial numbers. Yeah, I know I've got too much time on my hands. Well, anyway, I've come up with a theory.
We know the following:
The 1934-56 series began with serial number 1, and the latest serial number we have for this series is number 1023 on Mark T's 120 model van which has been documented as being built in 1956.
The new 150 & 133 'luxury' series was introduced in 1956, and Aussietanker's 150 is number 1050 and Rakte's 133 built around 1958 is 1107.
The 'economy' Cadet series was also introduced in 1956, and the earliest Cadet we know about is hop234's, which is serial number 2104, and I've guestimated it as being 1957/58 because of the Bosse style windows.
Now even if we are out by a year or even two on the age of Rakte's 133 and hop234's Cadet, there is a BIG gap between serial numbers 1107 and 2104: 997 to be exact. It seems unlikely that there are something like 1,000 Don's out there built between 1956 and say 1958 that we haven't heard about. Based on this, my theory is...
That Don started a new numbering system for Cadets commencing at 2000 (or maybe 2001), leaving the serial numbers in the 1,000's for the 133/150 series.
We know that very few 133's and 150's were built, so maybe the numbers in that series didn't get much above Rakte's 1107?
Post by Surf Tragic on Nov 19, 2009 20:51:29 GMT 10
Yes Don Ricardo
Could well have been. The Company may have been slowing up at the time of Marks latest #1023 Don 120 in 1956, the writing was on the wall, the company not keeping abreast of the times with production efficiencies, mass prooduction, competition, they could well have said, leave room for another 977 vans just in case we turn the corner, taking a chance with the luxury series, but failed to be a big goer because of price maybe, factory not geared up good enough with the new shaped van to be competitive, hence the few to be found.
It makes a lot of sense what you say DR, companies are always looking for ways to improve, survive, the last chance as they saw it could have been the 'Economy Cadet' introduced in 1956, and the serial number starting at 2001