For those interested in Don caravans, I'm slowly but surely piecing together build Nos and approx year of manuafacture for Don caravans:
Here's the Nos of vans i know of so far and approx year of manufacture:
No 30 .....either 12' or 14' (unknow) manufactured 1936
No 257 .....12' foot van ...unknown, but possibly prewar
No 261 .....10.5' model ...unknown, but possibly prewar
No 328 ......14' model believed to be approx 1947 build
No 373......10'5 model ...unknown ...postwar?
No 461 ..... 14' model delivered new July 1949
No 539 .......10' model ........must be 1950
No 576 ......14' model either 1951 or 1952
No 604 ......12' model purchased new in 1952
No 672.......14' model 1952, possibly 1953
No 784 ......12' model ......1954 maybe?
No 990 ......12' model 1955 ....towards the end of the run
No 1017 ....14' model .....55 / 56 belonging to Elwin (NSW)
No 1023 .....12' leadlight model (Don 120) purchased new in 56
No 2104 .....14' ......1957 / 58
No 2303......14' Cadet (mine) .....1958/59
No 2369 .....1960 /61 model (Abba Caravans)
No 3010 ......Don Cadet
No 3071 ......Don Cadet ......approx late 63 early 64
No 3076.....14'10" Don Cadet, delivered new Jan 1964
Can any of you with copies of the 1953 to 1956 Australian Caravan & Touring Manuals tell me when the last of the old round shape Don caravans were made (with the leadlight windows) and the first of the new squarer shape were made?
Last Edit: Sept 28, 2009 22:15:33 GMT 10 by Deleted
The smallest of the" Don" caravans in one of my books is called " Model 100" and was 10ft long. The book is Motor Manuel Trailer Book 1952-53. From the book "Keith Winser Book 4 Caravans and Touring" I found this on Don caravans:
Model 100 was 6ft 4in x 10 ft x 10cwt. 2 berth Model 121 was 12ft 10 in x 6ft 4in x12 cwt. 4 berth Model 140 was 14ft 6in x 6ft 4in x17 cwt. 4 berth.
I'll have a look in some of my old car manuels and caravan books for some more info over the weekend. Cheers retro1
Just back to earlier in this thread, i have a copy of Keith Winser's Australian Caravan and Touring manual for 1956 number 8 and it is still advertising don's as the old round shape with leadlight windows with a stock range of 10, 12, and 14 ft lengths, just a little bit more ,that in the 12ft model curtains divide the interior in 2 and ice chests or refrigerators can be fitted. hope this helps with dating them! exocet
Interesting that the Winser book mentions that you could choose either an icebox or fridge for these vans. I've only seen an icebox in them (ie as original equipment), but Mark might have seen the fridge version.
Does the Winser book mention the newly released Dons being available (the 150 and the Cadet)?
Post by Don Ricardo on Apr 25, 2007 17:28:55 GMT 10
I think you're right Exocet. And in fact, according to the article Cobber posted, the older vans were still available as a 'custom build' even after the new models were in production, but I haven't heard of any evidence that tells us how long that continued for.
Cobber's Motor Manual article is dated June 1956 and refers to the two new models as being "just released". It would seem that the fact that there is no mention of them in the Winser book and the date of the article does indicate that they were released around mid-year, and that it wasn't just a publicist's hype. Another piece of the jigsaw...!
I have just had a look at a 14 foot Don Build Number 249. said to be 1938/9 so you can add this to the "data base" for Don Caravans
I have been given the option to buy it but I am unsure whether I should take the plunge on this one as like everone else I have major storage issues.
Sorry I have no photos but the internals are in pretty good nick still has the enamel hand basin,virtually all of the fittings as well as the original lino floor which would only need a bit of polishing.
It is missing the ice chest and has had a gas stove fitted around the 1970s.
The bath also has a plastic plug in it! obvioulsy not the original. The current owner didn't even know it actually had a bath.
It will need a total external rebuild as most of the ply is pretty flakey and it looks like it has been reversed into something.
I have to make a decision tonight as there are others floating about ready to snap it up, the owner also said she would prefer that I purchased it since I showed some knowledge
Post by Don Ricardo on May 26, 2007 20:13:02 GMT 10
I've just been checking over the Don build number list and trying to work out which on the list - if any - is Jim Maskell's 140 model.
The late lamented Trevor Roberts and Carrots posted some photos of Jim's van in 2004 in which they described the van as being 1948, but there is no 1948 van in your list. Does this mean Jim's van is build no 576 built in 1951 or 1952?
Just trying to sort out which vans I've seen on the forum and which I haven't
Also what is the history of build no 30? I note that it is listed as either 12' or 14', so do I presume from that that it doesn't exist any more? Do you have any specific information about it?
G'Day all I am also the proud owner of a Don 12 build number 944, Thanks to the generosity of Libby from Caloundra. This van needs a major rebuild which will start after Wintersun. Can anyone help with the year of birth. Regards David dosse.
Congratulation on becoming the new owner of Don number 944. I was so glad to hear that it had gone to another V V forum person.
According to Mark T's list, build number 990 is thought to have been built in 1955 or thereabouts, which was near the end of the 1934-1955 series of Dons. At this stage I don't think anyone knows of a Don in that series with a higher build number than 990, although there may be some around yet to be discovered and/or reported. 1956 saw the transition to the Don 150 and Cadet series.
Based on this info, your van would have been built in 1954 or 1955, just depending on how late in 1955 number 990 came out of the factory.
From Libbeerose's photos you've got a bit of work ahead of you. We all look forward to seeing some pictures posted along the way, and to giving you a big pat on the back when 944 is ready to hit the road again. How did you go getting the van home to your place?
G'Day Don Thanks for the good wishers and information on the year of build. The van just needed the tyres inflated and the door side of the van roped down and off we went, But I will say we only towed it about 30 km to my brothers place at Glasshouse mtns as we ran out of daylight. I will just need to go back and get some taillights going and a police permit and home it comes. Looking forward to the rebuild, with the help of a mate (cabinetmaker) should not take to long. My wife is all ready looking for the new curtains. We will post photos of the reno on the site when we start. Regards David dosse.
ITEM 2: Mark T's list of Don caravans at the head of this thread lists three examples of the Cadet, two of which are 14 ft models (and one of which is Mark's). Not sure what size build no 3010 is, but it looks to be a 14 ft model as well, judging from the photos further down the thread (Reply #5).
This list includes reference to the 12 ft Don Cadet, but also refers to a 9ft Cadet (see the section for 'Under 550 pounds'). [Got to love the way Cobber can pull stuff out of his collection of Motor Manuals ]
OK, so here are the questions:
A. We know that the 12 ft Cadet was released in mid-1956. Does anybody know when the 14 ft and 9 ft Cadets were introduced?
B. All the Cadets on Mark's list appear to be 14 ft models. Has anybody actually seen a 12 ft Cadet or a 9ft Cadet? The 9ft model would have been a little cutie I suspect...
It would be great if someone could find some photos of the 12 ft and 9 ft Cadets somewhere. Maybe Cobber can find something in his magazine collection?
Hi Cobber, the 1956 Winser mag i have has interior pictures of the 10, 12 and 14 ft models, the 14ft model has the bath, but no pics or mention of the 9ft model and as mentoined in another thread the add says''trading at the same address for 32 years'' and that the basic design of the Don has remained the same for over 20 years, great old adds!
Post by Don Ricardo on Jul 30, 2007 23:40:28 GMT 10
Hi Cobber and Exocet,
Thanks for referring me to the thread on Kaybee's van, Cobber, but that is the 10 ft model of the 1934 to 1956 series. The plan in the 1953 Motor Manual would be the same. However, I am presuming that the Cadet 9 listed in the 1960 Motor Manual was a small version of the Don Cadet series which was introduced in mid-1956.
It lists three Dons. I assume that the Cadet 15 is what we have been referring to as a 14 ft Cadet (like Mark T's Cadet). The 150 is the model owned by Aussietanker and featured in the 1956 copy of Motor Manual posted by Cobber. However, the biggest surprise in the list (to me) is the Don 133. I am wondering if that is a smaller version of the 150 model? Another mystery to solve...