Hello! I am in the process of removing aluminium panels from my ‘64 Litecraft to treat some water damage and under the aluminium cladding is what looks like old cracked paint. Is it possible that my Florence could actually be a bondwood in disguise? It seems unusual to go to the trouble of painting a van before cladding it.🤗
The period 1963 to 1965 is generally seen as the "transition period" where manufacturers gradually changed from 'all-bondwood' to part-bondwood/aluminium, (consisting of aluminium roof and bondwood sides and ends), and then to all-aluminium. Once the all-aluminium vans became commonplace, some people with older vans could have 'updated' their van by adding aluminium cladding, either because of it's weathering benefits, or to simply 'keep up with the Joneses'.
We have seen other examples on this forum of people who have bought an aluminium van, only to discover the original bondwood underneath, complete with the original painted design (stripe, etc) on the bondwood. You could very well be another one of these examples.
Post by Don Ricardo on Feb 10, 2018 21:05:00 GMT 10
I've had a look at the photos of your Litecraft here, and have a couple of observations to make which might be of interest to you.
The cladding on your van looks from the photos to be of the baked acrylic type which wasn't introduced until around 1967. And in fact the profile of the cladding (ie the ribbing) looks to be of the type used in the 70's. So that indicates to me that your van almost certainly was re-clad at some time in the 70's. As a result the painted ply underneath is most probably the original cladding. But going further...
Your van was stated to be a 1964 model by the person from whom you bought it, but I think that it is actually a number of years older than that. My reason for saying that is that the shape of the van is very much the shape of the vans built by Litecraft in the mid to late 50's. I don't have any photos of LItecraft's 1964 models, but I do have photos of their 1962 models, and they looked very different to your van - prominent curved and sharp edged bulkheads above and below the front and rear windows, wrap around windows, etc, which are very typical of early 1960's vans. It is extremely unlikely that Litecraft would have reverted to a much earlier design after producing the 1962 model. Have a look at the Litecraft thread in the 'Down History Lane' section here, and look at the 1956, 1958 and 1962 vans shown on that thread, and you'll see what I mean.
So my conclusion is that your van is very likely to have been built in the second half of the 50's, and later 'updated' with the baked acrylic cladding. Indeed, if your van is a 50's van it certainly won't have had the backed acrylic cladding as original.
Hope you like the idea of your van being a bit more 'vintage' than you might have thought?
You guys are so knowledgeable! Thanks for the wealth of information, this opens a whole new exciting can of worms for me😁 I’ve always wondered why Florence didn’t look the same as any other Litecraft I had seen online and the shape and interior decor has the more curvy ‘50s appearance. My question now is do I keep the aluminium cladding or take her back to her original self? I did always want a bondwood so maybe I have just answered my own question! Time to start searching the big old web for info on restoring vintage bondwoods.......she says with a slight hint of intrepidation 😒
Post by Don Ricardo on Feb 12, 2018 8:29:31 GMT 10
I've seen the photos you have posted on Facebook of the section where you've taken the aluminium cladding off your van, and I think it's pretty evident from those why the van was recladded. My concern would be what might or might not be under the bondwood in terms of any rot which may or may not be progressing. So from that point of view I personally would be inclined to take the aluminium cladding off so you can really see where the problem areas are. And then if you really wanted a bondy in the first place, well there it is.
There are lots and lots of threads on the forum showing the restoration of bondwood vans. I think we can point you to a few of them if you're interested - and also tell you how to overcome the Photobucket block so that you can see the photos on the threads concerned.
Thanks Don Ricardo, I would be interested in seeing those pics. I’ve been unsure as to what to do but I’ll take your advice and remove all of the aluminium cladding to see what’s underneath. I’ve had to rethink keeping the bondwood exposed as I really don’t have proper protection from the elements and think the aluminium will help preserve the repairs that I get done. I’m chatting to a builder friend to get some advice on repairs also.....just a bit overwhelmed at the moment as I really don’t have a clue as to what I’m doing or where to start. I was ignorant to think that what I couldn’t see didn’t exist! 🙄
Hi Kerivan, if it's any help, i was in your shoes not too long ago. Thought i would just do some painting and hang some pretty curtains. Im still overwhelmed by what needs doing,but i do little bits at a time, and surprise myself that it wasn't that difficult, even when i fixed the chassis. The fun bit is uncovering the layers and finding the history of what it used to be like. My advice is enjoy the ride and don't have a time frame, if you rebuild something not quite right pull it off and get it right the second time, no harm done. If its not exactly like the original, don't worry, its your van, and by attempting a rebuild, its becoming more like the original than it is currently. Michelle