Will do Don. I’m hoping Vic Roads might be able to offer some info from its old registration number. I believe it may have been used as a bar for functions etc. but it’s modifications are what made her so appealing, and really glad to read here that she could be polished up. She might become my pseudo Airstream!
Its taken quite some time (...thank you Covid) but we have finally been able to retrieve our new baby from across the border.
We are pretty sure she is a Northern brand as has been suggested. She still has Victorian rego plate on her, but Vic Roads were unable to offer any info, as it has been over 35 years since she was last registered in Victoria. Our’s has three portholes on the RHS of the van, where as any photos I have seen to date show a long narrow round-ended window, but I guess there were a few different designs over their short existence.
We have started the strip out, and there is plenty of timber frame that needs to be replaced; as you can see we did have a bit of collateral damage after the (mindful) 450km trip home! But all-in-all we are delighted with her.
Post by Don Ricardo on Jun 3, 2020 11:30:05 GMT 10
Hi again Precious,
Great to hear that you’ve been able to bring your van home.
I am certain that your van is a Northern. The front profile of that model is very distinctive.
Regarding the port holes on the RHS/offside, they may be original or a modification. It is a bit hard to tell, because the van has been so heavily modified, particularly in relation to the windows, with extra windows being added in in various places. As you say all the other Northerns we’ve seen have a long horizontal window in the galley area, not portholes. But then the door of your van is a different shape to the doors on any other Northerns we’ve seen too, so it seems like Northern may have changed some details as they went along.
You might be able to tell if the portholes over the galley are original by looking at the external cladding in that area. If there was originally a long horizontal window, someone would have needed to add a strip of cladding (and framing) in that section to cover the original opening. Is there any sign of that, or is the cladding just continuous sheet?
I am also intrigued with the porthole high up on the LHS/kerbside wall to the right of the door. Is that actually a window, or is it an external light? And if it’s a window was it for a bathroom or showerroom?
Thanks once again for your much valued response Don.
I can confirm the portholes on the off side do not have any patching to the cladding, so assume they are original. Only two large cladding panels on the off side with one horizontal join.
One more question springs to mind and am hoping you may be able to shed light on; we have to date been unable to find a manufacturer’s plate/id/VIN number. Can you suggest where we should look for those?
Last Edit: Jun 3, 2020 17:25:11 GMT 10 by Precious
Post by Don Ricardo on Jun 4, 2020 20:43:38 GMT 10
Unfortunately I can’t answer your question about where to find a manufacturer’s plate for your Northern. Not all manufacturers actually installed an ID plate or put a serial number on their van. Being a small manufacturer, this may be the case with Northern. In addition any information that may have been there may have been covered over by the modifications. Even in the photos in their adverts I can’t see any indication of signage or a nameplate, and none of the other people on the forum who have had Northern vans have mentioned a serial number.
With that said, have a good look around and see if you can find anything. There may be something written somewhere. One place to look is on the drawbar for a serial number that may be made out of weld or engraved on the drawbar. Remember that it may be covered in a few layers of paint, so quite difficult to see, especially if it’s engraved. You can also look under the table, in cupboards, under drawers and in the wardrobe for any figures, dates or comments written in pencil or pen. If you find something it may not be readily obvious what the writing represents, but take a photo of it for posterity. We’ll be happy to try and help you figure out what it might relate to.
Good luck with your search, and let us know if you find anything.
If you’re thinking about proof of manufacturer for registration purposes, the best you might be able to do is to take is a copy of the Northern adverts to show that it is a Northern van. That doesn’t help you with the build date, but maybe the rego authorities will be happy to accept the date of the advert as a date for the van.
Please allow us to introduce to you The Marvelous Miss Millicent .... heavily modified outside & inside. This photo is her on her way home from Lake Mundi (technically she came from Mt.Gambier SA) but due Covid-19 we managed to collect her six weeks before total lockdown. .......9 hours later she'd finally arrived home.
Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 11, 2020 19:59:34 GMT 10
Great to see you’re getting stuck into you project - totally going back to basics! It’s good to know that you found a way to get the van home as well. The border closures have now made life pretty tricky for “interstate caravan transfers”, but it’s good that you could organise the recovery before the full lockdown came into place.
Are you intending to keep the after market windows? They were a bit of a shock when I first saw them when the van was advertised, but I’ve come to quite like them. A really creative approach to customising the van. One thing that’s puzzled me though...how on earth do you get any privacy or shut out the light when you need to sleep? Were there curtains on each window?
I will be fascinated to see what you do with the van. There’s no doubt about it - it’s definitely the most unusual Northern Caravans around!
By the way, I see that you’ve started a new thread under a new user name. Would you like me to combine the two threads for you to provide some continuity between the two? It’s up to you of course, so just let me know if you’d like that.
In answering your question about having bitten off more then you can chew.
The only advice I can offer is break the project down into small, doable, steps. I note that in one of the photos the internal walls have been removed - may I suggest insulation the van as part of the rebuild. It is also an opportunity to re- do you wiring (12v and 240v). However having said that, you may already have thought of this and have a plan
.........By the way, I see that you’ve started a new thread under a new user name. Would you like me to combine the two threads for you to provide some continuity between the two? It’s up to you of course, so just let me know if you’d like that.
......you're an absolute super-sleuth and hit-the-nail-ALMOST-on-the-head. That previous thread was started by Precious, my partner 😆 but indeed, if you could combine the two that would be much appreciated, I think that somehow I've been nominated to forum-duties. We've progressed a lot further than what the photos would indicate, I've dismantled the suspension and axel assembly and am currently looking for greasable shackle bolts and castle nuts to put everything back together.
not at all Michael, I'm looking for all kinds of feedback, so I totally appreciate your encouragement and helpful comments. We have thought a lot of the aforementioned items you suggested, currently working on the suspension and heading to the rewiring and replacing of the lights (external) next. I'm absolutely loving it and when I stand back and observe it all my head starts to swell somewhat 🤣😂 .... not ever having attempted a project such as this. Please continue with feedback and suggestions, I'm looking forward to more babble and japperdy-jap. Regards, Uri