Post by vintagevalerie on Jun 25, 2015 12:02:00 GMT 10
Hello! Not sure if this is even a Viscount but hoping someone could tell me on here! We picked this up from a caravan park where it was on site for at least 45 years! The only welding on the draw bar is "R11". We are in the middle of restoring the old girl back to her original exterior as she has been painted white and brown where the annex was. I've been doing lots of research to see if I can find one like it but so far no luck! And info would be greatly appreciated as all stickers have been removed! Cheers, Beth
Also I'm obviously new here... How do I post photos??
Post by Don Ricardo on Jun 25, 2015 12:27:31 GMT 10
Welcome to the forum.
You can post photos using the attachment button in the 'Create Post' window. BUT it is better to post photos from one of the on-line photo storage websites because the photos display both larger and better. There are instructions on how to do it in the 'Forum Guidelines and Helpful Hints' section of the forum. A lot of us use Photobucket, which is pretty easy to use if you follow the instructions provided in the section I referred you to.
Give a yell if you need any help. In the meantime we'll look forward to seeing some pics of your van. If we can help you identify the van, we will. There's lots of expertise on the forum. A serial number beginning with 'R' doesn't sound like a Viscount...
Post by Don Ricardo on Jul 9, 2015 23:30:16 GMT 10
The number of models - and variations - produced by Viscount over the years is bewildering, and appears to have partly arisen because vans were produced in three different states in factories that each put their own spin on the designs, even before the factories were split up into two separate companies. So trying to work out how all the models fit together, and which comes first and where is a pretty complicated business. However, I figure that posting the different models that turn up on this thead will eventually help us to work out the jigsaw puzzle.
From the late 50's on, Viscount caravans tended to be identifiable by their wrap around windows front and back. However, following are photos of two Viscount vans that don't have wrap around windows at either end.
Photos of Glaucus75's Viscount posted on 2 June 2013:
Unfortunately we don't know the serial number or the factory of origin of this van at this stage, apparently due to the A-frame having been changed at some point.
For further information and discussion about Glaucus75's van click here.
Photos of Bluetanjo's Viscount, serial number V314 posted on 29 August 2010:
Note the very unusual V-shape treatment to the front windows, with the windows angling back from the central pillar to the sides, that can be seen in the first photo.
The interior of the van is also unusual with a day/night divan at the front:
Rear with twin beds and a folding table:
The 'V' serial number most likely indicates that this van was built in the Victorian Viscount factory, and the sticker below suggests that it was probably sold through a caravan dealer in Warracknabeal, Victoria:
More photos of Bluetanjo's van, including some of the fittings can be seen here.
Hughdeani has suggested that these vans without the wrap around front and rear windows may have been cheaper or 'budget' models. If so, they possibly pre-dated, or coincided with the development of the Ambassador and Valiant brands by Viscount, which enabled Viscount to offer vans at different price points.
Post by Don Ricardo on Jul 30, 2015 19:01:48 GMT 10
That's a great little van you have there.
I see you posted quite a few days ago regarding its age, but haven't received a response, so I thought I'd jump in and try and point you in what I think is the right direction.
Based on the 'F' serial number, the Viscount logo on the van, and the livery (the coloured panels on the side), I think your van is probably around 1971 or 1972. As far as I'm aware, none of those features appeared on Viscounts in the vintage era (ie pre-1970). If you have a look at the Viscount thread on the Classic Caravans forum here you'll see why I am thinking 71/72.
Post by shesgotthelook on Apr 19, 2016 13:34:40 GMT 10
I have been reading about the history of Viscount in a 2014 Time to Roam magazine. It says that John & Maureen Carr arrived in Adelaide in 1956. John began building caravans for 'Hardy' in a back yard, then went out on his own. Below is an advertisement I 'borrowed' from Our Touring Past. It confuses me a bit, as I can find no other reference to this style of caravan & even the very early aluminium clad Viscounts were different to this one. He must have made very few of them before changing to the more recognisable shapes & claddings that we know.
Hi SGtL, There is a picture of an early Viscount the same as this on this site,just can't remember where! I think Don Ricardo made reference to it after a pic was posted. There was a line of vans in an open shed visible from the road. Cheers hughdeani
Post by Don Ricardo on Apr 19, 2016 14:14:59 GMT 10
Hi SGTL and Hughdeani,
Yes, here it is. It appears to be the same model as the one in the advert SGTL has posted.
It seems as if John Carr developed his designs quite quickly, moving from the very 40's/early 50's shape in the advert and the photo, to a more rectangular late 50's shape, and then on to what we would now call the 60's shape with bulkheads, etc, even before the 60's had quite arrived.
Hi, I'm new here but I may be able to add something to this conversation. I started work in the caravan industry in 1971 and knew many of the people involved in the business. John Carr, a carpenter, got his start in Sydney manufacturing and supplying plywood caravans to George Rose at the back of George's caravan sales yard (Hollywood Caravans) in Cabramatta, This must have been sometime after anything he did in Adelaide. He eventually moved to Orange Grove Road and through the seventies and eighties built the hugely successful Viscount Caravan business and the Australian Screw company. His General manager was a guy called Garry Dunn who remained on at Viscount when (I believe) a Lebanese family purchased the caravan business sometime in the eighties. John moved to USA where he invested in Florida real estate. Some years later he repurchased the ailing Viscount Caravans at a fraction of its original sale price in a transaction similar to Packer's sale and repurchase of Channel Nine to Alan Bond. When John Darlington's Millard Caravan Company went into liquidation I believe the Australian Screw Company was one of the major creditors and it was at that point Millard Caravans were taken over or absorbed into the Viscount stable. I moved out of the industry in the early eighties but built many experiences and connections around the country and gathered an infinite number of tales (some funny and some not so funny) about the industry as it was in those days.
Post by stephen&Julie on Jul 25, 2016 18:12:05 GMT 10
Hi, Picked up this 1969 ? Viscount Duralvan 18’, Chassis No A9415F, Have upgraded my living quarters for the next 12 months, my 1966 Ambassador 20’ has been great but time for a change, good condition, tows great
Post by Don Ricardo on Oct 31, 2016 16:50:25 GMT 10
Some pics of another couple of Viscounts, to add to our understanding of Viscount's model range.
The first group of photos are of a well preserved 1963 Viscount advertised on Ebuy in December 2012. We don't seem to have many photos the inside of this model, so it is good to see some of the internal details.
According to our understanding at this point, the 'V' shape in the coloured panel at the front and rear indicates that this van was from the Viscount factory in Victoria. The caravan would most likely have had a serial number commencing with 'V' like Shesgotthelook's caravan in the post immediately above this:
An interesting feature of this caravan is that it has the dinette at the rear, and a slide down divan at the front. The second group of photos are of Donald80's Viscount taken by Franklin1 at the 2012 Vintage Caravan Nationals at Cowra, and posted here. The serial number of Donald80's caravan is N1379, most probably indicating that it was built in the Viscount NSW factory:
Donald80's caravan is of interest because, while it has the 1963 tail lights, it doesn't have the wrap around windows at the rear, only the front. The rear wall is cut in where the wrap around window could be set in, but there is just the flat panel and flat window instead.
This van has the same rear window treatment as Alprov's 1963 Viscount, which has the serial number N1290 (89 prior to Donald80's), and built on 14 June 1963. Photos of Alprov's caravan and more info here.
Post by Don Ricardo on Oct 31, 2016 22:27:11 GMT 10
Continuing the documentation of the various models of Viscount caravans, the following are photos of two 1961/62 model Viscounts with 'N' serial numbers, indicating that they were built in Viscount's NSW factory.
Photos of Ian and Steph's Viscount no N1047 posted on 4 March 2012 here:
Note that Ian and Steph's caravan has the original Viscount tail lights set at the angle which was the style on the 1961/62 model. Photos of Anglia46's Viscount no N1055 posted on 4 April 2011 here:
This caravan has been modified internally but retains some original features. In addition, the tail lights are not original. The livery on these two vans differs from that shown in the Viscount adverts for their 1961 and 1962 models shown here and here. On the two vans shown above, the coloured panels on the sides extend from below the side windows right up to level with the top of the windows. In contrast, in the adverts the coloured panel begins below the windows, but is relatively narrow and reaches only part way up the windows. At this stage we don't know what this may signify in terms of model, build date or factory of origin.
Here's a bit of a Viscount-related mystery that hopefully someone may be able to solve or at least throw some light on to...
The following photos were posted on Gumtree in November 2014 as part of an advert for a 13 ft Viscount van:
...The mystery is that the van is unlike any other Viscount we have pictures for, and the Viscount logo (part of which can be seen in the first pic) is also different to any of the other Viscount logos we've seen...
Twocutekelpies has contacted me to let me know that she has seen two other Viscounts with the same decal and logo. Those other vans have been reliably dated, using written records, as having been built in 1965, one in December 1965. So that suggests that the little 13 ft Viscount was also likely to have been produced in 1965 (or perhaps early 1966). I understand that both the other vans with this logo came from Viscount's Adelaide factory, so again this may indicate that the 13 footer also came out of that factory.
Thanks for that info Twocutekelpies. It's always satisfying when we can combine our information to solve a vintage caravan mystery!
Hi Don, A little off the subject, but do you know the significance of the Viscount names ie you suggest the Ambassador was second rung, I guess this means in terms of fitout? Would that then suggest the Supreme was a deluxe version? Cheers Brent
It's an interesting question, but I figured the best place to discuss it is on this thread, since it concerns Viscount and the Viscount company's other brand names (Ambassador and Valiant) and various model names. Hope that's OK?
Since I saw your question, I've done a bit of research - as a result the answer may be a bit longer than you were anticipating, but I hope that you will find the info interesting, and I hope that other forum members may be able to chip in with some further details about Viscount brand and model names as well.
At this point we don't know how Bob Hill and John Carr began branding their caravans when they commenced production in 1956. Perhaps they were simply branded as 'Viscounts', but in any case by 1958 they had developed a range of three Viscount models which were the Cadet, Airflow and Royal.
In 1962 Viscount introduced the Valiant model name. The Valiant was an economy (ie cheaper) model and the name was applied to a range of smaller caravans 12 ft 6 in and 14 ft 6 in in length. From what we've seen, the Valiant was tagged as the 'Valiant Royale', either when it was introduced or soon after. An August 1963 motor magazine news item reported that at that point 'three ranges' of caravans were available named the 'Valiants, Vogues and Royals'. I take that to mean that the vans were intended to be known as the Viscount Valiants, the Viscount Vogues, and the Viscount Royals. The Royal model name was a continuation of Viscount's previous name, and we know about the Valiant models, but we don't know much about the Vogues at this point. I am thinking that the three names referred to caravans which increased in fitout quality and size from the Valiants through the Vogues to the Royals, but that is just guesswork.
In any case it seems that Valiant soon began to be used as a separate brand name within the Viscount stable rather than just a model name - to the extent that over the years there has been a bit of debate in vintage caravan circles as to whether the early Valiants had any connection to Viscount at all. Certainly the early Valiants looked very different to the Viscounts of the same era, and were smaller than the Viscount range. But from what I've been able to discover, there is no real question about the Valiants having been developed by Viscount. Interestingly, both the Viscount and Valiant were World War II British airforce planes, so possibly that's where the names came from?
In 1964, after buying out the independent Ambassador caravan company in Adelaide, Viscount introduced the Ambassador range. A caravan review in 1965 reported that the 'Ambassador' brand name had been introduced to "...bridge the gap between the company's standard Valiant caravans and more luxurious Viscounts. Constructed side-by-side the three 'makes' benefit from volume production techniques, and a certain amount of component sharing. Individual characteristics are mainly, though not entirely, matters of final fittings."
The last couple of sentences in that quote explain why from 1964 the Valiants, Ambassadors and Viscounts looked more and more alike, with the same cladding, and the same coloured flashes that were changed annually. The differences between them was in the quality and level of the fittings, and things like the shape of the windows (wrap around front windows vs not wrap around). It probably also explains why sometimes we come across a Valiant with some Ambassador fittings, or an Ambassador with Viscount fittings. I've seen an undated Valiant/Ambassador/Viscount price list that shows wrap around front windows and opening rear windows were an extra cost option for the Ambassadors, at least.
The same undated price list indicates that the Valiant was available in three sizes from 12 ft 9 in to 16 ft, and the Ambassador was available in ten sizes or variations ranging from 13 ft 6 in to 25 ft. Interestingly the price list indicated that: "Viscount Caravans - are now built to Customers (sic) order only. Quotes available as required."
Towards the end of the 60's the Valiant brand name seems to have become less prominent, with Franklin1 and others stating that it was phased out around 1968 before being reintroduced in 1972. However, that was not the case because there is a news item from 1970 posted higher up this thread which states that Valiants were being manufactured in the Viscount NSW factory and available in Victoria. I also have copies of a number of adverts for the late 60's and early 70's advertising Ambassador and Valiant caravans. In fact the adverts around 1967 and 1968 only mention Ambassador and Valiant caravans - there are no mentions of Viscount caravans as such, although they are listed in the tables of Australian caravans in Winser's Caravan Manuals for those years. Perhaps they were still only being made to order? But then in 1969 the adverts refer to the three brands of Viscount, Ambassador and Valiant once more.
Around the middle of 1970, it appears that there was a change in the way that Viscount marketed their vans. Rather than treating Valiant and Ambassador as separate brands under the Viscount corporate umbrella, Valiant and Ambassador became treated as model names within the Viscount range - 'Ambassador (by Viscount)' became 'Viscount Ambassador', and 'Valiant (by Viscount)' became 'Viscount Valiant'. This was reflected in a common logo being used across all Viscount models which also incorporated the model name, like these two examples:
Apart from the Ambassador and Valiant brand/model names, Viscount used a number of model names for their Viscount brand caravans, many of them using a royalty theme. I don't have a complete record for all the years, but based on the info I have, I have been able to compile the following list, and this will provide a partial answer to your question about the Supreme model:
1958 (SA): Cadet - 10 ft 6 in Airflow - 12 ft 6 in Royal - 15 ft 3 in (The NSW factory also produced a 14 ft Viscount, model name unknown, but possibly Venturer)
1960 (NSW): Airflow - 12 ft 6 in Venturer - 13 ft 6 in Royal - 15 ft 3 in Supreme - 18 ft
1961 (NSW): Airflow - 12 ft 6 in Venturer - 13 ft 6 in Royal - 15 ft 3 in Supreme - 18 ft Palace - 23 ft
1963: Valiant Vogue Royal
1964 (SA & Vic) Deluxe Vogue Regal
1965 - the range included: Air Flow - 15 ft Palace - 25 ft
1967-1969 - the range included: Waldorf - 21 ft Palace - 23 ft Imperial (length unknown, possibly 25 ft?)
The Victorian factory produced: Regal - 12 ft 6 in, 14 ft 6 in and 18 ft 6 in De Luxe - 14 ft 9 in Special - 18 ft 6 in
1971 to the end of the 70's or thereabouts - the range included at one stage or another: Valiant Ambassador - 12 ft to 22 ft in 1976 Consort - introduced in 1971 and 15 ft to 19 ft Ranger - introduced in 1976 and 16 ft to 27 ft Royal - 15 ft to 17 ft in 1976 Supreme - 19 ft to 29 ft in 1976
So, Mustang...after a very long winded reply...the Supreme model seems to have been first introduced in 1961, was 'higher up' the range of models than the Royal (but possibly below some other models) and was distinguished from (say) the Royal by both the length of the vans available, and most probably the quality of fitout, the level of appointments included as standard, and - it has been suggested on the Classic Caravans forum - the trim options.
It has been quite an interesting exercise putting this information together, and I need to acknowledge the previous work of Franklin1, the Classic Caravans forum, the Ourtouringpast website, and the 'Do you own a Viscount?' Facebook page, all of which provided some of the pieces of the jigsaw. And of course the information available in a number of editions of Keith Winser's Caravan Manuals.
Corrections to the above details, or additional information about Viscount caravan branding, will be warmly welcomed from anyone.
Thankyou for welcoming me to this forum. I have several questions and please excuse my naivety as I am new to vintage caravans apart from playing in them when I was a kid. From looking at some of the posts I have identified the caravan I am looking at to be a 'Viscount Ambassador Aluvan' 1965*(I think) 22ft, duel axle ..It's chassis number is E2060. (Hopefully this will help with your list of lost caravans) It's the King Cahoona of the day in silver with the orange flash It's a bit sodden on the inside but very complete and very repairable. What I am wondering is what will it cost me aprox to get this baby on the road again? (Piece of string is this long) From first observation I think its tyres, brakes, hubs general once over. Check electrics and gas connections, all which I am told still work inc the original fridge and cooker. I want to make the owner a fair price offer but also have an idea of what I might be up for...I am very handy and restore my own cars, but this would be my first caravan. Any pitfalls with this model would also be appreciated.
I will post some pix when I work that part out.
Thanks and look forward to any advice
Editorial note: More photos of the caravan above can be found by clicking here Don Ricardo