Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 12, 2020 14:40:17 GMT 10
Following are some photos of a Victorian-built Viscount, serial number V692, which was apparently left abandoned at our local tennis club in February 2018. It is interesting for a couple of reasons. The first is that it seems to have features of both 1960 and 1962 Viscounts as they were advertised, in particular the rounded (rather than flattish) bulkhead over the front windows (1960) and the wide centre window at the front (1961). The second reason it is of interest is that it has wrap around rear windows which don't seem to have been introduced into NSW-built vans until 1962 or 1963. This van is another indication that the Adelaide, Victorian and NSW Viscount factories seem to have developed their styles and models semi-independently.
The van was gutted when seen. Twocutekelpies has this van listed as 1961 on her Viscount register.
Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 22, 2020 15:10:31 GMT 10
I've been in two minds about which thread to put this post on, partly because it could be a bit controversial. However, I've decided to post it here because it is related to Viscount history, but it could also equally have gone on the DHL Valiant (by Viscount) thread...
In November 2017 the following photos of a 'Viscount Valiant' caravan surfaced on Gumtree:
There was some discussion about the identity of the van on various Viscount Facebook pages at the time, and as I recall the general consensus was that it wasn't Valiant because...we all know what the Valiants built by Viscount look like (ie not like this van) and it doesn't look like any other Viscount we've seen either. Twocutekelpies was involved in the conversation at the time (although I'm not ascribing any of the previously stated views to her), so she can set me straight if my recollection is incorrect.
However our knowledge about Viscount has multiplied quite considerably since 2017, and I have looked at these photos quite often, scratching my head all the while. As a result of all that scratching, plus the additional information we now have, the following points have occurred to me:
While the van doesn't look like any Viscount we've seen on the forum, the design is not all that different to some of the Viscounts from the late 50's and early 60's. Going further, the front windows and the slope on them are similar to the style seen on Adelaide built Viscounts in the mid to late 60's, and also the Adelaide built Vogue caravans which emerged out of the Adelaide business.
The van doesn't seem to resemble any other caravan brand that we know of (or at least that I can think of).
The small back window is a bit unusual, but is the same as I have seen on another Viscount a few years ago (but didn't take photos of to my shame ).
The signwritten 'Viscount Valiant' signage is a similar style to the signage routinely placed on Adelaide built Viscounts from the 50's and early 60's. The signwriting looks pretty fresh which may mean that it was put on by some misguided Viscount fan, but equally it could also be a faithful reproduction of the original. Note that the signage on the rear hasn't been refreshed and appears to be a faded version.
We now know that from early on until at least 1963 or 64, Viscount gave each of its model a specific name according to its length. Some of the names in the early 60's were Airflow (12ft 6in), Venturer (13ft 6in), Royal (15ft 3in) and Supreme (18ft). We've compiled a partial list (mostly for NSW-built vans) here. Valiant isn't among the list we have, but then we know the list is incomplete. We also know that the Adelaide factory used to include the model name in the signwriting on the front, side and rear of their caravans. So we've seen Adelaide-built Viscount Royals and Viscount Supremes with their model name clearly written on them.
Given all the above, I am now wondering if in fact the caravan in the photos is exactly what it says - a Viscount Valiant - produced in the Adelaide factory in the early 60's? Perhaps Viscount Adelaide was using the 'Valiant' name for one of its smaller models before the name was then used for the Valiants which we are more familiar with (and which I think were mainly built in the NSW factory)?
A fly in this particular speculative ointment is that the side cladding on the van in the photos above wasn't introduced until around 1964, which might suggest that this van wasn't built until then or later. However, the van has had some later modifications included the drop down table attached to the nearside of the van, the vinyl front guard and the modern refrigerator inside. So maybe the side cladding was replaced at some point? Perhaps the sides were even originally clad in bondwood like the early versions of the later Valiants we are more used to?
Hi Don, For what it’s worth I don’t think it’s a Viscount,wrong everything except the signage,which as we all know anyone can do! At present there are 4 vans for sale masquerading as Viscount,an Escort,a Newlands,an Evernew and a Executive! This happens all the time as we know,but seems to be coming more prevelant now,probably due to Covid 19 and folk wanting to cash in on a well known name. I still think this could be factory made,because I can vaguely remember something like it in the past,I just can’t remember where!😳 Cheers hughdeany
Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 22, 2020 15:47:46 GMT 10
Thanks for your comments - always worth receiving.
I've always been pretty skeptical about the van being a Viscount, but a couple of things have caused me to reconsider. First, the rear window and shape of the rear which I have seen on another Viscount (and it seems unlikely that there are two similar vans out there that have both had the Adelaide style Viscount signage put on them by chance). Second, what we've learnt in recent times about how the Adelaide factory identified the model with the Viscount signage, eg the Viscount Supreme shown higher up this thread. Third, the fact that there is a remnant of faded Viscount signage on the rear. And fourth, the fact that we now know that each of the three Viscount factories developed their own models to some extent, and as a result had distinctive model ranges which makes an Adelaide only built 'Viscount Valiant' a possibility.
Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 28, 2020 11:28:58 GMT 10
Following are some adverts sent to me by Twocutekelpies some time ago that illustrate some of the developments, and twists and turns in Viscount history. The last few adverts are after 1969 (ie after the vintage era), however I've included them because Viscount history continued after that date.
I am posting the adverts without comment at this point, apart from the last one, but am happy for people to discuss them if they find them interesting.
Thanks to Twocutekelpies for providing this treasure trove.
And the advert below is the one I'll comment on. Strictly speaking it doesn't belong on this thread because the Valiant Royal caravans referred to were not built by Viscount but by Bill Cole and Cec Taylor. The Valiant Royals in question have a lot of similarities to Viscount vans of the mid-1970's, but Viscount seems to have phased their Valiant model out in 1974. I presume that Viscount must have had some arrangement with Cole and Taylor because it seems unlikely that Viscount would have just allowed them to appropriate the model name for a similar design. Perhaps Cole and Taylor were former Viscount employees? Note that they stated their vans were backed by 20 years experience.
Interestingly, the Cole and Taylor Valiant Royal seems to have been marketed as a bit of an upmarket caravan, although the Valiant was always Viscount's budget model.
Hi All, I have been looking at your thread about the old Viscount caravans, trying to date a Duralvan my son bought from an old friend. I have found all the info very interesting & helpful.
I believed that our van was circa 1966, & this seems to match up with much of your work.
Hubby & I were doing some repairs & repaint,(although I think the original paint might be a bit distorted) to get the van registered & I came across something very interesting I felt I really had to share with all you good people I had to remove the "clearance light covers" to repaint the lens & I found that there was a date stamped inside the cover. I will attach pics of the caravan & the inside of the clearance light covers.
If this was a standard occerence on vans of this era it might help others to date their caravans. Our covers look like they have dates of April & May 1964, meaning it was probably an early 1965 model
Post by Don Ricardo on Sept 1, 2020 11:32:41 GMT 10
Welcome to the forum, and thanks for showing us the photos of your son's Viscount.
Based on the serial number of A965, the van was built in either 1964 or 1965. The caravan with the serial number A979 was built in April 1965, so I would think that A965 was also built early in 1965, given that the two serial numbers are only 14 apart. That fits with what you've surmised and fits with the dates you found on the clearance light covers.
That's a handy hint you've told us about regarding the dates on the light covers, by the way. I'm sure that will help a lot of people.
Regarding the paint work, I am hoping that Twocutekelpies will come along and tell you a bit more about the flashes on the sides of the van. She's compiled a lot of Viscount information, including on serial numbers (it's due to her work that I was able to tell you about A979).
Post by Don Ricardo on Feb 4, 2021 14:53:19 GMT 10
In June 2015, Vintagevalerie posted photos of her caravan here asking for assistance to identify the make, model and year:
One other feature of the van was that the serial number welded on the inside of the offside arm of the drawbar began with 'R', followed by a couple of other symbols/letters - 'CC' perhaps?
It was noted that the double awning windows at the rear were not original, and there were various suggestions about the origins of the van, but Hughdeany expressed his view that the van was a Viscount, even though the serial number didn't fit the standard Viscount format. Nobody was able to effectively refute his view - and let's face it Hughdeany knows his vans - and the question of origin was left in the air!
Then on 24 January 2021 on the same thread where Vintagevalerie had posted her photos, Jaycee posted a photo of her van and asked if it was a Viscount Regal. There has also been some discussion on Facebook regarding Jaycee's caravan and she has very kindly provided me and Twocutekelpies with a number of photos of the van:
It is evident from these photos that Jaycee's caravan has the same origins as Vintagevalerie's, and the serial number on the inside of the offside arm of the drawbar is 'R1' indicating that this is the case:
After quite a bit of discussion online and offline, the general consensus is that the vans are Viscounts which were built in the Adelaide factory around 1963, and Hughdeany is still of the view that the vans are Viscounts. The evidence for the vans being Viscounts is as follows:
The type of diamond impressed, unridged cladding, the livery on the vans (ie the placement and style of the coloured panels), and the spats is the same as that used on Viscount's 1963 model caravans from the Sydney and Melbourne factories (see for example here). The livery in particular is a style which was used by very few other manufacturers, the only other example I can think of being Chesney on their vans from around 1964/65.
Similar livery continued to be used by the Adelaide Viscount factory on some of the caravans they built up until the late 60's (see post to come).
The profile of the front of the vans with the two large awning windows is the same or very similar to the profile of the Adelaide built Viscount vans right through the middle and later 60's (see here) and was carried through even when the name of the vans was changed to Vogue.
Hughdeany and Twocutekelpies are of the opinion that the internal cabinetry in the vans is very similar to that which appeared in Viscount caravans.
There are two possible arguments against this. One is that the serial numbers (such as they are) beginning with 'R' do not fit the normal Viscount format and are not located in the normal place for a Viscount serial number (on the side or the top of the nearside arm of the drawbar). However, while we know the format of Adelaide serial numbers up until around 1962 (a three digit number with no letter of the alphabet) and the format of their serial numbers in the late 60's ('VC' followed by two or three digits - see post to follow for examples), we don't know what format was used in Adelaide in between, so the 'R' serial number may be possible. The second argument is that Jaycee's van was badged as a Scenic (see first photo of her van above), but our understanding is that the Victorian company Scenic sourced caravans from various manufacturers and sold them badged under the Scenic name. Therefore it is possible that they rebadged some Viscounts.
So the current thinking is that Vintagevalerie's and Jaycee's caravans are both Viscounts built in the Adelaide factory in 1963 or thereabouts. This conclusion is based on a few assumptions, so if anyone thinks those assumptions or the identification of the vans are in error, it will be interesting to hear their thoughts.
Thanks to Jaycee for providing the additional photos of her van so its origins could be explored.