Post by Don Ricardo on Dec 6, 2007 19:06:27 GMT 10
Extract from a previous Roma Caravans website:
"Roma Caravans was established in 1928 and has been building caravans for well over 50 years. Roma was either the first or one of the earliest caravan brands to be registered in Australia as far as we can ascertain."
Extract from the current Roma Caravans website (as at 11 September 2015):
"Roma Caravans is one on the oldest established caravan manufacturers in Australia. The first Roma was built in 1928 and we have been building them in Australia ever since. We have many years of caravan building experience from the directors, the staff and the next generation"
Post by Don Ricardo on Dec 6, 2007 19:27:49 GMT 10
On 19 November 2007, forum member davep wrote:
"We are selling our old 1959 Roma Caravan. It is wooden sided with aluminium back, front and top. It has a 3 way gas/12v/240v fridge and mostly original fittings inside including the blue vinyl and star laminex. It has the original and very sought after porthole widows! It was used by us many times and was a 3 owner van when we bought it, It also has a full annex included. It now needs some resto work as a bit of rot has gotten into the wood. For someone with some wood skills it would be a pretty simple job and it could easily be patched, the entire sides do not need replacing, just some sections (mainly at the outer edges). It tows great and is very comfy to sleep in, being a 4 berth. At present the wood is painted to match the 59 Caddy as per below."
For further information and photos on this caravan - click here
Roma history: On Dec 7, 2007, exocet wrote: my Keith Winser book of 1956 has an advertisement for Roma caravans. Mr R Green owned Roma Caravans , their address was 33 Elizabeth St Elsternwick, Vic. The advert features the Roma Clipper, both interior and exterior photos, but doesn't say what size it is, but it looks about 12 to 13ft long. They also had several models to choose from, to suit all cars, large and small. The vans were lined and were covered in marine ply, and have floor coverings of inlaid lino. Their motto was ''In a Caravan the thing that counts is COMFORT''
Post by Don Ricardo on Apr 29, 2008 19:19:42 GMT 10
Photos of Groovygramp's (and Groovygranny's) circa 1950's Roma posted 19 April 2008:
For further photos and information on this caravan click here Information posted by Groovygramps, 24 April 2008:
We are back from our travels with some very interesting news. - Groovygranny (my wife) and I were able to find the current location of Roma Caravans. The factory is manufacturing custom built caravans and poptops at 17 Randor Street, Campbellfield. Victoria. 3061. Phone (61)(03) 9357 0488 Fax: (61)(03) 9357 9677. Web: www.romacaravans.com.authe owner is Tony Palmarini who kindly gave me a letterhead with the Roma Caravans logo on with the wording established 1928. - Yes they have been around for a long time. They have outlets in other states.
Tony along with his son Mark run the business.
Tony explained to us that he has had the business since 1966 and that his father Vittorio Palmarini was associated with Roma before he was. Tony remembers being introduced to the original owner who set up the business. The vans were named Roma after the original owners wife.
As soon as Tony saw our van on the Vintage Caravans site he had no hesitation in saying that it was a Roma because it was the Roma shape and especially the sailing ship etched on the porthole window also the thick plastic lettering and colour of the Roma sign.
We told Tony that we were only able to read part of the ID plate on the tow bar because some one had welded a jockey wheel bracket near the plate and the welding heat affected the plate - the part that we could read - tow bar was manufactured in Coburg - Tony confirmed they were. He suspects some modifications have been made eg. valiant wheel caps, level ride brackets etc.
Tony told us that our van in even older than the one they have in the old factory. The one they have has an aluminium roof. So it is possible that our van is a 40's to 50's van.
We told Tony that we purchased our first second hand Roma van from Jim & Eileen Gibson who were the owners of Glenlee Caravans in Traralgon. Tony remembers them well and their son John who took over the business.
I will try and find a photo of that van because it had bondwood sides with the aluminium roof. We had the van in the 60's. Cheers gg Additional note - September 2017: Sadly Groovygramps fell ill in 2010 and subsequently died, after which Groovygranny sold the 1950's Roma caravan shown at the beginning of this post to forum member Hitched who posted the following internal photos when the van was put up for sale once more in 2017. Hitched dated the caravan as 1953, but I don't know what the basis for that date was:
great looking combination Groovy gramps the van reminds me much of retro ones amazing van he transformed in the early part of the forum My 2nd car was the 4 cylinder version(Ford consul) of the great Ford zephyr six
(source: listed on ebay May 2008. Edited description: 1950'S ROMA BONDWOOD CARAVAN. 15FT CABIN, 4 - BERTH. EXCELLENT CONDITION INSIDE FOR AGE. LAMINATED TIMBER OVERHEAD DRAWERS AND CUPBOARDS. ALL ORIGINAL FITTINGS EXCEPT FOR ONE MATRESS. ICE BOX, AND STOVE IN NEAR NEW CONDITION. NEW JOCKEY WHEEL, TOW HITCH AND HUB STUDS FOR PEACE OF MIND WHILE TOWING. ORIGINAL TYRES. STABILISERS WERE CAREFULLY REMOVED AS THEY WOULD NOT RETRACT FULLY. HAVE WEIGHED CARVAN AT 800kg.
Post by groovygramps on Jun 1, 2008 14:20:32 GMT 10
Hi Franklin 1,
The Roma sign of the front of the van is like ours. We note that the van has aluminium roof and windows. Thanks for the photos of the internal layout. The configuration of the cupboards and front dining area are very similar to ours. We have a double bed across the back.
Edited description: Roma Caravan, Chassis No: CA1186, 14ft 9ins long, 7ft wide. We are not sure of the age but we purchased it from an elderly gent who had it as a family van from new. It was always housed undercover so is in good condition and is weatherproof. It even has it's original spats!
Here are some of the features: It has a gas stove, a three-way fridge with a small freezer at the top, a stainless steel kitchen sink and drainer with a hand pump tap (the water tank under the caravan is really big) and a formica benchtop that fits over the stove and one next to that. Original keys are included with the cupboards, great to keep your valuables locked while you are out of the van. There is a wardrobe with storage below, it has keys also. At one end there is a double bed with an innerspring mattress, and at the other end the dining table drops down between the dining seats to make another bed.
Post by Don Ricardo on Sept 1, 2014 23:19:01 GMT 10
Roma 10 ft 6 in mini van advertised on Ebay, May 2011:
This van is very similar to Mgal's little Roma which is shown here. However, note that the external ledge under the front window is rounded on this van, while the edge on Mgal's van is sharply angled. Note also that the van in this post has two small windows, one more or less above the other, on the near side, suggesting that this van could be set up with bunks.
The 1969 Winser shows a 10 ft 6 in Roma with the sharply angled ledge under the front window, but also the two small windows on the near side. According to the description in Winser, the van was available as a 2, 3 or 4 berth van.
Note also that at this point Roma was located at 434 Burke Road, South Camberwell (Victoria).
Hi Don, thye 4 berth version had 4 single bunks and small bunk windows. The 2 berth had 2 singles and larger windows. Top bunks were removeable at a later stage if not required. The Camberwell address was a factory yard only for Roma,factory was in Northern rd Heidelberg,then later moved to Bulleen rd Bulleen. (if my memory serves me correctly!) Cheers hughdeani
Post by Don Ricardo on Sept 2, 2014 23:54:19 GMT 10
Thanks for that interesting information.
A couple of questions following on from that...
From what you've written, I'm thinking that the Ebay van is/was a three-berth version because it has two "bunk windows" on the near side and a single large window on the off side, while Mgals' Roma is probably a two-berth version, because it appears to have the one large window on each side? Is that correct do you think?
I'm thinking that the Ebay van with the rounded edge below the front window is an earlier model than Mgal's van with the sharply angled edge (below the window). What do you think? (In which case the Ebay van would be earlier than 1968/69 based on the fact that the 1969 Winser shows a van with the sharply angled edge.)
Hi Don, Didn't see the 3 bunk windows in post! So yes,you are right. I have never seen a Roma with the rounded bottom front roll like the eBay one.Maybe Roma experimented with the shape and didn't like it! I only remember the other shape with the indentation,much more distinctive. I wonder if this was a Capricorn version at some stage? Cheers hughdeani
Post by Don Ricardo on Sept 11, 2015 22:24:42 GMT 10
One of the little mysteries of caravan history is the origins of Roma Caravans. According to the current Roma website, the first Roma caravan was built in 1928. However, at this point we haven't come across any information about, or examples of Roma vans before the late 40's.
The earliest reference I've been able to find to a Roma caravan so far is this advert which was published in the Melbourne Argus on Saturday, 11 December 1948 (page 16):