Post by sportsman 1 on Dec 20, 2007 15:54:04 GMT 10
SPORTSMAN CARAVANS & CARAVANETTES
Manufactured by Mr Nicholson of 153 Beach Road, Mentone, Vic
Presumably Mr Nicholson was the proprietor of Sportsman's Trailing Equipment, 193 Point Nepean Road, Aspendale, Vic, and later Sportsman Industries (Aust) Pty Ltd 145 Park Road, Cheltenham, Vic I believe Sportsman vans were first made in late 1930's, beginning with Caravanettes (Teardrops). I have heard dates of 1937 or 38. Possibly made at home or semi professionally.
After the war they went into full production, being known as Sportsman Trailing Equipment, based at 145 Park Rd, Cheltenham, Vic.
Initially two models were available, the Sportsman Cub (3 cwt) and the Sportsman De Luxe (4 cwt).
In 1950 they announced a new model, the 7 1/2 cwt lightweight Sportsman Caravan. This was a 2 berth van measuring 9 ft 3 in.
They offered complete units or kits.
The make seems to have disappeared from the various magazine advert sections around 1954.
My belief is as follows: for Sportsman De Luxes Pre war Caravanettes - have a turn type door handle mounted at the top of each door, one single turn type handle and catch mounted in the centre of the rear hatch/kitchen door, the word Sportsman was hand painted above each door.
Post war Caravanettes - have a push button type door handle mounted half way down each door, two turn type handles for the rear door, one in each corner, Sportsman cast badges now fitted above doors.
Adverts below from Motor Manual, August 1950 and Motor Manual's Year Book no 3, 1950 Caravan and Touring in Australia.
Post by sportsman 1 on May 29, 2008 14:59:52 GMT 10
Good stuff that! Thanks for posting Cobber.
I note in the description it states "the springs of the Sportsman will in future be fitted with the latest greaseless type of rubber bushed shackles." My van originally had plain old bronze/brass bushes. Also I note that the pictures in the 1948 article clearly show the door handles in the centre of the door and appear to be fixed (ie push button). The note of the " new production line assembly" would reinforce my thought that the earlier versions were built at home to order on a very limited basis?
As I stated above I believe that earlier (than 1948) ones such as mine had different handles, etc than the later ones. I base my belief on what were changed on car production and at what time.
I would dearly love to find some reference to Sportsman Vans pre 1948 and of course the earlier the better.
Any chance on a copy of the items for my file Cobber, old buddy, old pal.
Post by Don Ricardo on Oct 31, 2009 20:02:21 GMT 10
Sorry to say the picture of the 1937 pic you've posted is actually of a Land Cruiser tear drop model which also happened go by the name 'Sports'. The photo in The Argus was used in the Land Cruiser brochure which is posted on the Our Touring Past website here.
Might this Vauxhall/Sportsman combo suit you better than that old sedan, a convertible is more in keeping with your image. I'd love it myself if the Victorian V.O.C.A member who owns it ever decides to sell.
Bit of history my father actualy worked in the factory were they were made . He was one of the wood machinists who machined the timbers,for the caravans and teardrops. And sometimes helped with the build.
Last Edit: Oct 16, 2012 16:05:12 GMT 10 by moparman
Hi George Dad worked for them at park rd cheltenham. He told me how they use to steam the timbers and how they laid them on a board that had blocks that they then laid the steam timbers around to form the shape of the van. He also mentioned that they built them in the loft and then lowered them down with a block and tackle. This is about all that i remember from our conversations i guess i should ask him bit more about it but conversations seem to be about other things as dad is now in his 80s.
Post by Don Ricardo on Jan 9, 2017 10:44:03 GMT 10
This thread is replete with quite a number of advertisements for Sportsman caravans and caravanettes (teardrops), but there are few photos of actual caravanettes (and none of actual Sportsman caravans). Below are some photos of a range of caravanettes. Sportsman1's pre-War Sportsman caravanette, photographed at the 2010 Vintage Caravan Nationals at Mildura:
According to Sportsman1, the pre-War Sportsmans are distinguished by (1) the turning door handle (to be seen on the top rear corner of each door), (2) a hand signwritten 'Sportsman' logo above the door (no longer visible on this van), and (3) a single, centrally mounted handle and catch on the bottom edge of the galley hatch at the rear.
Note that the doors of this van were rebuilt with flush fitting windows, but the originals were constructed in the same manner as the doors on the examples which follow (apart from the door handles). The original door locks can be seen just below the centre rear of the doors, which was the original location. Note also that the current short mudguards on this van replaced fuller versions. However, as it happens some of the Sportsman caravanette adverts show vans with half guards, not totally unlike those on Sportsman1's van.
Another photo of this van posted by Jimhere on 2 April 2005, showing the side profile:
Thanks to Sportsman1 for additional clarifying information about his van (see his post which immediately follows this on this thread).
A post-War Sportsman in original condition belonging to Kevin Wilde posted by Cobberhere on 25 May 2010:
Sportsman1 has reported that post-War Sportsman caravanettes can be identified by (1) the fixed, push button door handles below the window, (2) the cast 'Sportsman' badge above the door, and (3) two catches for the galley hatch located on the bottom left and right corners. (The padbolts on the door of this van are not original.)
Stu's Sportsman 'Deluxe' posted here on 26 October 2008:
In the late 40's and early 50's, the 8 ft version of the Sportsman as shown in this post was advertised as the 'Sportsman Deluxe'. Stu's Sportsman carries 'DeLuxe' badges, but not 'Sportsman' badges. The 'DeLuxe' badges seem to be in a similar-ish script to the usual 'Sportsman' badges, but it is uncertain at this stage whether or not the 'DeLuxe' badges on Stu's caravan are original. (The mudguards on this van are not original.)
Period photos of Tonyh's parent's Sportsman posted here on 19 May 2008:
In 1948, Tonyh's parents bought a second hand Sportsman and with their family and all their possessions headed north from Victoria to live in Queensland. More details of the story can be found by clicking on the link provided immediately above.
Photos of MrFJ55's restored Sportsman posted here by Cobber on 27 January 2010:
MrFJ55's Sportsman has been used for displays and television appearances on many occasions, and is one of several restored Sportsmans that have been shown on the forum over the years.
Post by sportsman 1 on Jan 9, 2017 19:07:51 GMT 10
All very interesting DR, but if I may a few observations.
My van still has the original "sportsman" signwriting above the doors - it is under the sheet of masonite I have glued over the top! The doors and windows have been rebuilt, I made the windows flush - easier to seal! The originals were as the later vans. The mudguards are replacements. The originals were the same as the later vans. The position and type of door catches on mine are originals. Also the original locks are at the rear centre position. Note all the others have handles/catches in the rear centre of the door. Early vans have a single handle in centre of rear hatch, late vans have two, one in each corner. Lots of other non original things on mine but it should be noted I refurbished this van some 22 years ago (long before the Forum and old van restoration was popular)from an incomplete original shell to suit what I wanted at he time, a useable touring teardrop to tow behind my various Vauxhalls. I have towed it all over Australia including plenty of unmade roads, tracks, etc. I may restore it one day but lots more trips to be undertaken yet!
Post by Don Ricardo on Jan 11, 2017 14:43:49 GMT 10
Thanks for those additional details about your Sportsman caravanette. My original comments were based on my interpretation of the info contained in various posts that have been posted over the years, and I am very happy to be corrected.
I've amended the text in my post to take into account what you've told us, but would be grateful if your would re-read it to make sure that what's there is now correct.
Now, here's a question for you? Having stared at the photos of your Sportsman and comparing them to the photos of others which have been posted over the years (all of which are post-war, based on your criteria), it seems to me that the tail of your van (ie the distance between the axle and the rear end of the van) is slightly longer, and as a result the angle between the floor line and the roof of the van is slightly more acute, than the post-war vans. Is that correct, or is it just an optical illusion because of the angle the photos have been taken from? Or have I just been staring at the photos for too long? What do you think?