Post by minicamper on Dec 23, 2007 16:51:52 GMT 10
I was hoping someone might be able to provide any information on Highway Caravans of Brighton in Vic. Several months ago, Reddo posted a "someone rescue this quick" post as it was on ebay at $50 and only 20 mins from my home. Somehow I ended up with this for the princely sum of $123. Several members of my family have referred to it as derelict and today i was asked if it should go on the back of the ute which was making a trip to the tip, apparently it qualified as "green waste"
Well I started some "renolition" today, not quite renovation, not quite demolition. Due to the rot in several places, I removed a bazillion slot head screws that had been painted over and attach the diamond aluminium cladding, opened the wardrobe door and with one swift kick, made this-
at the same time, several keys appeared, including one that fitted the orignal door lock, tucked in behind the cladding in the wheel arch.
I have always believed that this was a homemade van, but with the improved airflow, i discovered the original handle for the rear "legs" and this plate that had fallen through:
Dusty, but in this condition. I decided to ask the oracle of all information google and got this link which others may find interesting of shots in the State Library of Vic and low and behold, there at the bottom is a slightly different model of my van! Very exciting..
HI Chris According to my references, Highway Caravans were on River Street South Yarra in the early fifties - perhaps they moved from there at a later date. Their advertised vans were a 14ft Princess and 16ft Roadliner. The Princess looks very much like a Don, with the rounded bum. What's interesting about your van is that it has a rear entry door and rear kitchen - that in itself would have been rare in its days. What length is your van?? Ray
Post by Don Ricardo on Dec 23, 2007 19:42:10 GMT 10
Love the brass plate - what a great find!
I note that the SLV photo shows that the van like yours is a CRB van, ie Country Roads Board, which - if memory serves me right - was responsible for non-metropolitan roads in Victoria in the 50's and 60's (and possibly before and after that).
A number of caravan manufacturers built vans for government entities, including Don and Gason (see Down History Lane thread for each of these brands).
If your van has a similar origin, it may explain the ummm...functional shape as well as the layout and possibly the external paint colour (if that is original).
Ray, the van is 11ft long (not incl drawbar). This CRB thing would certainly explain a few things. Its set up as a single berth only, with no table or seats for that matter. Th colour is not original, it started as red, then yellow, beige and then green. I found some old papers that would suggest it may have been an on site van at some stage in Bendigo.
Don, was "functional" a polite way of suggesting this may take over from Reddo's fugly van? I'm in two minds what to do with it. If i keep it, it'll need the bed and some cupboards changed to make it into a twin with a table and seats and some kitchen cupboard doors. But then I can't imagine many people would want to buy it either way, so does it get scrapped? I have to replace both side walls as it is.
Post by minicamper on Dec 24, 2007 10:48:02 GMT 10
My apologies, I didn't go back to my original post after it being there a few days.
The rego sticker in the window is actually a compliance plate for the fitment of electric light and 1 power point. The diamond aluminium cladding must have been original as the side walls are 15mm thick ply but the front is only 3mm behind the aluminium and was never painted or sealed There was some sort of canvas like material, called caralastic on some joins and at the door frame.
The original hitch is no longer after a meeting with my grinder. It just wasn't practical to leave it on for any sort of towing vehicle other than a truck.
Post by Don Ricardo on Dec 24, 2007 17:22:06 GMT 10
Hi again Chris,
No, "functional" wasn't meant to put your van in the same class as Reddo's Fugly - could any other van be placed in the same category as that? I was more referring to the 'no nonsense, no silly curves' style used for commercial and government vans. I still can't find a word to describe what I mean except 'functional'. If you look at the later Gason government vans under Down History Lane, you will see what I mean. They are not dissimilar in design to yours.
You comment that your van was originally red. Maybe that indicates that it was a PMG (Post Master General's Department) van. I think their livery was red on their vehicles. (That's before they became Telecom - then Telstra - with funky orange livery.)
On the question of whether to save your van, I reckon you should. Vans built for commercial/government purposes are part of Australia's touring heritage and were an important source of revenue for some caravan makers. Because they were heavily used, and spent a lot of time out in the elements, a lot - maybe almost all - of the commercial/government caravans have gone to the scrap heap, so a chance to save one as an example is worth doing.
If I'd known you were going to take the original coupling off the van, I probably would have mounted an argument for keeping that intact as well!! The couplings are as much a part of the heritage as the rest of the vans. It may be awkward to store, but if you still have the coupling I'd suggest that you hang on to it. Maybe one day it can go into Mark T's caravan museum! (That's a serious suggestion.) In the meantime it would be good to post a copy of the picture of the coupling under the 'Old Tow Couplings' thread on page 2 of the Technical Stuff section, if you are so inclined.
All very well for me to make loud noises about what I think you should do! I notice I'm not offering to take the van off your hands to do it up... ;D ;D ;D
As for the coupling it had to go only in that I couldn't see how I could tow the van with a car. I still have the coupling and it was just cut off at the weld so easy to replace if necessary. I'm currnetly on 3 weeks leave and got bored, so I started to repair it. Getting full size sheets of ply wasn't going to happen so i'm doing it with two large sheets and a join. I also started to paint strip as i think the aluminium looks nicer when clean and bright than painted. Sides are going to be white with a 50's coloured stripe down the side over the join.
Post by minicamper on Dec 28, 2007 18:26:56 GMT 10
Ok, so after a couple of days I've managed to return the (now comfirmed) CRB van back to this:
In the process I started with 2 litres of paint stripper and a pressure washer to get to this:
Along the way, i had to remove the single bed to allow for two seats and table/come bed, and discovered another of the Highway caravan badges as pictured above and also worked out that whatever they had been storing underneathe was the cause of the unusual rotten/mechanical smell in the floor. I also discovered several vintage Winchester shotgun cartridge boxes (the outer cartons) in perfect condition. I wonder if any nut on ebay collects Winchesteralia?....
Hey Don, You were spot on about the CRB link! As i decided to make use of some of the ply still good enough, i had to strip paint. Under the green, beige, yellow, cream, bright yellow i found more of the original red painted onto some sort of canvas coating on the ply. I'm running the pressure washer over the bubbled paint and lo and behold numbers started to appear, just like in the photos I put the vic Library link to, being 4B - 212. In degunking, i also found a CRB plate on the chassis.
Hey Chris Are you going to take an impression of that number on the side wall before you cover it up and repeat it on the new cladding?? Would you repaint it in whatever the original colour was, for authenticity? Ray
Col, I think you should be known as keen eye kaybee, yes it is indeed my little Standard 8 Tourer. Most people don't know what it is, let alone even heard of Standard. Why do you ask?
Ray, no I didn't get an impression. Just took a pic for posterity. As for the colour, hmmm, NO. As far as i can tell the colour schemes over the years were : Red first, then BRIGHT yellow, then more of a cream, then beige, then the green you see here.
Authenticity wasn't entering into it as I am changing it to be a useable two berth, rather than the original single. I have a few bits of "history" i found, makers plates, gas service cards, typed instructions etc.
The van got named the "Skanky Van" as it was a little on the nose and not very pretty so I'm going polished aluminium, white sides with maybe a yellow waist line over the joins (one always needs a hint of colour!) and grey vinyl floor, pink ice counters, grey ice table, white interior with light grey cupboard doors.... I think....
Geez you guys know how to cheer a fellow up. I'm the 4th owner of the little Standard 8. Have most of the original registration records, books and parts for the car too. Unfortunately she barely has enough power to pull herself along, so a VV behind is not going to happen....
seeing we are taking about standards........one stage in my life had a 3 door 1928 tourer no driver door as the gate change gear stick was where the door should have been then I seen the light and switch to chevs ......the standard got sold to a bloke up mildura this standard was a large car ....like the fords, chevs,dodges ,etc of the late 20s