For a list of Clipper caravan models in estimated date order based on current information click here. It appears that over the years there have been several manufacturers who have produced caravans under the 'Clipper' brandname. These include caravan manufacturers located in:
Clipper Caravans. This advertisment from the “Caravan & Touring Manual" of 1959 shows two of the “Clipper” caravans... one built in S.A. The other built in N.S.W. The N.S.W. One was only available as the “Consul” model in a length of 9'6”
The S.A. “Clipper” came in six different models in a length of either 12ft or 15ft priced from £585 to £785 The 12ft “Cadet” model could be had with either Bondwood or Aluminium exterior cladding and likewise for the 15ft “Commodore” model. There was also a “Contemporary” model at 15'6” and a “Tandem” model at 15ft... both in Bondwood.
Post by Don Ricardo on Sept 17, 2008 21:30:57 GMT 10
1955 South Australian Clipper caravan advertised on Ebay, September 2008:
1955 "Clipper" Bondwood Caravan. Totally Original - we have had this caravan for approximately 4 years and we are the 2nd owners. It has 2 iceboxes and a meatsafe (no fridge). It doesn't have the metho cooker - didnt have it when we bought it. It has a pump tap with the sink. It still has the original pull down blinds with the rings although 2 rings have come away from the blinds, we have them. As you can see the cupboards inside are immaculate. Not a scratch or chip and the paintwork is fantastic. We have had all the upholsterey remade (never used). The dining table folds out. It sleeps two people. All windows and roof vents are in working order. It has rare port hole windows at the front that open. The exterior needs minor attention. The paint is flaking at the front and back and there is a crack above the door. It has 12 volt and 240 volt. We have the original paperwork from the Electricity Trust of South Australia when it was transferred from 12v. It was last registered in 1968 - cost $4.55! We are unsure of the towing electrics but we have towed it. We bought the van from a Farmer who had it built to tow behind his 1955 Landrover, hence it has Landrover Rims (bigger than 14 inch). This caravan still has the original manufacturers badge "Clipper Caravans" 534 South Road Edwardstown phone LF1746. The dimensions are approximates: Height 2.5m., Width 2m., Length 3.5., Draw bar 1m. It is waterproof. Unregistered.
We bought it to tow behind our classic car to go to shows. We have since changed direction and it is just sitting in the shed.
Post by Don Ricardo on Oct 25, 2011 21:32:11 GMT 10
On 17 August 2011, I posed the following question to Olfarts on another unrelated thread:
Now Dave, I have a question for you...
Check out the Clipper sign on the back of this Kennedy (or is it a Franklin?), and tell me if you think the logo links this van to Clipper in South Australia. I'm interested in your opinion, and Sportsman1 if he sees this...
Just realised this van appears to have lost it's wheels. That's a bit sad.
Don Ricardo Later that day, Olfarts responded as follows:
Having owned 3 Clippers, i would say that that is identical to the SA built Clippers Ive owned.I'm sure Leigh would agree with that.
I note the van has SA plates as well.
Are you able to shed any history on it Don?
Dave Editorial note - August 2020: For more information about the history of these fibreglass van sold by Clipperclick here. Don Ricardo
Post by Don Ricardo on Jun 18, 2012 23:19:59 GMT 10
Photos of a 1958 Clipper Tandem caravan acquired by Mark T in March 2012:
The caravan was reclad in the early 70's in a typically 1970's patterned aluminium:
The van was custom ordered, and instead of having the usual set of drawers between the single beds, it had a strethcher like bed made that folds up against the wall. The table sits between the single beds to form the base for a double matress.
For further information about this van click here.
Post by rickwadrop on Mar 14, 2015 16:36:54 GMT 10
This forum and in particular the thread re Clipper Caravans (South Australia) was recently brought to my attention. I know only a little about them but thought I would pass on what I know.
My father, Don Wadrop and his partner Len Metcalf started building Clipper Caravans at Edwardstown in approximately 1950. A large block on the South Road was purchased which included an old house which we lived in for a few years. A factory was build on part of the block. He may have built a caravan or two in the backyard of his previous house as prototypes.
The partnership was dissolved and the factory and property sold in 1962 or 1963 I believe. I gather that the business was not doing too well towards the end and I remember that speedboats were sold from the showroom in an attempt to diversify I guess. I do not know the source of the speedboats.
The suggestion that the factory burnt down may be true but it would have been after 1962 and was used by a paint manufacturer at the time according to one of my sisters.
I am pretty sure that there was no connection with caravans of the same name in other states.
I remember some of the names from the S.A. caravan scene in the 1950's elsewhere in this forum. Some names may have come up at the dinner table but most were probably heard at the Caravan Club weekends which we sometimes attended - in a Clipper Caravan of course.
Post by Don Ricardo on Mar 14, 2015 20:08:12 GMT 10
It is wonderful to welcome you to the forum, and to thank you for teling us about your father Don's involvement in the caravan industry and in establishing Clipper caravans. As you will have seen from this thread we know very little about the history of Clipper, so it is fantastic to hear about your father and Len Metcalf, and the other things you mentioned. I've edited the first post on the basis of this information.
On the forum we are accutely aware that many of the people that were involved in the caravan industry in the 40's, 50's and 60's are no longer with us, and so we are really pleased when members of their families, such as you, come along to tell us a bit about them.
One question for you - as you may have read from other posts on this thread, there has been some discussion about a possible connection between Clipper and the Caravan Centre which seem to have shared the property in South Road. The Clipper brochure from Lazza posted higher up this thread states that Clipper vans were distributed by the Caravan Centre, and I have seen photos of a mid to late 50's Clipper with a Caravan Centre sticker on it. Further information about the Caravan Centre can be found by clicking here. Can you tell us anything about the relationship between the two enterprises? Were Clipper and the Caravan Centre actually the one firm, or part of the one firm, or were they two separate firms with a working relationship, or just enterprises that shared a property?
Are you able to help us answer this question? Anything you can tell us about your father and his activities is very valuable.
Post by rickwadrop on Mar 15, 2015 16:46:16 GMT 10
Unfortunately I am unable to provide any information re the relationship between the Caravan Center and Clipper Caravans. I remember nothing to indicate that another party was involved but that does not prove anything.
I have one other possible source of information - another relative - but contact will be via the post so may take some time. If I find out anything I will get back to you.
Post by sportsman 1 on Mar 16, 2015 9:14:20 GMT 10
All very interesting stuff to all of us Clipper owners - well, there is a handful of us!
Somewhere I have photos of the factory the day after the fire which I think I got from someone with a family connection to the business. I was under the impression the fire destroyed the building and it was decided not to reopen, but that may be wrong??
Post by sportsman 1 on Mar 24, 2015 8:01:44 GMT 10
CLIPPER TIMELINE (to be continued)
1952 - 57 Early shape, flat front, curved rear, roof curvature quite high. Wooden windows. Has lips under front and rear, these were to stay for the most of production.
1954 - 57? Similar shape - flat front, curved rear. Wooden windows. Only one known without the signature "lips" front and back, sharper curve at front to roof area and flatter roof curvature than other vans.
1955 First known fitment of aluminium windows, probably available for some time with either type.
1957 - 58 still original shape but 2 larger opening windows fitted to the front as well as small front corner windows now fitted, this makes the front rather busy and at first it was thought these may have been added later but subsequent pictures show others with the same treatment. Paint band on the sides changed to a ribbon style.
1959 - 61? The first advert appeared in 1959 whilst the second advert appeared in the 1960 and 1961 editions of the Winser books. This also has the 2 large front windows and small corner windows as before. The front shape appears to have changed, with a hump, or bustle now featuring. whilst the rear appears the same as the earlier versions. Also another different paint treatment on the sides.
1961 - 62? Another version, the curve on the rear seems to be flatter, whilst the window treatment at the front now has one opening window in the centre and larger corner windows.
1963 The last version, this now features the hump or bustle at front and rear, same front window treatment as previous version, fork style side stripes and for the first time they have aluminium cladding to the outside.
The above is guesswork and deductive reasoning and the dates are subject to clarification. Any further information is certainly welcome, chassis numbers will be especially useful to allow more accurate dates to be established.
Hi Here is a pics of a clipper commodore at nildottie in SA .It is beyond restoring & i have salvaged a few bits . It has 1963 on the electrical compliance sticker. Stuck my camera under hy A frame today ,my chassis No is 241 not 247 .....DonDownload Attachment
Last Edit: Mar 27, 2015 10:25:37 GMT 10 by don: Date not correct