Manufactured by Ernest and John Nash 117 Gipps Street, Drumoyne, NSW Factory: Bibby Street, Chiswick, NSWOver the years there have been several separate and independent manufacturers who have produced caravans under the 'Rambler' brandname. These include caravan manufacturers located in:
New South Wales (this thread) Glen Iris in Victoria from 1947 to approx 1952 - click here Preston in Victoria from 1966 onwards - click here
In addition, several other caravan manufacturers have also used the 'Rambler' name for some models or some of their vans.
Don Ricardo Hi all,
Before I clog up the Down History Lane section with something that may not go anywhere, has anybody out there heard of "Nash Caravans". A chap I met in the caravan park here in Inverell said he used to knock around with a bloke in the mid 50's whose father (surname Nash) made caravans up until 1961 when he died at the time of a credit squeeze. He was a furniture maker and made the caravans in Chiswick in Sydney and he used to tow his van with a Vanguard.
Apparently the vans were called "Nash" or "Nash Ramblers".
Last Edit: Oct 10, 2016 10:12:14 GMT 10 by Don Ricardo: Incorrect details regarding Ernest Nash's life deleted.
Alcohol may not solve your problems, but neither will water or milk
Gidday Daggsey, Nash caravans do exist in New Zealand and also in the US as Nash Travel Trailers, they could be one in the same (just imported from US to NZ). I cant find anything in AUS using google or yahoo. Of course that don't mean starf awl given I cant find anything on ambassador caravans on the net either (other than Viscount Ambassador). Maybe someone from the Sydney area may know something or someone who does???
I was starting to think this might have been an urban myth. I'd never even heard of Chiswick in Sydney for a start (and I lived in Sydney in the 70's for 5 years), but having just Googled it, it is near Abbotsford on the Parramatta River, quite close to the city. And if this is where this man supposedly built caravans, I'm assuming that that is/was probably an industrial or commercial area.
I suppose if we work backwards, maybe somebody old enough can remember if there was a credit squeeze in 1961? I was 8 at the time, so fiscal circumstances of the nation didn't really feature highly in my life at that stage.
Alcohol may not solve your problems, but neither will water or milk
Post by Don Ricardo on Jun 25, 2008 22:39:38 GMT 10
Indeed there was a credit squeeze in 1961. I am only a couple of years ahead of you, but I can remember my parents talking about it - and Google confirms it!! (It must be true then. ;D ;D ;D)
I certainly wouldn't discount the story about Nash caravans. Various people have been posting since 2005 about the possibility of there having been a Windmill caravan without any confirmation one way or another. Then a couple of weeks ago Wolf was able to provide information about Windmills, where they were made, when, and by whom. Who would have thought? So when it comes to V V's, I think it pays never to regard a story like the one you heard as being just a tall story.
Quite possibly your post on Nashes is the beginning of a whole new chapter in V V history.
Thanks for the feedback Don Ricardo on the credit squeeze of 1961. At least that little bit of info marries in with the story.
Got a bit more info. on these "Nash" vans. The chap's name was Ernie Nash and the son was/is Ray Nash and he would be about 64 now. The chap in Inverell who was mates with Ray hasn't heard from him in a long time and is not even sure where he lives. There was apparently an older brother called John who had caryards somewhere in Sydney.
Because of the "Nash Rambler" car that was around at the time (as alluded to by rfw), my source tells me that the caravans may have even just been called "Ramblers". He believes they were bondwood sides with aluminium front & back.
Being that the father was a furniture maker would indicate to me that if these vans were manufactured, they probably were constructed using timber.
Anyway, thought it was an interesting yarn and it might inspire someone to sleuth further or even jog someone's memory.
Alcohol may not solve your problems, but neither will water or milk
Rambler caravans certainly get a mention in the Sydney Morning Herald archives...
Saturday, 19 October 1957..."Rambler caravan, complete or shell only. Hire and Sales. Tele WY3866, WY1281." [no address given]
Saturday, 18 January 1958..."Hire and Sale. Lux 4 berth Rambler vans. WY1281, WY3866." [no address given]
Note in the following adverts, the spelling is shown as "Nash Ramble", not 'Rambler'...
Saturday, 30 April 1960..."Caravan shells, 11ft 2in x 6ft 8in, or 13ft x 6ft 10in. Latest bow shaped fronts, [can't read] opening windows, large hatch, etc. At Factory To You Prices. No retail mark-up. Nash Ramble Caravans. Inquiries 117 Gipps St.,... [can't see rest of advert]"
Saturday, 14 May 1960..."Caravan Shells, fitted Shells, you-make-it kits, completed Caravans. These modern vans have 6 opening windows, large hatch, 2-piece door, made of Rescote. Nash Ramble Caravans. Inquiries 117 Gipps..."
Saturday, 21 May 1960..."CARAVANS, Nash RAMBLE Caravans, invite you to see their Semi finished 11ft 2in x 6ft 8in and 13ft x 6ft 10in American shaped luxurious caravans. [Pounds] 395. Also You Make It kits. Shells and..."
Saturday, 4 June 1960..."CARAVANS: Nash Ramble Caravans invite you to see their semi-finished luxurious Caravans. made of Plasply. American shaped fronts. large wardrobe. kitchen unit with large ice chest. aluminium cook..."
There is a 117 Gipps St listed on www.whereis.com at Drummoyne, which is about 2 kms from Five Dock. A month later this advert appears...
Saturday, 2 July 1960..."CARAVANS, Nash Ramble Caravans and Shells, etc, can now be purchased on low deposit from All Cars Service Station, 5 Parramatta Rd., Five Dock. UA7989."
By September 1960, Nash Ramble were advertising vans at 9ft, 10ft, 11ft, 13ft, and 14ft as semi-finished shells or complete. Available from the Five Dock outlet. Qualicraft windows were also advertising during 1960 and listing Nash Ramble among the many van manufacturers who were using this brand of aluminium window.
So there you have it. Seems like the Nash Ramble vans were quite luxurious and distinctive shaped vans. Haven't looked at the archives beyond 1960, so don't know any later history.
Footnote to cobber: Interesting mentions about Rescote and Plasply back in those years.
ps. also discovered on 20 August 1960..."INSPECT NEW ALUMINIUM WINDCUTTERS WITH FIBREGLASS ROOF AND HYDRAULIC BRAKES. Four new models on display..." [not only do we need to look for 'Windmill' vans, now we need to look for 'Windcutter' ones as well! ]
Never ends...does it!?
cheers, Al. (pps. wonder what these Nash Ramble vans would be worth second hand?? [SLAP!...Shaddup!!] ;D ;D
From the first advert relating to the Five Dock outlet in July 1960, the name is spelt 'Nash Rambler'. A further advert appears later in 1963 (Saturday, 25 May) relating to the Five Dock outlet and still showing the name as Nash Rambler. After May 1963 there are no further adverts about them showing (up to the end of 1970).
So, it looks like we can go either way: 'Nash Ramble' or 'Nash Rambler'
Hi in regards to information on nash rambler vans they where built by my grandfather who died of heart attack age 48 (not suicide*) and my father John Nash in a factory in Debby St Chiswick. The vans where actually called nash ramble due to the name nash rambler cars already existing. My father tells me that they put that much detail into vans that they couldn't cover their costs. Note: * This is a reference to a statement made in error in an earlier post which has been deleted. Don Ricardo
Post by Don Ricardo on Jun 11, 2012 22:59:05 GMT 10
Welcome to the forum. It's fantastic when someone comes on to the forum and tells us about their family's involvement in the caravan industry, as you have done about your grandfather and father.
On behalf of all of us who have posted on this thread I apologise for the incorrect information that was posted about your grandfather's death. I trust that it has not caused too much distress for your father and other members of your family. As I am sure you'll understand the information posted at the beginning of this post was received during a chance encounter by a forum member who posted it in good faith. However, it is good to have the record corrected.
I was interested to read your comment that the vans were called 'Nash Rambles' which makes sense of some of the info reported by Franklin1. I have amended the title of this thread accordingly.
One of the things that has intrigued me from the advertisements quoted by Franklin1 is that the Nash Ramble vans had "American shaped fronts". Are you able to tell us what that meant? Does your father have any photos of the vans he built?
Post by Don Ricardo on Oct 8, 2016 17:44:17 GMT 10
While investigating the background of another caravan brand using www.newspapers.com recently, I came across references to Rambler caravans. Some time ago we worked out that several caravan manufacturing firms or retailers sold caravans under the Rambler brand name. It turns out that there were are least three - one in New South Wales and two in Victoria (the latter in different decades) - see the post at the top of this thread which I have updated. In addition, it seems that one or two other caravan manufacturers also used Rambler as a model name for some of their caravans.
This thread is about the NSW Rambler caravans, which were built by Ernest Nash and one or more of his sons. Franklin1 posted some information about the history of the Nashes' Rambler caravans here, and this was supplemented by information provided by Ernest Nash's grandson Darren (Darren40) here. Looking at advertisements for Rambler caravans in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) from the 50's and 60's helps to fill out the picture about the Nashes' caravans further. An intriguing aspect of the history of the Nashes' vans, as we know from Franklin1's post above, is that at different times they were branded 'Rambler', 'Nash Rambler' and 'Nash Ramble'.
We don't know when Ernest Nash and his son(s) began building caravans, but the first advert I could find for Rambler caravans in the SMH appeared in October 1957. It was a pretty minimalist advert, stating simply that Ramblers were available complete or as shells, and for sale or hire:
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 19 October 1957, page 32)
Adverts for Rambler vans were placed in the SMH through 1958, and in September 1959, the following advert advised that Ramblers were 12 ft 6 in in length, clad in Plasply and incorporated 'plenty of laminex' - obviously a significant selling point around that time. It also listed Rambler Caravans as being located at 117 Gipps Street, Drummoyne:
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 12 September 1959, page 41)
In November 1959 an advert indicated that Rambler caravans were also available in a 10 ft 6 in size, and that in addition to their Drummoyne address, the Rambler factory was located in 'Bebby' Street, Chiswick. Darren40 posted that the factory was in 'Debby Street', but 'Bebby' and 'Debby' are references to Bibby Street in Chiswick (corrected in some but not all later adverts):
(Source: SMH, Wednesday, 25 November 1959, p 40)
In February 1960, an advert indicated that the 10 ft 6 in and 12 ft 6 in vans had apparently been lengthened by 6 inches to 11 ft and 13 ft respectively, the cladding was now Rescote, and there were six opening windows. Significantly the brand name for the Nashes' caravans was now advertised as 'Nash Ramble':
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 27 February 1960, page 42)
Darren40 told us in his post that his grandfather introduced the name 'Nash Ramble' because 'Nash Rambler' was already used for the American Nash Rambler automobiles.
The following month, an advert refers to the smaller van now being 11 ft 2 in, clad in Rescote, having metal windows (previously timber window frames, or merely contrasting it with vans from other manufacturers?), and having the 'latest American front':
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 26 March 1960, page 44)
We have previously speculated on this thread what the 'latest American front' - or in other adverts 'American shaped' - might have looked like. A June 1960 advert tells us that the Nash Ramble caravan was now clad in 'Plasply and aluminium', but also that it had a 'Bow-front':
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 11 June 1960, page 48)
So, it would appear that an 'American front' meant 'bow-front'. That could mean that the front was rounded, or that it had an angled front, as in the bow of a boat. Either way the Nash Rambles would have looked different to most other caravans being produced in Australia at the time.
An advert later in June 1960 tells us about the fit out of the caravans. The 11 ft van is now described as being 11 ft 9 in:
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 25 June 1960, page 42)
In July 1960, an advert indicated a couple of interesting developments:
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 30 July 1960, page 42)
First, the caravans were referred to as 'Nash Ramblers'. You'd think this might be a typo, but numerous successive adverts referred to the vans either as 'Nash Rambles' or as 'Nash Ramblers'. It sounds like someone in the advertising department didn't get the memo about the brand name! However, it strikes me as odd that if there were issues (perhaps legal?) about using the 'Nash Rambler' name because of the automobiles with the same name as Darren40 told us, that the Nashes weren't quite particular about ensuring that the name was correct in advertisements. I gather from Darren40's post, that the signage on the vans (if any) would have stated 'Nash Ramble'.
Names aside, the second development was the establishment of a 'sales division' at the Allcars Service Station in Fivedock. Later advertisements for Nash Ramble(r)s mostly listed either just the Fivedock address or the Drummoyne/Chiswick addresses.
An advert for the Fivedock address in August 1960 tells us that Nash Ramblers were now built in three sizes - 10 ft 6 in, 11 ft 2 in and 13 ft 7 in...
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 13 August 1960, page 55)
...and then a month later, in September 1960, we learn that they could be had in five sizes - 9 ft, 10 ft, 11 ft, 13 ft and 14 ft:
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 17 September 1960, page 40)
We learn more about the Nash Ramble 'metal windows' from a Qualicraft advert in August 1960 which lists 'Nash Ramble' as one of the many manufacturers that use their aluminium framed windows:
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 20 August 1960, page 42)
(As an interesting aside, the advert seems to indicate that Qualicraft was co-located with Tennyson caravans in Greenacre. And it refers to 'Carinya' caravans, which I haven't heard of, and can't find anything about. Any clues anyone?)
The Nashes' caravans continued to be advertised through 1960 and 1961. For example this advert from April 1960 tells us that the 10 ft Nash Rambler was suitable for towing by a Volkswagen, Morris or Austin...
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 15 April 1961, page 34)
...and this advert from May 1960 for Nash Ramble caravans refers to models from 10 ft 4 in to 14 ft:
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 27 May 1960, page 36)
It would appear that whoever arranged the adverts sometimes referred to the length of the vans in rounded terms, and sometimes in more precise terms.
We have been told by Daggsey and Darren40 above that Ernest Nash died in 1961 of a heart attack, and Daggsey wrote that he was told that production of vans ceased at that time, but it appears that the firm continued production for a little time after that. In June 1962, this advert appeared for Nash Ramble, also listing that the vans could also be viewed at Croydon Caravan Sales, which may have been acting as an agent for the Nashes:
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 23 June 1962, page 30)
And the following week, an advert was placed for Nash Rambler - just to keep the dual identity issue running:
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 30 June 1962, page 37)
These are the last adverts that I can find that appear to have been placed by the Nash Ramble(r) firm itself, and may possibly be an indicator that production finished at the end of the financial year on 30 June 1962. As Franklin1 had written above, there were a couple of adverts for Nash Rambler caravans in 1963, such as this one from May 1963:
(Source: SMH, Saturday, 25 May 1963, page 49)
However, this advert and the others in 1963 read to me like they're for a final clearance sale of demonstrators or similar. There is no mention of 'Nash Rambler Caravans' or Allcars Service Station, although the address belonged to Allcars Service Station.
It is interesting to note that 5 Parramatta Road, Fivedock, is still a car sales business. Daggsey told us that John Nash, Darren40's father, had a car sales yard, and I wonder if All Cars Service Station may not have been John's business, from where he also sold Nash Ramble(r) caravans? If Darren40 comes back on to the forum he may be able to tell us whether or not that is correct, and perhaps fill in some of the gaps in the Nash Ramble(r) history.
Regrettably no Nash Ramble(r) caravans have appeared on the forum, or at least not that we have recognised. I would still like to see the American shaped, bow-fronted caravans that the Nashes built.
Hi my name is Paul and i live in Christchurch New Zealand and i have just purchased an old caravan in poor shape .It has the word Rambler in raised script on the fibreglass front,fibreglass lantern style roof with vent,alloy sides and teardrop rear. Its about 13 or 14 feet long, alloy opening windows on sides and 2 separate windows front and rear [non opening].kitchen unit is across front and has a wardrobe the rest is gutted out.Interestingly it has polystyrene in walls. I can get photos when i get it home,Could it be Nash Rambler? its late 50s early 60s style.
Post by Don Ricardo on Dec 5, 2019 21:56:50 GMT 10
Thanks for your post and welcome to the forum. We are always pleased to hear from vintage vanners around the world, most especially if they might have a piece belonging to one of our vintage van jigsaw puzzles! Your post is especially intriguing.
It is hard to tell whether your van might be a Nash Ramble(r) just from your description. However, if we see some photos we might be able to work out whether it’s a van built by Ernest Nash.
There are instructions on how to post photos here. If you have any trouble posting your photos let me know and I’ll try and help you, or you can email the photos to me and I’ll post them for you.
I’m looking forward to seeing some pics of your van. It sounds like a really interesting caravan.
Post by Don Ricardo on Dec 9, 2019 15:15:06 GMT 10
I'm glad to hear you've been able to identify your caravan. There's some history on Zephyr caravans in the book 'Vantastic' written by Chris Hunter if you can get hold of a copy; it's a history of caravans in New Zealand. There's no mention specifically of the Rambler model, but you may still be interested in the broader history of Zephyr. Zephyr eventually became part of the Modern Caravans group, which you may be familiar with?
It would be great to see some photos of your van. To post photos on the forum, you need to do it via an online photo storage website such as Flickr or Postimage. There are instructions on how to do it here. It takes a little bit of working out, but it soon becomes something you can do without thinking about. If you'd rather, the offer still stands for you to email the photos to me, and I'll happily post them for you. My email address is email@example.com
As I said, it will be really excellent to see your van. It sounds like it's got some interesting design features.