Manufactured at Edgeworth, NSW Escort caravans - History:
Escort caravans were started in Sydney by Bill Hobson, a former caravan production engineer. The demand for small caravans was growing every week, with many retired people or young couples wanting a van they could tow behind a small car. Bill recognised this need and started production of a lightweight van to suit the small family.
Production commenced around 1968, with the initial vans being 10ft 6ins in length. A 13ft van was then added to the range. Escorts were sold through the Carapark dealership in Sydney, as well as through Castle Caravans in outer Sydney. The Escort brand appears to have been discontinued around 1975.
An Escort van sold through the Castle Caravans dealership is likely to have a Castle badge on the rear saying it was sold by them.
At this stage it is not known where the Escort factory was actually located, but it seems to have been somewhere in Sydney.
1969 (approx) Escort 13ft van: This van was listed on ebay in May 2009. On the basis that by 1969 the majority of manufacturers (if not all) had switched to white painted "acrylic" aluminium cladding on the outside, this Escort would probably be one of the last ones made in plain aluminium before the switch.
Post by Don Ricardo on Nov 2, 2010 20:51:42 GMT 10
1968 Escort owned by O'Beirnes and seen at the 2010 Vintage Caravan Nationals in Mildura:
This van seems to be a smaller version of the van shown in the post immediately above, and may be similar to the 10 ft 6 in van which was the first produced by Escort (see the post commencing this thread).
Hopefully, Im posting this in the right spot!! Heres a pic of my little Escort van. I have posted others in the for sale/wanted section and hope that the pictures are of some value to you..safe travelling. regards Wanda
I have found an electrical compliance document for my Escort van that was issued before it went to "VADO Vans" - caravan hire service, 263 Warners Bay rd, mount Hutton. The certificate was issued by Shortland County Council on 3.11.66. So am assuming that it had to be certified before it could be hired out. Therefor the production date of this van was in 1966 if not 1965. I will post a copy of this certificate shortly... bit pressed for time right now. cheers Wanda
Post by Don Ricardo on Jun 19, 2013 22:12:03 GMT 10
Thanks for posting that bit of information about your Escort. That's the sort of information which can be really helpful in dating a van and will help others as much as it has helped you.
Of course it's not necessarily 100% proof of build date, because it could be that a van was re-inspected at some time after it was originally built and/or registered. But I think in your case, that it probably is a pretty direct indication of build date because the date of the certificate seems to match the design and construction of the van.
Hi other ESCORT van owners. I have attached a picture of the little 10ft van"Artie" that I purchased recently. It is in very good condition but in need of the cosmetic surgery. Can't wait to get started. Any advice with regards to making sure its safe is most welcome as I am new to caravaning. I too would like to try and find out its age so any pointers welcome too. Cheers and hope to see you on the road. Bec
Finally have the photo bucket thingo happening!! Here's the compliance certificate that I located way inside a cupboard. Note inspection date: I think its 2/11/66 ? This caravan was apparently a holiday rental van. For interest a few yrs later it seems there was a deposit of $20.00 required and a fee of $2.00 for cleaning if the van was found returned unsatisfactory (wish some one would clean for me for $2.00)
Post by King Fisher on Feb 1, 2014 12:36:36 GMT 10
Interesting that the power points were only certified to 1000 watts. Not enough to run a heater, a toaster or even a kettle. Basically the power point would have only been good for light loads like a shaver, radio or fan. That realy must make us think about what is a safe load on the electrical points in these old vans. Considering our modern appliances can be very watt hungry...
Hi everybody.My father built Escort caravans back in the early 70s until 1978.Escort caravans were built at Edgeworth near Newcastle. I can remember going there as a young boy. He also worked at Carapark in Mayfield Newcastle. After Bill died and Escort wound up he whent to work at Goninans fitting out the new Double Deck trains for Sydney. There were a couple of other blokes that went as well. Dad is now approaching his 80s and has very fond memories of working at Escort.
Post by shesgotthelook on Aug 24, 2014 21:24:46 GMT 10
Hi Qualey, that's very interesting. You say your Dad worked there in the 70's, possibly our sister forum 'classic caravans' would love to hear from you & see any memorabilia or technical info your dad may have. The Carapark chapter would pique a lot of peoples interest on here too. there are always gaps in the history of all these caravans so any first hand knowledge is much appreciated. Cheers, SGTL
Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 24, 2014 22:52:33 GMT 10
Welcome to the forum. It's great to hear from you. We love it when those involved in building vintage and classic era caravans - or their family members, like you - come on to the forum and share their experiences with us. So often they are able to tell us things we didn't know about the particular manufacturer they worked for, or about the manufacturing process. We'll be glad to hear anything you and your father can tell us about Escort vans, and his role in building them.
A couple of questions your father may be able to help us with:
Was Franklin1 correct when he said higher up on this thread that Escort began building caravans in around 1968? You'll note that Wanda's caravan had a certificate in it dated 1966, which suggests an earlier starting date. (I realise from what you said that your father wasn't there at the beginning, so he may not be able to answer that question.)
Do you know if Escort vans were always built in Edgeworth, or did they begin building in Sydney, as Franklin1 suggested, then move to Edgeworth?
You said that your father worked at Escort until 1978. Was that the year that Bill Hobson died, and Escort wound up? (I think that's what you're meaning, but I just want to make sure I am understanding correctly.)
I have just purchased an Escort 10.5 the rego papers say 1978.it is screwed not riveted but the screws are phillips head screws . I pick it up on the weekend,so will investigate if it's wood or ally frame.And it is 4 stud 13" rims...hmmmm.
The windows are the old slide type things not wind out ,..so still unsure of vintage (previous owners "only" had it for twenty years). but on viewing the vans on this thread ours has "little" extras...