Post by Don Ricardo on May 15, 2009 23:47:56 GMT 10
Land Cruiser caravans
Manufactured by Caravan Construction and Hire Pty Ltd 192-204 Point Nepean Road, Gardenvale, Vic Quote from 'On the Trail: Motoring Holidays in Australia' by Keith Winser (1956), p. 194:
"In Melbourne, Mr F. C. Heber started building Landcruisers in the eary thirties, and even formed the first caravan club there."
Heber's company apparently operated from the early 30's through to at least 1937 and beyond, but possibly did not survive WW2. He produced a range of caravans ranging from 12 ft to 16 ft in size, and 4 and 6-berth. Some caravans featured a lantern roof, while others had a conventional hatch. The range also included a teardrop model. (Source: www.ourtouringpast.com )
To view a wonderfully detailed and illustrated late 30's brochure for Land Cruiser caravans on the Our Touring Past website, click here.
Thanks for the link to that interesting brochure Don R. When you read the optimism expressed in that brochure for the future of the caravan industry you have to wonder why that firm ceased to produce them........ something to do with WW2 most likely.
I've looked hard at the photos contained in that Brochure Geoff and can't see any similarities between Ol' 36 and any of the "Land Cruiser" Caravans.......... but who's to say
How the heck did you remember we had that leaflet and then make the connection with the “Land Cruiser”. ...... great memory obviously
A couple of other photos of the “Land Cruiser” Royal model have surfaced. This first one was taken out the front of their factory at 192-204 Point Nepean Road Gardenvale Victoria .... I believe that is now known as Nepean Highway .
I have been told that the two “Tear Drops” were not made by Land Cruiser but were owned by two people passing by the factory who stopped to look at the Land Cruiser..... the opportunity was there for this photo to be taken.
You would have noticed that the door on the 'van in the photo above is on the right hand side of the 'van .... the photo below is again of “The Royal” model but I am unable to see clearly whether the door is still on the drivers side, if it isn't it raises some interesting questions.... I'll leave you to ask the questions ... and provide the answers .
And here is a pamplet from 1937 showing the interior of "The Duchess" model.
One of the most attractive exhibits at the Show is a Land Cruiser manufactured by Caravan Constructions Pty Ltd This caravan is a luxurious "travelling flat" with accommodation for four people The beautifully finished interior is panelled in Australian woods A radio set is built in on the front panel with a barometer on one side and a clock on the other. All the windows are provided with opening glass and flywire.
The caravan is so thoughtfully planned that there is still ample room to walk about, although no fitting which could make a tour more comfortable has been excluded.
There is ample lighting for all purposes from the windows, or from the various combinations of electric lights.
The accompanying photograph shows the stove and sink, with the kitchen cupboard accommodation, and the dining al- cove at the back. Although the caravan is very solidly built, it can be towed behind an ordinary touring car. Sorry there's no transcription service for the photograph!! ;D ;D ;D
To cater for the increasing demand for caravans a large store and showroom building will be erected in Point Nepean road, near North road, Gardenvale, for Caravan Construction and Hire Co. Pty. Ltd. The company recently bought the old Brighton market building opposite for more than £ 4,000. and is using it as a factory.
The new building will have large show windows fronting Point Nepean road.
The architects for the work are W. and B. Butler, of William street.
This drew the comment (in reply # 11 of the Romany Road thread) from Don R that the 'vans shown in the photo looked more like “Land Cruiser” 'vans than they do of the Romany Road caravans we know of at this point in time.
Post by Don Ricardo on May 30, 2011 14:02:31 GMT 10
I've had a look at this photo before. You may be right, but something doesn't sit quite right with me in terms of the proportions, the slope of the roof, and the lack of the window at the front of the off-side of the van.
However, the photo was apparently taken in Melbourne, so its reasonable to think that it is a Victorian-built van. A reasonably large one at that.
Check out the gas producer! Glad we don't have to deal with that these days. I've heard stories about the gas producer my father had on his car during the war. Temperamental blighters I gather. Of course these days they would be electronic, and the size of a small kettle! ;D ;D ;D
One other thing that occurs to from this photo, and that is regarding the size of caravans. My observation is that vans in the 30's were often pretty big - 14ft or 16 ft. During the 40's and 50's the average van was smaller - 10ft to 12ft - probably reflecting that the typical tow car at that point was smaller with less towing capacity. Probably a function of what people could afford as well. In the 60's vans began to grow in size again, until the modern era when a 16ft or 18ft van is regarded as small (although there are some smaller ones around). Any comments?
I jumped to the conclusion that it could be a Land Cruiser “Regent” because of the similarities with the one on the brochure in reply #4 of this thread......flat front....centre of roof raised ... and two roof hatches sticking up. Haven't seen photos of two hatches open on a “Regent” but it was a feature of the “Victory” model as shown in this photo so maybe they also used them on the “Regent”
The only photos I've seen of the off side of the “Regent” is this one of Mark T's and it only has a window at the rear and....... that looks like a window in the rear of this van behind the bloke's head on the left of the photo.
The only thing that worries me is that the “lantern roof” extends a bit too far forward and the proportions do look a bit different Anyway...... I only called it a Land Cruiser just to make you put your thinking cap on
And I'm not too sure this one is a Land Cruiser either .
As to your thoughts regarding the size of 'vans at different decades, I think you're close, it's all to do with the available tow cars in general use at the time..... but it's a generalisation anyway.
Post by Don Ricardo on May 30, 2011 23:17:32 GMT 10
Hi Mark and Cobber,
Mark: As far as I can see the Land Cruiser Regent, which Cobber mentioned, is a (much) larger van than yours. It has a full window between the door and the front of the van on the near side, as well as a greater distance between the door and the back window. It also has two windows on the off side, which yours doesn't.
Yours is 12 ft long, so I guess the Astor was the Regent's little bro/sis? Where did you get the model name of Astor from? I can't find a reference to it other than your comment on your Land Cruiser thread saying you van is believed to be a 12 ft Astor. I'm not disagreeing with you mind, just interested as to whether you have some further info about the different Land Cruiser models.
Later addendum: I just saw the 1937 Land Cruiser advert higher up this thread which mentions the 12ft Astor. All is now clear!
Cobber: It looks to me as if the caravan in the last link you provided ("And I'm not too sure this one is a Land Cruiser either") is the same model of Land Cruiser as Mark's. Check out the length of the door which is extended at the bottom to allow for the internal step.
It does get confusing for an old bloke, It would appear that Fred Heber did a bit of fiddling with the details of his design. The Land Cruiser brochure does state that "Land Cruiser models are obtainable in various styles to suit out clients' requirements,
Marks van appears to have a roof with a straight line across the front and the front window about six inches below that roof line. The one I had doubts about has a slightly curved roof line with the window much lower.
But as you say the door looks similar and looking hard at the tow coupling (which is not clearly visible) it does appear to be the shonky Land Cruiser coupling.
But reverting to the photo I posted at the top of this page, and taking into account the above sentence from the brochure, I still think it maybe could possibly be similar to in some respects a caravan that might be a "Land Cruiser"
Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 17, 2014 16:26:14 GMT 10
Afternoon V V history buffs,
Back in 2010 and 2011 there was a bit of excitement when Mark T was put on the trail of, and eventually acquired a 1930's Land Cruiser Astor caravan. It is an important van because at this point it is the only known example of a Land Cruiser caravan. As recounted on this thread, Land Cruiser was one of the more significant pioneer caravan brands in Victoria during the 30's. Despite the excitement of Mark T's find at the time and a little bit of related comment above, no photos of the van were posted on this thread. The purpose of this thread is to redress that...
Front view with Noblesgarage inspecting the coupling:
A side view showing the lower floorline in the doorway which incorporates an internal step:
Door open showing internal step (with Tucky29 displaying one of the items of clothing found in the van):
Rear window showing leadlight pattern:
Knurled knob for stabiliser legs:
Part of timber chassis:
Safety wheels at rear:
Interior showing part of lantern roof:
Part of rear:
The manufacturers plate showing serial number 26 76:
We don't know whether Land Cruiser numbered their vans sequentially irrespective of model, or numbered each model separately. However, an advert published above indicates that the Astor was one of Land Cruiser's new 1937 models. That suggests that Mark T's van can be no older than 1937, but it seems unlikely that Land Cruiser only produced 25 75 vans prior to 1937 given their prominence in the industry in the 30's and the number of vans they apparently produced (based on how often their vans appear in contemporary camping photos).
As is probably obvious, most of the above photos were taken during the retrieval of the van. For more photos and the story of the discovery and rescue click here.
I am not sure whether Mark T has any photos of the van once it was dusted off and the cobwebs removed, but it would be good to see them if he has.
Don Ricardo ADDENDUM - October 2021: Some additional photos posted in March 2019 showing Mark T’s Land Cruiser Astor after it had been cleaned and de-cobwebbed:
ADDENDUM - March 2022: Further photos of some of the features of the Land Cruiser Astor posted by Brian N on the Vintage & Classic Caravan Collection Wagin Facebook page on 15 March 2022. The van is now part of the Wagin collection.
A clearer photo of the serial plate...
...and the pretty fancy hub caps (with non-standard Sunraysia wheels!):
From memory we have this photo posted somewhere else on the forum with the suggestion that it may be an English van. However, it is identified here quite clearly as a Land Cruiser. Note that the photograph was taken at the Jubilee Motor Show which was held at the Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne the same week as this edition of the The Australasian was produced.
By the shape and style, I think this Land Cruiser caravan is probably an earlier model than any of the others shown in photographs on this thread. As such it may be among the first produced by F C Heber's Caravan Construction and Hire company. A couple of news/promotional items which were obviously based on photos from the same photo shoot and featuring a Land Cruiser 'Royal' model being towed by an Oldsmobile Six - first a photo and a comment published in Table Talk on Thursday, 24 June 1937 (pages 36 & 37):