Hi, My wife & I just recently became proud owners of what we believe is a 1959 Franklin 15 ft caravan. We have no reason to doubt this as all of the registration papers seem in order & for info the chassis number is 965C. The caravan is in excellent condition inside & just requires a light clean up externally. Please see photos below.
The cladding is secured to the frame with screws, only a few rivets have been used in its construction.
Interior view to wards rear beds.
Interior view with spare wheel under table, where it appears to have always lived.
Fridge was apparently installed in 1984, to replace cool box, & seat/bedding soft furnishings replaced with foam - capoc had all but fallen apart
Logo's both front and rear show a very faded Wanda splitting a map of Australia.
The rear light lenses are held together with silicone & a little faded. These will require replacement sometime in the future. For info they are LUCAS P/N L593 Reflex - Made in England. I have yet to track replacements down, here, the UK or in the USA. We are looking forward to many trips away, and who knows maybe around Australia one day.
Nice van you have there sure looks as if it has been well cared for .
Looks like you are going to have a lot wonderful trips and you will enjoy the way other campers will gravitate to you van, talk about old times when they went camping in a van like yours or one similar.
The lay out of your van is much the same as my 1967 "Franklin Freeway" with the exception you have a cupboard over the dinette just inside the door. I love the colour scheme , mine has timber tone on all cupboard doors.
Are there any signs inside of water leaking in , if so I would recommend some further investigation is required as your van would have a wooden frame. Lot of old vans over the years have succumbed to wood rot due to water leaks.
As "Franklin 1" once quoted :
"Water damage you find in these vans is like an ice berg, what you see is only the tip, there is ten times more hidden in the cavity of the walls"
I don't wish to upset you but others on this forum have had similar problem. if you don't know you have a problem you can't fix it.
Check out all of the different subject headings on this forum and you will see some of the wonderful work the members have done with vans which appear beyond repair and have brought them back to their former glory.
Many thanks for the welcome, and also the advise concerning water leaks. I am aware of the construction & have only found one small area of obvious water leakage & this is adjacent to the hatch in the roof. Closer inspection reveals that the seals for the hatch to hatch aperture are all very brittle & crumbling. One of the first jobs is to replace these weather seals.
I have also invested in a Coverworld storm cover that should keep the van dry & aired when parked, but will not be coming with us on trips - it is too big when packed & weighs 12kgs. Also the van has just been over the pits & is freshly registered, & more telling is the lack of damp smells in the van, it is remarkably fresh. I'm sure at 50 odd years of age there will be some gremlins lurking, but the current patina & general feel of the van should allow for a few happy VVing trips.
Goodness me, the things people bring to this forum! A Franklin Wanda, no less...or is that a Wanda Franklin?? I wonder who Wanda was?
We've seen other examples of people "badge engineering" Franklins, so I suspect you have another example of this, even though I've never seen the "Wanda" tag before, nor could I even guess where it's from. Are there any other plates stuck on the van showing where the van originally came from (ie. the dealership, etc)?
I hope I'm not bursting your bubble, but the van is a Franklin Premier model from around 1965. Certainly before 1966 when the new chassis numbering system came in, and later than 1963 because of that cladding profile.
The chassis number of 965C is interesting. We have a couple of xxxD numbers in our Franklin Chassis Register, but no "C" numbers yet. I'll add your van into the register so we can increase our knowledge of Franklin history.
I seem to remember similar tail-lights being on an early Viscount van. I'll see if I can find that photo for comparison.
Good to have you with us! cheers, Al.
(ps. hughdeani...where are you? Ever heard of "Wanda"?? )
Post by Don Ricardo on Feb 11, 2010 20:53:08 GMT 10
Hi Al and Jodel1050,
That's a very nice van you have there Jodel. Congratulations on your acquisition.
For what it's worth - which may be nothing - Wanda was a caravan manufacturer in Brisbane in the late 40's and early 50's. Wanda produced vans using some pretty unusual designs as you will see here.
Not sure how they long they kept going manufacturing vans, but it could be that like quite a few other firms they couldn't compete in the market once outfits like Franklin and Viscount got going in the mid to late 50's, and ended up being a dealership for some of the "big guys". The other possibility is that at some stage Wanda became caravan hirers.
You don't say what state you're from Jodel, but if you and/or your van have Queensland roots, then that may be a clue as to whether there is some sort of link between Wanda caravans and your van.
Hi all,lovely Franklin you have there,pretty sure its a sixties model too. I think Wanda in this case was a caravan dealership in Melbourne somewhere.Again it was badge engineering at its best!Hope this helps. Cheers hughdeani
Many thanks for all of the responses & do not worry about bursting my bubble - I do not have one. We bought this van because we liked it & the van really does have a nice feel even though it may well be badge engineered, could be that Wanda built this & Franklin copied it - shock horror.!
We checked it out thoroughly yesterday & sadly no more clues, only a 1992 West Australian paper shelf liner - very boring. No other plates, logo's nothing. Some old (dead) ants might need DNA dating, but probably 1984 - same as the fridge.
We were told that the van was originally purchased in Victoria (in 1959) even had a bath option under the bed? But sadly no confirmation. Thanks Al for your assistance & it does have some resemblance, even down to the light green hue of SN 600 D.
I wish it had been a sixties model as the RAC would not insure a 1959 model - made my life difficult & since I have serious thoughts about our house, main car, other car & other stuff insurance - eventually through Shannon's AMMI came to the rescue.
As for Wanda being a dealership in Melbourne it could well be true - I will try & confirm with the seller - who claimed to be the agent (relation of the original owner - a 91 year old gentleman from Victoria who has lived in WA for decades).
G'day jodel1050, I guess anything's possible in the history of these caravans. Maybe Wanda did build the design first, and Franklin copied it. One day we'll discover more about the Wanda tag, and then be able to put the pieces together.
I thought I'd post a group of photos of the Franklin Premier model from my collection. These were all gathered long before I realised the value and importance of getting chassis numbers as well. The challenge for me is to now try and guess the year of manufacture for each of these vans. Can you see where yours might fit in?...
Thanks for your update, & I have few more photo's that may help, the first being the coloured in version of the Wanda logo - had to raid the grand kids school bag! These are as close a colour match as I could get, the blue is quit close but the red is too red.
As for your photo's I'm really not sure where Wanda fits in, as side windows on her are all the same size & shape - all 4. Some of these must be bunk vans with the double rear windows, but the bottom right photo has the same spats & the light green colour seems similar, whilst bottom left has same stripe location. Our front window shade is supported by two struts in the middle, not at the ends as shown in your photo's, which by the way is the logical location, I bang my head everytime I try & secure these.
I also wonder if these have cladding riveted or screwed, can't see at this size? Our 240V connector is in the same location as the top middle van, as is the vent for the stove. When we next go to visit Wanda I will take a bunch more photo's from the same angle as yours above & send them on. Maybe a week or two as we are taking Wanda on her first holiday with us, Perth is getting hot again so we is heading off down south to Cape Leeuwin.
Wanda in glorious colour.
Fully refurbished spats.
Gas bottle is old & the handle is fully 3 inches taller than the modern bottle, hope BBQ's galore will fill her up, or new hold down brackets will be required?
Jodel1050, You can take the bottle and have it pressure tested and re-certified if you wish to keep the original. If it is older than (or has not been re-certified in the last) 10 yrs it will have to be checked and tagged before any of the filling outlets will touch it. Looks in good enough nick though from the photo, you should have no worries. Local car gas fitter or gas supplier should be able to tell you where to get it done or perhaps if appropriately qualified/registerd , do it for you. I'd be keeping the original if I could, its all part of the VV picture. Nice VV you have there and like a new pin on the inside!! Jennison
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2010 20:38:37 GMT 10 by Jennison
Post by Don Ricardo on Feb 13, 2010 20:54:54 GMT 10
My guess is that your van is the same design and around about the same age as the van in the middle of the top row of the pics Al posted - the one with the blue painted band. The windows look different to yours because it is a smaller van - 13 ft while yours is 15 ft. The extra 2 ft in your van seems to be mainly in the extra space you have in your dinette. The 'blue' van is probably still regarded as a 4-berth, but in reality is more likely a 3.5 berth - just a bit cosier than yours.
There are some more pics of the 'blue' van including internal shots on page 3 of the Franklin thread in the Down History Lane section here - see Reply #41.
If you look at the internal photos the cupboards, door handles (except the knobs which I'm guessing are non-standard), etc, look very similar to yours. The overhead cupboards look to be the same in shape, and are sliders.
The 'blue' van has a double bed at the back, whereas yours has two singles, but I reckon the double bed looks like a later addition.
What do you think?
You mentioned that the struts on the front sunshade on your van are in the middle, but the sunshades on vans were often an optional extra or after market item, so I wouldn't think that necessarily tells us much.
Post by beetlesbailey on Feb 14, 2010 12:28:19 GMT 10
Hi there my thoughts about the taillights on your magnificent van is that they come from Morris Major around 58/62. i'm not a fan of anything pommy but I'm sure I've seen them on a van and soon after on a pommy "car". Try googling all things pommy car related in that era. Getting good replacements of those lights would be far preferable to changing them. (in my opinion.) Regards Beetles
Many thanks for your suggestion & I did google LPG pressure test & just around the corner is a pressure testing station. I will be rushing over there in the morning.
You could well be correct, as there are some similarities with the blue van especially the sliding upper cupboard doors. Our knobs are original & some are falling apart, & all have lost plating, but they are going to stay that way, kind of resembles me. The editorial under the photo's mentions that the owner converted the singles to a double, we will be leaving ours the way they are as that way the wife gets to sleep with the dog & I get a good nights sleep.
By the way you are not very popular with my wife or the dog - he missed his walk & my wife reckons I will go blind with the amount of time I spend reading this "blog" her words, but how can you just read reply#41 in DHL & not read the other 50 or so relies. Also of interest reply #56 OlFarts Franklin also has similar sliding cupboard doors.
Agree with you on the sunshade, but I think most telling is the screwed construction, most old vans I have seen have all been pop riveted I've never seen so many screws & the 50 or so I checked the other day were all at least half a turn loose.
You are the second person to suggest the Morris Major as a possible source of tail lights. Can't seem to find a decent rear photo, but did find the Wolesley 1500 on which the Morris was based soley for the Australian market - never available in old blighty. Again the only photo I could find is too small for a detailed confirmation but it certainly is bullet shaped in the indicator section. I'm hopeful that Lucas may be able to help me, mind you in the aviation industry they are known as the Prince of Darkness! I also found a thread in the technical section with an email address for a fellow over east who manufactures new from old lenses, so that maybe the way we go. Many thakns for all of your help.
You are a true star. I shall get bidding on the pair as soon as I can put down DHL - there is about a years worth of reading in there. Also checked on the Austin A55 & it was produced from 1957 until 1959, so I know at least the rear lights on my VV are 1959 - looking more like Franklin copied Wanda!
JBJ, Thanks for Spares Galore lead, and Firefighter for contact details for them. Will keep trying to contact them, and will now probably need complete light assemblies, unless I can get creative with the bulb holders - or lack of them.
Freeway thanks for Austin Lancer lead, but we have confirmed that they were built for the Austin A55 Cambridge - 1957 to 1959 model & pre Farina range. We had a very nice weeks holiday down in the SW & I have posted some photo's on the members website. Regards Jodel