Post by Don Ricardo on Sept 9, 2011 21:56:46 GMT 10
1967 Foldvan Foldette:
(Source: Extract from G Haslar & N Lowe, "The New Mini Vans", Australian Motor Manual, No 300, October 1967, pp 55 &57)
The Foldette has an uncanny resemblance to this folding caravan rescued from the scrub by Bobt...except that the cabin on Bobt's van is set on the chassis the opposite way to the Foldette. Only a minor difference. But note also that plans were available for the home builder, so it's quite possible that someone adapted the original plans. Both vans/are were clad in aluminium.
For more photos of Bobt's van and the story of its rescue click here.
Post by Don Ricardo on Sept 14, 2014 18:09:10 GMT 10
Afternoon history freaks,
So far we have only scant information about the activities of Foldvan, in the form of two Australian Motor Manual items, which are posted above. The first from 1953 describes a Foldvan camper trailer, and the second from 1967 which describes the Foldvan 'Foldette caravanette'. However, it seems that Foldvan continued in the caravan industry into the 1970's.
One of the caravans attending the 2014 Vintage Caravan Nationals in Broken Hill was a 1972 Hi-lite pop-top owned by forum member Wartz82:
There has been various discussions on this forum here, and on the Classic Caravans Forum here and here and here, about the Hi-Lite having been manufactured by Siddons Leisure Industries, and a connection with Wartz in South Australia. Wartz82's Hi-Lite has two 'name tags' on the back. The first states that Wartz are 'manufacturers and distributors' (hence Wartz82's forum name):
The second, older looking name tag is the Hi-Lite name plate itself which states that the van was manufactured by Foldvans Pty Ltd, Melbourne:
What to make of this? First either that Foldvan from the 50's and 60's was still in existence, or that a new firm called Foldvans had been established. Second that Wartz was almost certainly only the distributors, not the manufacturer. The following 1974 advert posted by Inncrafers on the Classic Caravans Forum here indicates that Wartz were distributors for a number of brands of caravans, and clearly states that it was 'the sole SA distributors for Hi-Lite':
Third, no mention of Siddons Leisure Industries evident. In fact there are various references to various brands of caravan in the late 60's and early 70's having been purchased from Siddons, which did produce Sunwagon camper trailers. So, maybe Siddons also acted as dealers/distributors for other brands of vans and camper trailers?
On the basis of the Hi-Lite nameplate on the back of Wartz82's van, the weight of evidence at this point seems to be that Hi-Lite was manufactured by Foldvan.
And why is this information about a 1972 caravan posted on the Vintage Caravan Forum? Because it relates to a firm that was operating in the 50's and 60's, and about which we know very little! That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it...
Additional comments or information regarding the hypothesis that Hi-Lite caravans were built by Foldvan are welcome.
Last Edit: Sept 14, 2014 19:46:21 GMT 10 by Don Ricardo
Hi Don, The foldvan that made the Hi-Lite also made Sunwagons. This was in Huntingdale Vic.Company was later sold to a biscuit company then Siddons,who also made the Cabana folding van among others. Siddons relocated from Melbourne to Wangaratta at some stage,and also made Crusaders. Hope this helps. hughdeani
Hello Don. Thought you might be interested to know that my friend bought a HI-LITE from the original owner. He has since sold it but not before painting it. Below is the only picture I have left of it and this was after he painted it. It is a HI-LITE with chassis number H55 but as you can see it was also listed as a Millard, including on the rego. Again, perhaps just the distributor here in WA for HI-LITE vans ?
So that explains why some of the vans of the early 70's look a bit like biscuit tins? Just kidding!
That's amazing info you've provided there Hughdeani. There was obviously quite a lot of change - maybe even turmoil? - in the light caravan/camper trailer market in the early 70's. It was also the era when Camperland fell over and was later re-born as Camperman, and Petersville entered the market and then left it, and Siddons in the thick of things as well.
You mentioned that Siddons moved to Wangaratta and were involved in the production of Crusader caravans there. I have a Siddons Sunwagon brochure given to me by John Bury's son, which gives their location as Bendigo. Where does that fit into the picture?
I think it was sunshine biscuits,but don't quote me! I'm sure Siddons relocated to Wang,maybe it was via Bendigo! I will have to try and remember ! Maybe Sunwagons were Bendigo and Crusaders Wangaratta,can't remember at the moment. Cheers hughdeani
Ps.Im remembering a few more. Chesney taken over by Monier, Murrumba Star taken over by a Canadian company called Glendale, Newlands taken over by Coronet, Viscount taken over by Gazal, Franklin taken over by Freighter, Millard taken over by Viscount, Savoy and Statesman taken over by Windsor, Cabana taken over by Siddons, And many more I'm sure,just can't remember at present!
Last Edit: Sept 14, 2014 21:47:05 GMT 10 by Deleted
Post by Don Ricardo on Sept 13, 2017 15:51:08 GMT 10
A discussion took place in posts higher up this thread about the origins and manufacturer of the Foldvan Hilite caravan. Some photos are displayed of a Hilite van with a sticker stating that it was built by Foldvan, and it appears that Foldvan's caravan and camping vehicles were later produced by Siddons Industries.
However, the article below, published in the January 2000 edition of On the Road magazine, reveals that the Hilite caravan was originally designed and built by Brian and Ray Williams (son and father), who previously had designed and built the Bri-Ray Microvan "pop-down" caravan. According to the article (see third column) the rights to the Hilite were later bought by Foldvan, together with the rights to the Sunwagon and Dolphin campers/caravans.
The article states that the Hilite was "the world's first pop-top caravan". In fact this is not correct. Pop-top caravans had been produced by pioneering caravan builders such as John Jennison as early as the 1930's.
Thanks to Cobber who originally posted the above article on 6 September 2007 - just over ten years ago!!
Last Edit: Sept 13, 2017 16:09:36 GMT 10 by Don Ricardo
Post by dinkydi1970 on Jan 26, 2020 22:03:09 GMT 10
Thought some might find this information helpful, then again just another twist in the history of the Hi-Lite caravan. Have just purchased a 1978 Hi-Lite Poptop & the sticker says 'Manufactured by Pleasure Mate Pty Ltd in Dandenong.