Vintage vanning

Vintage caravan enthusiast Mark T from Perth owns eight ‘old’ caravans … and he’s not finished yet

How did you start?
Like the vast majority of vintage enthusi­asts,  I started off being interested in vintage cars and started chasing old vans to complete the look. They are looking for a period match. I always say a vintage caravan is the perfect accessory for a vintage car.

What’s your favourite?
My Joker II is a 15.5’ classic that was built in 1956. I’ve taken it out on quite a few trips and it’s a lot of fun, I can tell you. I like to tow it behind my vintage FC Holden.

Do you get much attention?
The attention you get when you drive into a park is amaz­ing. You are never on your own for long and you are never short of people to talk to when you’re pulling one of these old vans! You may see people come into the park in their brand new 4WDs and their expensive caravans, but no one gives them a second look. Us old van lovers just have a lot of fun and a lot of laughs and there are plenty of characters amongst us, too.

Aren’t old vans too ‘basic?’
The old vans may not have DVD players and microwaves, but they do have interest­ing interior fittings like the pump-style taps and some­times a kerosene fridge. And the original old ’50s Dunlo­pillo mattresses in Joker II are as comfortable as anything on the market today. If you look at the vans that were made in the ’40s and ’50s, the workmanship is just superb. In those days, these things were built to last. I bet you won’t have vintage van lovers driving around in the vans of today in 50 years’ time.

Are you always looking?
Of course. It’s a real buzz when you come across one of these great old vans. Sometimes they will be in the back yard being used as a teenager’s retreat and, if you are really lucky, you can come across something in pristine condition that has been tucked away in a shed. You just knock on someone’s door and ask if the van is for sale … most times, they will say ‘yes’. I suppose the ’60s aluminium vans are still pretty common, but when you find a ply one that has been stored away somewhere for years, it is quite a thrill.


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