Greg MacLeman

See other News articles filed in ‘Shows and events’ written by Greg MacLeman
   
Caravan corner makes a return to the Classic Motor Show at the NEC Birmingham this week – Classic & Sports Car's Digital editor Greg MacLeman reports

An impressive collection of vintage caravans are on display at the Classic Motor Show from 11-13 November, including a brace of Carcruisers bookending the firm’s 35-year production run. 

The star of the Period & Classic Caravan Club’s stand is a streamlined 1933 CarCruiser Type 3, from the manufacturer’s first year of production. The rare survivor belongs to club chairman Rob Finney, who also displayed a 1965 Clipper, which was built in the same year production ceased at the Middlesex factory. 

“There aren’t many Type 3 survivors beyond those which are in preservation,” says Rob. “Everything is just wood and hardboard, so they just rot away. This one is still in regular use, though: we tow it using a 1936 Hillman 16 and attend plenty of shows.”

The Type 3 spent six months of each year in the south of France until 1939, staying with the family of its first owner until 1989, when it was discovered by a member of the Historic Caravan Club. 

The later Clipper represented CarCruiser’s final attempt at luxury touring caravans and, unlike the Type 3, came equipped with creature comforts such as washing facilities, a gas stove and 12V electric lighting. “The 1960s models aren’t that different from modern caravans,” enthuses Rob. 

Also on show is an eye-catching display of four Portafold folding caravans, each of the earlier variety identified by their rakish twin roof fins. The pint-sized caravans are a perfect entry into the world of classic caravanning, explains club man Ray Hutchings: “Somewhere between £1000 and £2000 will get you a fine example, with a fully restored Portafold recently selling for £2750. It’s so small it looks as if you’re being tailgated when you’re towing it – all you can see is the fins in the rear-view mirror! They’re light, too. At around 500kg it can easily be be towed by a small car. One of our members uses a classic Mini!”

Both clubs have made a welcome return to the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, having been on the club reserve list since their last outing in 2011. Fans of the Portafold brand are encouraged to visit the club’s largest annual outing at Retro Festival in Berkshire, where 59 examples gathered earlier this year. 

Click here for more details on how buy a vintage caravan.

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