From the road: Van with a wooden chassis?!

By: Susan and Keith Hall, Photography by: Susan and Keith Hall

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This 1930s homebuilt caravan was constructued almost exclusively from one surprising material.

From the road: Van with a wooden chassis?!
From the road: Van with a wooden chassis?!
IF YOU LOOK carefully at the modern-day caravan, you will find that it is built from many different materials.

It may include components made of steel, aluminium, plastic, fibreglass, chipboard, wood veneer, formica or glass to name a few.
But in manufacturing days past, many of these materials were either very expensive... or not yet invented.

As a result, caravan builders used the one material that was readily available – solid wood. This late 1930s home-built caravan is a good reminder of what you can do with wood. The outer shell is all wood, and when you step inside you see that the flooring is wooden planks. The dinette table, seats and cupboards are all made of wood.

But the real surprise comes when you look underneath the van. The chassis and the drawbar are made of wood! Although you might suspect that a wooden chassis wouldn’t last too well, this caravan is over 70 years old and still in use.

It leads us to wonder what other materials were used in decades past, back when builders had to be a little more resourceful!

Susan and Keith Hall are regular contributors to Caravan World magazine.
Check out their latest blog entries at

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