1956 vintage caravan blue GALLERY >> Take a closer look at Diane Harrison's 1956 blue caravan
1956 vintage caravan blue Diane spent lots of time carrying out maintenance and services on the caravan as there were a few leaks. The fabric tape along the edge of the roof had to be taken off, the old silicone dug out, the roof repainted with several coats of acrylic weather-shield paint, and then silicone reapplied.
1956 vintage caravan blue Colour coordination turns this 1956 vintage caravan and modern tow vehicle into a well-matched rig.
1956 vintage caravan blue The interior of the caravan was redecorated in the late 1970s when the second generation of the Harley family used the caravan with their children.
1956 vintage caravan blue A large roof hatch and lots of windows make for a very light and airy interior.
1956 vintage caravan blue The kitchen has its original yellow Laminex, while the stove and fridge were installed in the 1970s.
1956 vintage caravan blue Diane has been a careful custodian of this piece of caravanning history, making very few changes.

A car auction castaway became a labour of love for the owner of a blue and white 1956 vintage caravan.

The caravan has the typical rounded shape of a 1950s wooden van, but has been modernised with an aluminium skin added in the early 1970s. It is only 10ft 4in long and weighs 750kg when loaded.

Diane Harrison was at a car auction about six years ago when she noticed an old wooden caravan over in a corner. The van’s unusual blue and white colour
scheme was the first thing that caught her attention because blue is her favourite colour. "It looked so cute and it was love at first sight," Diane said.

It seems she was destined to own this van because it had been built not far from her then-home in south-east Sydney. The caravan was one of three built in the early 1950s by Ken Harley in Hurstville. This particular van was completed in 1956 and was used for annual family summer holidays at Kiama. In the late 1970s, Ken made some changes to the caravan, installing a new fridge, oven, and electric brakes. At this point, the sides, front and rear of the caravan were covered with an aluminium skin. The blue and white colour scheme possibly also comes from that time. The second generation of the Harley family then used the caravan with their children into the 1980s.

After Ken died, the caravan was kept in a garage for 15 years until the family decided to sell it. Everything had been left undisturbed for so long that it took the family three days to get the garage doors open and the caravan removed. Despite the changes made to the caravan over the years, both the exterior and interior retain a 1950s look. Inside, the curved doors on the overhead cupboards, the black melamine cupboard door knobs, and the lemon-coloured Laminex in the kitchen all speak of another era.

The full version originally appeared in Caravan World #521, January 2014. Why not subscribe today for more?

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