Friday, October 8

teardrop caravan

My dear ol' dad is a deft hand when it comes to anything with wheels.  From the scrap heap or the showroom floor, vehicles shudder on their chassis when they feel his presence, for they know their very form is about to be tampered with.  Brand new 4WD's are cut in half and extended, trays are severed and panels disassembled.  Seats are torn out and replaced with long range tanks and tool boxes, canopies are constructed with air lift sides and compartments to hold chainsaws, shovels, sand-dune recovery kits, and cartons of beer.  Rusty memories of bygone charm are restored to shiny objects of desire.  Early Holdens hold a special place in dad's heart, as well as a significant portion of the shed.  They are buffed and tickled, whispered to like prize roses waiting for their moment in the sun.  In the next bay is the new caravan with after-market additions, the Nissan extra cab 4WD with bat wing doors and my favourites, the restored pink and blue German Prinzs, looking more like adorable cup cakes than automobiles. 

 Dad's latest conquest is a magnificent teardrop caravan, entirely hand crafted to original specifications. Teardrop caravans were marketed extensively in Australia during the 30's, 40's and 50's and many original units are either being used actively or are under restoration. They are perfect for those who enjoy  the outdoors with a dash of retro style and comfort.  The interior of a teardrop is big enough to comfortably sleep two people, with a small door each side for convenient entering and exiting.  The rear hatch opens to reveal the storage zone and kitchenette;  flutter the gingham tablecloth, put the kettle on, and set out the folding chairs - it's smoko time.

Teardrop campers were very popular in America after World War II, when a surplus of materials such as wheels from army jeeps and sheet-metal from bombers were commonly used in their construction.   They remained fashionable until the mid 1970s when motels, larger caravans and motorhomes gained favour. 

Today, a resurgence in popularity has been fueled by online discussions and the sharing of plans. A new generation of campers has embraced the light weight caravan that can be towed by a smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle, while embracing the craftsmanship and style of days gone by.
Tom and I think the teardrop would make a perfect mobile coffee van; a sure fire hit in every beach side car park and rest area from Cairns to Cactus and Broome to Byron. I can see it now, "Bean There, Done That." 

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