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What and when was your first touring caravan?

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Old Sep 15th, 2017, 01:04   #1
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Last Online: May 24th, 2020 09:44
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Location: Leigh, Lancs
Arrow What and when was your first touring caravan?

Our first touring caravan was in 1979 and it was a 10 foot, 4 birth Bailey - can't remember the model at the moment.

It had glass windows that suffered from condensation overnight in cold weather - we used to put tissues at the window bottoms to soak it up.

There was no toilet in the caravan ( we used a porta potti 33 in the awning ), no oven or fridge ( we used a cool-box ) and was of the double dinette config with the stretcher type ( two ally poles ) of upper bunk over the rear dinette.

We used to tow it with a 1300cc VW Beetle ( 34 or 43 BHP IIRC ) - the old style Beetle.

Our very first trip was to Cirencester soon followed with a trip to Great Yarmouth which is quite a distance from us.

Before long we changed the caravan to a 1979 2 berth Piper Clubman 1200 which we bought in about 1981 and I changed the car to a 1200cc Renault 12 TL which was more powerful than the Beetle despite being less cc.
These were used for our first French tour in about 1981.

I was a bit apprehensive about changing the Renault 12 for a BIG Volvo 244GL in 1982 but the Volvo was deemed to be an excellent tow-car - I was a bit worried about fuel consumption as I did about 12,000 miles per year at that time - but more continental touring was planned so a good tow car was essential.

Since that first Volvo in 1982 they have been my daily almost permanently ( except only when repairing my auto box on the V70 ).

We had a break from touring caravans from about 1989 to 2011 but in recent years enjoy about 95 days away in the caravan each year.

How things have changed caravan wise since 1979.
And who today would think of towing a tourer with a 1200 cc car.

Those early years French trips have given us a love of France and we are currently thinking of our venture there next year.

Daily '19>: '06 S60 D5 Gtronic
'82>'95 '76 244GL Auto: '95>'02 '86 360GLT: '02>'06 '92 440Xi: '04>'12 '88 240GL B200E Auto: '06>'12 '88 240GL B200E Man: '11>'19 V70 2.5D Auto
Volvo since '82. Caravan '19>: '07 Vanlander 560-4
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Old Sep 15th, 2017, 04:57   #2
The vast minority
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Thats quite a tale Colin, these days people new to caravanning don't know how good they have it!

Mardon Meridian of early 90's vintage which I bought for £300 in 2009. Used it twice to go to the same CL over the next 3 years towing it with a Peugeot expert 2 litre turbo. It had all the kit, boiler, blown air, a thetford and a decent kitchen with fridge and oven so wasn't the hardship that caravaners in the 70's faced.
The problem for us was the remoteness of storage and although we enjoyed the days away we had in it (all 4 of them) I always had to book in advance with the farmer where it was stored for him to get it out meaning quick last minute getaways were impossible. It would always be filthy as it was stored outside so we never really got much use and I eventually gave it to the farmer in lieu of 6 months storage that I owed him. I vowed we wouldn't have another if we couldn't accommodate it at home so when we moved to a house big enough to accommodate a caravan and all of the cars I bought that holy grail of the caravanning world an ERIBA. I bought an old one 1989 just to try it and we instantly got the bug with 4 trips including a week away in northumberland in the first 2 months towing with a new Jeep Wrangler 2.9 L. We liked it so much that in November we bought a brand new ERIBA Troll 530 and have already had 15 trips in it. The Wrangler had to go because, insanely it had only a 1000KG towing rating and the troll is 1300 MGW. I towed with the new Peugeot Partner Tepee up until July this year and bought the old V70 to take over as that car was on its limit which isn't ideal. I liked that Volvo much better for towing but it was petrol and realising its FWD limitations in an only slightly muddy site a few weeks ago I sold it and got a like new 2012 XC 70 AWD last week. Today is the first trip away towing with the XC 70 in fact and we are going to a grassy, sloping CL that has seen its fair share of rain in the last few weeks.

Last edited by The vast minority; Sep 15th, 2017 at 04:59.
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Old Sep 15th, 2017, 12:16   #3
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Our first caravan was a 1972 Abbey that we bought from my wife's father for £200 in 1990. It had glass windows, a floor foot pump for the water (cold only) an a single 12v light. It did have a toilet cubicle though, with a porta potti in it.
There was a gas fire, but it stank when it was lit and burned with a dirty yellow flame, so I was a bit reluctant to use it - I don't suppose it had ever been serviced.
We towed that with a 340 1.7GL and took it to the north of Scotland in the snow, north Wales a couple of times and had many great holidays in it all over England.
We had to get rid of it when the children outgrew the rear bunk and the damp started to affect the structure of the van.
We replaced it with a new Bailey Beachcomber in 1995 that cost £7200 and we could not believe the luxury of having hot water, a shower, a heater that worked and a fridge.
Our current 'van, another Bailey, was bought new in 2003 and we sometimes think about changing it but the thought of having to stump up £20,000 or more is frightening.
2018 V90CC D4, 2019 XC40
1940 Matchless G3, 1980 Guzzi T3
1958 Morris Minor
Coming soon:- 1947Rover 14 P2
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Old Sep 15th, 2017, 13:00   #4
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Fleetwood Garland 165/5 for me. Think it was a 90 or 91 model. Bought in about 98' for £1500.
Had full cooker, fridge, cassette, shower and gas fire (not blown air).
Towed it with my 91' Torslanda from Pompey to northern Scotland. And to South Wales and Cornwall too.
Later replaced the Tors with a T5 which really was a good tugger!
1999 V70 T5 SE Auto
2004 V70 2.4SE Auto 'The Welshmobile’
2002 Laika Ecovip 400i ( Motorhome on an Iveco 2.8TD)
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Old Sep 15th, 2017, 16:38   #5
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Parents had a 1970 ish Robin 12 ft, towed initially with an Avenger GT which very quickly got swapped for a Chrysler 180, and subsequently an Austin Princess

Lots of memories brought back by talk of foot pumps, cold water, porta potti and the like.

My first caravan was a Compass Connoissuer 490/4 towed by an 850 SE estate 2.5 10v auto. Car was a 96 model, think caravan was similar. Really enjoyed it but tayout not ideal with kids so quickly got traded for a Swift Conqueror twin axle in about 2001 - bought new. Tow cars included several others - a Vauxhall Sinatra 3.0 CDX was the pick, with over 200hp and self levelling suspension, plus a great gig cavernous boot for everything you need.
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Old Sep 15th, 2017, 18:09   #6
john wardman
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Smile touring caravan

hi colin our first caravan was an ace ambassador called amy,first trip to isle of wight after that a a number of vans and tow cars now have a lunar clubman and tow with an xc 70 first time out for this out fit this weekend from leeds to york not a great distance but we like to to go somewhwere local for hte first trip to find out how it all works,great to see your post happy caravaning
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Old Sep 19th, 2017, 21:04   #7
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Mine was a 1971 trophy silver lightweight 12ft 4 birth, no toilet but had a small wash room with basin at the back with a cold water hand pump tap. No oven or fridge and still had a gas mantle light and one 12 volt light which I think was added by previous owner as there was no battery box just two wires under bed box with clips. The kitchen sink had a foot operated water pump I have searched the Internet for info on this model and drew a blank. If anyone can help let me know. It's as though it never existed

Last edited by nu11eaf; Sep 19th, 2017 at 21:07.
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Old Sep 19th, 2017, 21:16   #8
Father Ted
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My parents had a 1960's something in the late 70's. Gas lights, foot pump in floor for water etc.

OUR first van was bought in 2005. It was a 1989 Swift Challenger. So damp you could wring it out (I didn't know what to look for, but it gave me great experience learning how to DIY on a caravan).
2003 V70 2.4SE Auto. Gone now.
2003 XC90 D5. Auto.
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 16:37   #9
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I used my Dads caravans for years but the first van I actually bought was a 2014 model twin axle Venus 620/6 new in 2015 as an ex demo and we only kept it about 10 months as we weren’t using it. As nice as it was, life changed dramatically after purchase and we only used it about for 10 nights so we sold it on.

I’d like to get another one soon, looking at a smaller 4 berth next year as life’s has settled to the point we will actually use this one!
2014 Skoda Octavia vRS with loads of toys!
ex 2012 V50 1.6D DRIVe SE Lux, 2008 XC70 D5 AWD SE Geartronic, 2004 S40 2.0D SE, 2008 C30 1.6 S & 2000 C70 2.0T
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Old Sep 28th, 2017, 17:54   #10
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We hired a newish Astral Scout for a week in 1972. Towed it with a Cortina. Next we hired another newish Scout which we towed up to central Scotland with our 3 boys. Then we bought our first Caravan, a new 14ft Sprite Musketeer which was dead basic. 1 gas mantle and 1 battery light. 2 burner gas hob. Towed it miles and miles and miles with Cortina/Sierra 1.6L. Happy days!
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