What to do with a restored vintage caravan…

It’s been three years and three summers of having our Stirling Caravan. I originally wanted  to chronicle the restoration and also the life of the van afterwards. So here she is, kicking around in a beautiful spot in the Victorian alpine region. The little van has been the host of many birthday parties, teenage retreats, […]

Glamping by the Lake in the “New” Van

When I first started developing this blog, it was always my intention to track the entirety of our Stirling project, from buying and restoring to actually using our cheeky little van. Well, I am proud to present the first post on a real-life family adventure in which we took our little home away from home […]

Completed Interior Shots

It’s been more than 6 months since we started the Stirling caravan restoration. The upholstery is now completed, and aside from some small details (will small details ever stop cropping up) we have now completed the interior. What began as a semi-rotten woodgrain interior is now stripped clean, re-lined, painted and re-upholstered. New Venetian blinds […]

Five Tips For Buying A Vintage Caravan

As I near the completion of my caravan restoration project, I thought it worthwhile to change tack slightly and write about the actual buying process. As the whole vintage van movement continues to gain momentum, you can still find some excellent bargains. Here in Australia, there are many old vans sitting out in front yards, […]

Turning the lights on – the electric solution

It’s been far too long since I last posted, and it hasn’t been due to any delayed progress or not working on the Stirling. The last post (you can read it by clicking here) was showing off the fresh new interior shots of the chosen colour scheme of “whisper white” and “honeydew green” and contained […]

Fresh new interior shots

Recent weeks have been consumed with the task of sanding, sealing and painting. It has been a grind, and my wife and I have been up to all hours battling bug storms and hours on the end of a roller or brush, painting into the night to avoid the blazing heat of mid-summer. There have […]

Five Top Tips to restoring a vintage caravan

Having almost completed a vintage caravan restoration on a 1965 Stephens and West Stirling, I thought it would be a good time to write down my personal Top 5 Tips. The caravan I restored is made of aluminium sheets over a timber frame, so this fact will obviously influence my tips. Tip One – Perform […]

Restoration, frustration, mastication, elation and…relaxation

The last two to three months has been a busy time, but I am finally closing in on the end of a brutal, sweaty, dirty and at times frustrating time – that is, I am nearing the end of a vintage caravan restoration. For those of you who are considering a vintage caravan restoration, be […]

The last corner is the gas chamber

It’s been a while since I posted any progress, simply because there has been little progress until the last few days. I am now on holidays, and have had two full days to work on the caravan. It’s been baking hot – 35 degrees (celcius) and upwards. Oil paint dries in minutes, not hours. The […]

Why old caravans leak

My Weekender When this weekend began to loom on the weekly horizon, I had plans to spend as much time as I could doing the caravan renovation. But the best laid plans are often subjected to the things that happen called LIFE. Like children’s birthday parties and sleep-overs and yes, my eldest daughter’s Baptism last […]

Beauty is only skin deep – and yes, this applies to vintage caravans also

Another weekend has come and gone, and I sit here on Sunday evening. The skies are blue, it’s warm and I am feeling that contented glow that comes with accomplishing a few more goals in this restoration project. I am sitting in the caravan right now. I thought it the most inspiring place to sit […]

The countess wears new clothes

It was a HUGE weekend just past, as a new milestone was reached in the re-construction of the front end of “The Countess”. Quite literally, the Countess wears new clothes. Well, not new. They are the same old sheets she wore all these years, but stripping away the old sealant and filth and putting her […]

The amazing difference that a 3mm wall of plywood makes

Elation yesterday as I cut and stapled in the new front left wall and finished off the front right wall. There is a definite air of this front end starting to feel half-way complete. I stopped to marvel at the fact that a simple 3mm plywood veneer wall seems to progress this project considerably. I […]

Saturday Night (Caravan) Fever

It’s not Saturday night right now, but I do remember a moment a couple of days ago when it was. I had spent about 12 hours straight working on the van, and was feeling an immense sense of contentment that comes with progress – of the structural kind. You see, things got worse before they […]

Oh boy, I bought a vintage caravan – and she’s a rotten beauty

Sunday, and I shouldn’t be working. I should be at church on my hands and knees praying that this caravan can get back together again. You see, because the floor timbers need replacing, I had to strip back the right front corner also. And that led to stripping back most of the front also. Unfortunately […]

Custodians of vintage caravans – do it well or don’t do it at all

My previous post detailed the first really big day of renovation on our vintage 1965 Stirling caravan. I feel that I must now climb up onto a very large soap-box now, and express my views to those who care to listen. You see, I am today armed with fresh knowledge. I have learnt what was […]

The rotten tale of caravan woe – work begins on the front left side

It has been a big day in the world of backyard Stirling caravan renovations. I have realised today that our “Countess” is lucky to have not landed on the scrap-heap. She has been under cover for the last 4 years, fortunately. Today was the first large-scale work that went beyond simply interior work. Today was a […]

How did you buy a Stirling in 1965

Dick Harding  from Stirling Caravan Services in Gloucestershire, UK  is the man when it comes to old Stirling vans because he worked for Stephens and West from as early as 1959 (before Stirlings were in production) right up to the closure of the company in 1981. Now he works with the proprietor Tony Biggs restoring […]

1965 was a sweet year for caravans

At last, the mystery solved. I have consulted the expert, a man in the UK (Dick) who worked for Stephens and West until the factory closed in 1981, and has been quite brilliant in helping me to sleuth out the manufacture date of the Stirling van. There are a few things you have to consider, […]

Vintage caravan mathematics – there are four corners

In my last post, I was talking about the rotten toilet cabinet inside an old Stirling caravan. I thought it  timely to now show off the re-lined cabinet, awaiting a fresh coat of paint. It feels wonderful to see that the end is finally in sight. And another angle, because I am showing off now… […]

My vintage caravan and the rotten “dunny”

What better way to start on a renovation in an old vintage caravan than in the corner toilet cabinet. A lesson in Australian lingo right now. “Dunny” = toilet. Now I can only guess that an English caravan built in the 1950s had a little corner toilet cabinet right next to the stove and cooking […]

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many […]