1950 Teardrop crosses Nullarbor

Susan and Keith Hall — 19 November 2011

VINTAGE CARAVANS ARE a regular feature at classic car shows and country fairs these days. So we weren’t surprised when we saw a very retro pastel green teardrop caravan at a vintage machinery rally in southwest WA recently.

We noted that the teardrop was sporting Victorian registration plates, so we were particularly keen to have a chat with the owners, Ian and Lyn Erwin of Ballarat, Victoria.

Even though the teardrop was on show at a vintage machinery event, it is still very much a working caravan. Ian and Lynn had towed it across the Nullarbor to Perth, taking five days to get there and camping with the van along the way. They
planned a more leisurely journey back to Vic, allowing three weeks for the return trip.

Despite being on the road for a month, the Erwins still found room in their small caravan for an amazing collection of 1950s vintage items, including a cane picnic basket, old first-aid kit, radio, food canisters, copper kettle and old kero primus with a wooden storage box.

Like many vintage vans, this one comes with an interesting story. The teardrop previously belonged to the family of one of Ian’s mates. Sadly the mate passed away, and his family offered to van to Ian. The caravan was in a very dilapidated state, with the floor and walls missing and much of the timber rotting. But the curved frame was in reasonable condition, as were the axle and wheels.

Ian rose to the challenge and set out to restore the teardrop as a tribute to his mate. After much hunting to find materials in non-metric sizes, plenty of reconstruction, and painting in a suitably retro colour scheme, the 60 year old van is looking as sprightly as ever.


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Susan and Keith Hall