Vintage vans: Innovative 1960s Expandavan

Susan and Keith Hall — 31 December 2011

EVERY SO OFTEN we come across vintage caravans that surprise us because their design includes unexpectedly modern features. This 1960s Mintern Expandavan is a good example, as it has features that you can find on the latest luxury caravans.

The ingeniously designed Expandavan was way ahead of its time. It has not one but three large fold-out sections. The two fold-outs on the sides become bedrooms, each equipped with a double bed. The rear fold-out becomes the dining room, and has tables and chairs which fold up flat when the van is closed for travel.
Owners Doug and Vicki Barratt of Drouin, Vic were setting up their Expandavan as we chatted with them, and their smooth teamwork made everything look deceptively easy. First they lifted the rear hatch, then slid and folded out the solid walls and floor, to make the dining room. Then they opened the fold-out sections on the sides to make the two bedrooms. The whole process took barely three minutes – and they were going slow to show us how it was done.

More things open and fold out in the centrally positioned kitchen. Here, a cover over the sink opens out and a second table/benchtop folds out from the end of sink. Very conveniently, the kitchen cupboard and fridge are still accessible when the caravan is folded up.

Doug explained that this unusual and innovative caravan was built by Mr Cliff Mintern at Alexandra, Vic. Cliff was a sign writer, but designed and built about ten of these folding caravans. Five of them had foldout areas at the rear and both sides, as with the one shown here. The others only had foldouts at the sides.

You don’t come across these vans very often, since so few of them were built. But when you do, you can only marvel at the creative and surprisingly modern way they fold out. This particular Expandavan looks extra special when teamed up with a colour-matched, two-tone FC Holden station wagon.


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Susan and Keith Hall