Susan and Keith Hall — 15 September 2012

ACCORDING TO THE OLD adage, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But sometimes we see vintage caravans that have discovered such clever ideas, we have to wonder if the familiar old saying is really true.

We noticed a very good example at a vintage caravan gathering in Tanunda, SA earlier this year. We were admiring a 1965 Globetrotter van belonging to Graham Bailey and Jenette Black. It was a 14ft Gold Coaster model and looked immaculate, with gleaming aluminium cladding, aqua-coloured side panels and
retro white wheel spats.

But there was one puzzling thing about this caravan:
a mirror was mounted on the front of the van, above the A-frame and facing outwards. What could it possibly be for? It looked like a rear vision mirror, but was facing forwards – and who needs a rear vision mirror on their caravan anyway?

We pondered whether it might be for shaving and applying cosmetics. That could make sense, since the mirror was out in the open where there is plenty of light. But no, the A-frame got in the way when you tried to look at yourself in the mirror. Could it be for watching the children at play, without having to get out your chair and turn around to look for them? Or even to spy on other caravanners? No, the mirror was angled slightly downwards, so you couldn’t see other people anyway...

But when we stood in front of the mirror, its purpose was immediately obvious. The mirror faced straight at the caravan hitch, enabling the car driver to back up to the hitch without needing anyone to give directions. What a great idea –
maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks after all!

WORDS AND PICS Susan and Keith Hall
Read the Halls' blog here

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