CW Staff — 22 April 2014

There’s something unique about vintage and retro caravans. Interest in classic caravans (and in particular pre-1970 caravans) has enjoyed phenomenal growth throughout Australia over the latest decade.

So what makes them special? Is it the classic designs that drive people to attend vintage caravan get-togethers? Or could it be nostalgia for seemingly simpler times that drives enthusiasts to spend months or years restoring their rigs?

Whatever it is, read on to discover more about classic and vintage caravans...

Buying a vintage caravan

Purchasing a classic caravan can be a big investment. Even if the initial outgoing doesn't break the bank, the time, energy, love (and money) you will put into restoring it can add up rapidly. Caravan World contributors Susan and Keith Hall have spoken to experts in vintage caravan restoration for top buying tips.

1. Look below the surface

Water damage can show as hairline cracks in the wall panelling, so drum your fingers on the panelling to see if there appears to be any separation of the layers of the ply, or if the ply feels spongy when you press on it.

2. Make sure it's legal

Registration requirements are different in different states, so make sure you check on these before you buy a caravan from interstate.

3. Be prepared for your project

Before you buy a vintage caravan recognise the limitations of your own DIY skills. Be realistic about what scale of project you can handle and seek advice from those more experienced.

View more vintage caravan buying tips >>

1950s vintage caravans 

If you're buying a 1950s caravan then check out caravans from the same era that have been restored by our readers. The caravan industry had never seen so much choice and variety as it did in the post-war era of the 1950s. Caravan makers experimented with new methods and materials, some of which were a success and others not so. Below we've highlighted retro rigs that have been updated by their owners...

1950s Rowvan caravan

This caravan has plenty of distinctive retro features, including a cute porthole window.

View Readers' Rig


1956 Supalite caravan

This lovingly-restored vintage caravan is named after its owner’s four-legged friend.

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1959 Sunliner caravan

This beach-themed vintage caravan has proven itself time and time again on the road.

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1950s Deejay caravan

This well preserved caravan is a testament to 1950s manufacturing technology.

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View more 1950s caravans >>

1960s vintage caravans 

Mass production and the international market transformed the caravan industry in the 1960s. This was also a time when caravan clubs and caravan publications became popular following the first International Caravan Show, which was held in 1959 at Earls Court in London. Take a look at some of the caravans that were created in the 1960s and have since been restored by Caravan World readers... 

1960s Globetrotter caravan

Careful restoration has given this vintage Globetrotter caravan a new lease on life.

View Readers' Rig


1960s Roadmaster caravan

A beautifully restored Roadmaster Luxury Liner is the perfect vintage caravan for a weekend getaway.

View Readers' Rig 

View more 1960s caravans >>

Readers' rigs

Caravan World readers share their photos and stories about their pride and joy. Check out these marvellous vintage caravans (and their tow vehicles) from around Australia.

View Readers' Rigs >>


Top 10 vintage caravans gallery

Do you love vintage caravans? Check out photos of retro caravans lovingly restored by Caravan World readers who have made retro rigs their pride and joy.

View top 10 vintage caravans gallery >>

Vintage caravan blogs

The history of caravan ensuites

If you think that ensuite bathrooms are a new addition to caravans, you’re wrong!

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Vintage caravan crockery

Crockery in a vintage van can be as old and collectable as the van itself.

View vintage caravan crockery blog


Retro Teardrop caravan

Teardrops were very popular in the late 1940s and early 1950s, but this one is a little more modern.

View vintage teardrop caravan blog



1950s vintage caravans

Keith and Susan Hall discover a “shipshape” custom-built retro van with a unique nautical past.

View 1950s vintage caravans blog

View the Caravan World blog >>


vintage caravans retro vintage caravan restoration