Our new caravan.
Now before I start enthusing about every single detail, I should say she isn't the caravan we intended to buy. We were looking for a 5 berth, with an end bedroom layout, so that we could make up permanent beds separate from the main seating/dining area. These are pretty handy when you have a toddler that needs to go to bed earlier than everyone else and an adult who likes to lay in later than everyone else. And besides, I'm a bit lazy and would prefer not to make up beds every night only to put them away again every morning, as most caravanners do.
Our budget was limited - we needed to buy a car and a caravan from the cash we got for Barp - and as much as we were finding caravans within our price range (mostly early 90's models) none of them were doing it for us. We don't mind doing a bit of work, but most of them were just a bit 'meh' or needed too much of the wrong kind of work. We were preparing to up our budget a fraction, in the hope of getting a better caravan, but it would have to be a special one to bust out the extra cash. We don't need this caravan to live in permanently all year round, only during the summer months. Tom made the suggestion of a 3 berth caravan, and I poo-pooed the idea; it would have to be a pretty special caravan to make me want to make up beds every night.
And then we spotted this one.
I made Tom go over it with a fine tooth comb and give me all the reasons why we shouldn't buy it. After all, she was listed as a 2 berth, so we were already off to a bad start. After double checking several other caravans the dealer had in their yard, I came back to this one a 2nd time and confessed that yes, I had fallen in love with this caravan. And again insisted on hearing all the bad points.
This caravan had less bad points than all it's younger contenders. It also had many more good points than all it's younger contenders, despite the berth size. The most notable being that winning factor, whatever it is, that is enough to make you accept and live with all the bad points. Further more, she was at least half the price of all the younger contenders.. So she came home with us.
She's a 1980 Lynton Trident. We have all of the paperwork to go with her, including the last service record from 2 years ago. We were told she'd had only one previous owner from new, and had been sheltered in a barn for most of her life, which would explain the more than excellent condition.
Her interior is a late 70's decor; caravans are always at least 10 years behind everything else when it comes to style. And I loves me some proper 1970's styling.
Inside the drinks cabinet; the green velour trim is immaculate, and the mirror perfect. There's even a little light that comes on, much like a fridge light, when the door is opened. The same green velour trim lines the drawers and cupboards of this unit, and also the vanity unit to the top of the chest of drawers.
Overhead storage that runs the length of the caravan; every cupboard is spotlessly clean. Notice the little quater light windows above the cupboards - perfect for an extra bit of air.
The seating/dining area, with the table(s) stored away in the bathroom (that's where they'd be stowed for towing). There is a choice of 2 tables for different occasions. On top of the chest of drawers is a vanity unit, where the top lifts up to reveal a finished box and a full mirror inside the lid. The upholstery is spotless; even on the reverse side of the sofa cushions there are no marks or signs of wear.
Note also that she has aluminium venetian blinds *inside* the double glazed windows, on all windows except the main one at the front and on the door. They are fully functional, too. Lynton were one of the first manufacturers to use plastic double glazed windows, making them much lighter than the old style single glazed glass ones. Blinds inside the windows! Such a quirk!
Inside the door, with the kitchen to the left.
It's the little details that make this caravan that much more special. The makers considered it all; everything about this caravan tells you that it's a been thoughtfully and carefully made. And this up-close-and-personal you can see how blemish-free she is, even after 32 years.
View towards the front end, with the drinks cabinet to the left. She's officially listed as a 2 berth, yet those sofa cushions fold down to make up a 6ft x 6ft bed, easily enough room for the 3 of us.
View towards the rear end, with the end kitchen. Even the oven is spotless inside, as if it's never been used. To the left of the kitchen, in the corner, is the shower and toilet compartments. Either the shower has been restored and re-lined in it's time or that too has never been used; it certainly looks authentic for the era.
(she will get a proper number plate.. that makeshift one that allowed us to legally tow her home). Notice all the original chrome details, such as the pulling handles and reflectors.
She still has the original mud flaps (which is quite an achievement for a 32 year old vehicle)
And yet more photos of the wheel arches... but you're getting the idea that she's as stylish on the outside as she is on inside?
So there we have our new caravan. As it is, sleeping 3 on those huge sofa cushions, she'll do us until we get back to Italy. We've hatched a plan to build a temporary bunk for Aran, one that wouldn't require much (if any) modification to the interior, so that we can at least have a little privacy. It will be a simple set up, much like the hammock style bunks of old caravans, which can easily be put up or down as we travel, and will span the width of the caravan across the front end. I'm already on the hunt for some chrome brackets that will keep with the style of the interior.
There's a small damp patch, a recent one as it hasn't stained yet, from a leak around the skylight. Tom will reseal that and prevent further damage. It's left a spongey patch around the skylight but it's impossible to find a caravan, even one half the age of this one, that hasn't had a leak at some point. As it hasn't stained and there's no visible mould, it will dry once resealed and be quite liveable. There are a few other tell tail signs of minor repairs, mostly to prevent damp or leaks, keeping the caravan well kept and in very, very good condition. She also came with her original awning, which we haven't unpacked or tested yet. If we stop somewhere more than 3 days, we always have that for extra space.
And yes, this is the condition she came to us in. We haven't cleaned her; we really don't need to.
Lynton manufactured caravans in Manchester, north west of England, until fairly recent times. They still produce boxes for trucks and vans (notibly BT boxes) and are rumoured to have gone out of business with building caravans because they simply put in too many extras for the price. They were the Rolls Royce of caravans, and models are hard to find these days, especially ones as well cared for as this.
Originally we had planned to re-upholster, as we were expecting to get something that really wasn't to our taste. Yet with this one, we're tempted to leave her as she is. She certainly doesn't need re-upholstering, and I'm not sure my skills are up to the job; if we did anything to this caravan wrongly or poorly, it would surely be a disservice. We also thought we'd be redecorating our new caravan, as typical caravan interiors are really not to our liking. And yet again, with not even a blemish to the woodwork, we're wanting to leave her as she is. Yes, she is a bit brown. And yes, she is so very 1970's. And that's all fine!
Because, you see, when she's not our touring caravan for running around to the various shows across the UK, she will be my office. And I think this is about as cool as an office can get.
Let it not be said that we don't like our vehicles to be interesting..