PIMP MY CARAVAN
You have had your Eureka moment love of vintage + events and fun+ dressing up + photography = vintage caravan photobooth, you have tracked down the caravan of your dreams now all you need to do is start your business, share the love and let the good times roll. Easy right?
Bringing your caravan home for the first time is not unlike bringing baby home from hospital a mixture of sheer and utter joy and mild terror wondering what you have taken on and where you are going to start. But newborn babies are generally not covered in a layer of grime of unknown origin and you can pick up a baby without fear that its leg might drop off. You never really know what you are letting yourself in for until you start to pull your caravan apart and that my friend is when the FUN starts.
Make your plan of action what needs doing, what materials you need, timescale, budget etc, etc
Rip up everything you decided on day one. Vintage caravans do not respect timescales or budgets!
There are two options when renovating caravans. Option One is the quicker, cheaper version where you basically install enough haberdashery in the interior to keep the WI going for a year. You also hope that the structural parts of your vintage lovely are so impressed with your interior design skills that the neglected axl and chassis decide not to part company at some future date while you are travelling down a motorway!
Option two involves too many hours to mention spent on parts of the caravan that no-one will ever see but are essential to the long term health of your van. Forget cushions and trims they are a long way off. Get used to spending hours on your back basically snacking on rust as you grind the rust off the bottom of the caravan before giving it a protective coating of rustoleum. When you are not working on the caravan you are researching where to get parts and how to carry out procedures like drilling out the rusted nails that are keeping the seals together and how to put capping on a vintage caravan window etc, etc.
If you are not prepared to get down and dirty this is not the project for you. But, I haven’t mentioned the brilliant part of restoring a vintage caravan. As well as the pleasure of getting to see something transform before your very own eyes you get to meet some amazing people. I have found vintage caravan enthusiasts to be generous with both their time and their advice and generally just lovely people.
The Haynes caravan manual is a good practical starting point for basics but be prepared to do additional research on the specifics of your particular make and model and this is where the internet and the lovely vintage enthusiasts come into their own. Facebook is a great source of advice and inspiration you can find groups about caravan makeovers, caravan breakers for parts and technical advice on the general caravan forums. Sharon at thehappycaravan.blogspot.co.uk is a professional vintage caravan restorer and offers great practical tips on her blog. Pinterest is an addictive source of images for caravan interiors and makeovers. Technical advice can sometimes be contradictory and what might work on one caravan might not work on another because of different materials and construction. Ultimately there is an element of just see what happens, luck and finding what works for you.