Peter Kyle and Alfie Fulljames are veteran fans of vintage caravans and have bought and restored numerous classics. Based in Suffolk, their caravans can be hired for a timeless getaway. We caught up with the pair to find out everything you need to know before you think about buying a vintage caravan.
What is the appeal of vintage caravans?
I think for us, we were looking for a more comfortable way of camping, and Alfie wanted something to make her mark on. We were lucky that we were buying before vintage caravans became really trendy.
Do you have a favourite era?
The late 1960s to early 1970s. Certainly, they have to be aluminium.
Why do you think they’re becoming so popular?
They are easy to make your own. You can add a few personal touches and it’s as simple as that, or go to town and do a full restoration.
As they’re quite old vans, what do you need to be aware of if you’re thinking of buying?
Rot and damp are big problems. Water gets in through the seals and causes havoc. Sellers are not always aware either so make sure you check thoroughly. Chassis needs to be checked, so if you are not sure take someone who is! Same applies for brakes and tyres.
Exterior electrics are often broken so take a lighting board if you going to look at one. Interior electrics are likely to need checking and possibly replacing. Gas appliances are extremely important. We have none as we are not experts and faulty gas equipment can easily kill.
Are they easy to renovate?
If you have space, tools, patience and good carpentry and paint skills it’s a breeze. If you just want somewhere to enjoy you can make a palace with a paintbrush.
What’s a ballpark figure for a vintage van needing renovation?
They are harder to get nowadays, so you should expect to pay at least £500 for one that needs work.
As they’ve grown in popularity, are good vans now harder to find – where do you go?
They are harder to find now. Obviously there is a finite amount of vans available and more people wanting them. Online there are lots of vans but best prices are to be found by looking in your local area.
Are they easy to maintain or, like classic cars, need specialist knowledge?
Once they are fixed up it is just basic maintenance and repairs. If they are towed a lot the running gear needs checking regularly. Things like floors wear out but are relatively easy to fix.
Briefly describe what they’re like to stay in?
A cosy tardis! Everything is at hand, but they are not ideal for people who enjoy swinging cats!
We’ve had a very elderly lady stay in one of our vans, so they really are for anyone. The beds are fine for anyone of average height, but not so comfortable for the very tall!