Posts Tagged ‘classic’

It’s What Lies Beneath

January 12, 2011

JARED MORGAN – The Southland Times

They hark back to a time when holidaying was done at a different pace, but sometimes the retro beauty of a caravan is only skin deep, according to Otatara businessman David Horsham.

Mr Horsham, who runs DH Caravan Repairs Ltd, said as the holiday season wound down it was the perfect time to check the bones of caravans.

“By the time you see any sign of a leak, it’s too late.”

Most of his six-year-old business is removing the outer shell of caravans to expose the often rotten wooden frame underneath.

It was a common problem people were not aware of, Mr Horsham said.

Most mass production of caravans stopped in New Zealand in the early 1980s, meaning maintenance, particularly of the joins in a caravan’s shell that potentially leak, was becoming increasingly important.

The only way effectively to ensure the joints were watertight was to remove and reseal them, he said.

“It’s about preventive maintenance … we had one caravan brought in that had broken at each corner after hitting a pothole. The frame had rotted and the impact broke its back.”

The work cost up to $1000 to fix a rotted-out corner but, in some cases, the extent of the hidden rot meant a complete rebuild, Mr Horsham said.

And it was at the rebuild and custom-build stage that his business came into its own, he said.

“We pride ourselves on doing things that are a bit outside the square.”

That included projects, such as building a replica classic “teardrop” caravan, through to complete restoration.

Teardrop caravans first appeared in the 1930s. Their popularity soared in the late 1940s, fuelled by plenty of war surplus aluminum.

At the restoration stage, most work involved stripping a caravan back to parts because of the way they were built, Mr Horsham said.

“If you liken it to a house, a caravan is built back-to-front.”

That meant much of the interior including floor coverings was fitted before the outer shell of the caravan, he said.

One of his latest projects was restoring a 1961 Starliner from the ground up, keeping as much of its original chrome and Formica interior fittings intact as possible.

Mr Horsham said word of mouth meant his customers came from across New Zealand and internationally.

“Mine and my father’s name is pretty well known.”

His father operated a similar business from Ryal Bush for 25 years, before retiring 11 years ago, he said.

“That was pretty much my apprenticeship. Every time I went home at the weekend it was ‘hey lad you’ve come at the right time’,” he said.

Original article


Vintage Trailers Invade Old Town this Weekend

September 24, 2010

If you have ever been seduced by the siren call of the road, this weekend you’ll get a chance to see how the early nomads of the highways found comfort as they traveled. Some 35 old-school trailers will be setting up an overnight camp in the Juror’s parking lot at Auburn Folsom Rd. and Lincoln Way for Old Town Auburn’s Vintage Trailer Classic.


This free event will be open on Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and all trailers will be open for viewing. The show is sponsored by the Old Town Business Association and Carpe Vino, and will include more than a dozen Airstream trailers, the iconic “silver bullet” rigs that first appeared on American highways in the 1930s. Other fully restored trailers include brands such as Shasta, Boles Aero, Silver Streak, Argosy, Streamline, Airfloat and many more.

“So many people love these old rigs,” said Gary Moffat, organizer of the event, “and this is an unusual opportunity to get an up-close look at a wide spectrum of restored trailers, many of which are more than 50 years old.”

The oldest trailer on display is a 1937 Gypsy Caravan Teardrop, a compact little unit with just enough room to sleep two adults, with a pop-up kitchen unit. In contrast, a 2010 American Teardrop from American River Sales in Auburn will set up.

For more information, go to

Original Article

Cruising in Philomath

July 6, 2010

by Gail Cole, Gazette-Times Reporter

Growing up in Albany, Benton County Commissioner Linda Modrell always had an eye for cars — and the young men who drove them.

“It didn’t matter if he was cute; all that mattered is if he had a good car,” she said.

Modrell put that longtime interest in impressive cars to good use Saturday as a judge for the Philomath Classic Car Show in Philomath City Park.

Nearly 200 classic cars, trucks and motorcycles manufactured between 1900 and 1980 vied for the top prize in 40 categories at the Philomath Chamber of Commerce’s 14th-annual event.

Scott Bay of Albany brought his classic

Mustang with a 1965 teardrop trailer replica, a display that has won him 10 awards at local car shows.

“Nobody else has the trailer,” he said.

Though it appeared compact, the 6-foot-tall Bay said he could sleep in his trailer.

Sue Thompson and her husband, Terry, of Albany brought three vehicles to the show: a flame-adorned 1951 Chevy pickup, a blue 1966 Mustang, and a 1965 kid-sized Mustang pedal car. Thompson bought the tiny Mustang on eBay, but said anyone who bought a Mustang in the mid-1960s could buy the pedal car through Ford.

The miniature Mustang wasn’t the only unique sight at their camp. A drive-in food tray-complete with a plastic hamburger-was perched on the blue car’s door. The pedal car and food tray accompany the Thompsons to the car shows they visit around the state.

“That poor hamburger has been everywhere,” Thompson said.

The Thompsons bought the Mustang nine years ago, and have pieced it back together with stock parts to make it just like it looked like when it came off the assembly line.

“This is the first car I wanted when I was growing up,” Thompson said. “Back then, my dad said no.”

While the Mustang is filled with authentic parts, the five-window modified Chevy with no trailer hitch is no longer used on a farm.

“That truck’s not hauling anything,” Thompson said.

Proceeds from the show — made up of  entrants’ $20 registration fees — will go to the Philomath Chamber of Commerce, the Philomath High School drag racing team and other local nonprofit organizations.

Contact reporter Gail Cole at 541-758-9518 or at