Forty retro and vintage caravans converged on the Coromandel Peninsula in mid-May for the first big rally of the New Zealand Retro Car and Caravan Club. Considering the time of year and the iffy forecast it was an amazing turnout. The weather gods supplied plenty of sun over the Friday and Saturday and a few showers on Sunday didn’t dampen the spirits whatsoever. The rally was held at the Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park, a great camp with excellent amenities and, of course, the fabulous beach and its hot pools that many members enjoyed.

Jon and Marlene’s Anglo Imp. Winner of the Top 10 pick

The caravans ranged in age from 1950 through to 1980. Most were fully restored, some were still being restored but obviously usable, and others were in beautiful original condition. There were a number of Liteweights: four from the 1970s; a 1962 Silver Planet and two Kiwis from the 1950s. Anglos, Zephyrs and CI Munro caravans were well represented along with Classics, Levin Oxfords and a Gypsy. A couple of very early Homebuilts from the 1950s were present along with Alphas, a solitary Cresta Craft and many other brands. It was really nice to see five Lilliputs, three of which were rare 12-footers, along with three fibreglass Caravelles. Both brands are beautiful looking caravans.

Vintage caravans nestled in the Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park

The oldest caravan was a 1950 Liteweight Kiwi 10-footer owned by club member Dave McRobbie from Caravan and Motorhome World. Dave loves vintage caravans and has a collection of them in various states of restoration. This Kiwi was originally found half hidden in undergrowth on a sloping section at Aotea on the West Coast just south of Raglan. Extraction proved a challenge as did the restoration, as the little Kiwi was a wreck. Over a three-year period Dave restored it to as close to original as possible even down to the exterior colour. With a new drawbar, new frame, new interior linings, new exterior side skins, and new furniture built using old photos as a guide, it was not a job for the faint-hearted but the end result speaks for itself.

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