The annual Cruise Martinborough event is a fun few days here in town. The Rock and I both love the sound of a deep, throaty V8 motor rumbling past the house, and we enjoy heading to the rugby grounds along the road each day for muster, before the 350+ cars (this year) head off to a venue around the beautiful Wairarapa region for a day of cruising, and eating great food while listening to music at stunning venues, both rural and on the great South Wairarapa coastline.
For the purposes of this magazine we are always on the lookout for RVs with a story; popular at the present time are classic cars paired with a paint and era-matched caravan of some description. This year two beauties were stars of the Martinborough event.
In this issue we feature a 1956 Hillman Husky van with a hand-built Teardrop camper inspired by the original plans from a 1947 edition of Popular Mechanic magazine. At that time, returning GIs would build them out of wood or aircraft aluminium, achieving a light, compact camper that could be towed economically around the country, often doing the classic Route 66 road trip. The idea quickly spread worldwide.
The camper classification is quite right for this model built by Steve: traditionally a bed on wheels with a rear galley, this one has a sink and running water, hot water, portable BBQ, outside shower if required, and enough cupboards for the necessities. Steve would love to build a 1930s style caravan. Tiny 1950s camping trailers cannot comply with self containment but Steve and Nicki don’t mind they love the more traditional basic camping experience. That’s not to say they haven’t put some technology into this model that wouldn’t have been there in 1947, such as LED lighting and a USB charger that Nicki can use to run a 12V hair dryer and charge the laptop, powered by a lithium 100Ah house battery. Plus they have a solar blanket that they carry in a owner-made replica 1890s sea chest that sits on the tow bar of the camper. The look of solar panels on the vehicle did not fit the 1950s brief for the couple, so a solar blanket is a great option for them and works well; driving the vehicle also charges the house battery.
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