We’ve all been driving on the highway when something cute catches our eye. It causes a serious case of rubbernecking until it is nothing but a blur in your rear view mirror. It’s one of those too-cool-for-school vintage caravans, being towed by either a hotted-up Landcruiser or a too-small Hyundai i30, on their way to some organic craft market or hobby rally.
It’s not just the grey nomads loving caravans – younger hipsters are spending their weekends fitting out their retro vans with op-shop bargains and restoration centre finds. After months of hard work they are fist-pumping when they get the chance to post their before and after pics to Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. This is resulting in a huge increase in ‘cool’ when it comes to caravans and we want to see more.
These vintage caravans aren’t just for camping adventures. They are a versatile little accessory with their owners using them to start all sorts of business ventures. Even the latest hipster hotel in Melbourne, the Notel, consists of six vintage Airstream caravans set in an unlikely location – the rooftop of a two-storey car park.
Vans are also a key part of the street food culture with portable coffee shops, burger joints and donut vans growing by the dozen at local markets and events. You may even see a vintage caravan front and centre at the next wedding you attend, a mobile bar delivering cocktails for guests. They’re also being fitted out as clothing or accessories stores (dressing room and all).
Although you may think a 1968 Yellowstone camper might be a catch to restore, it’s important to think practically in terms of costs. Buyers beware – the significant restorations required may not be worth the investment and time.
Here’s a sneaky tip: buy a new van that looks old from one of the specialist custom design caravan companies that design and build new ‘vintage’ caravans. While it may not be as authentic as a swinging ’60s van, it will go the miles you intended without all the heartbreak and hassle of an old bomb.
Image credit: Paul Lewin.