Retro Van Number 3

Continuing on in the series of our caravan progressions, by mid-2013 we were on the lookout for another upgrade of caravan. One thing that can always be an issue in a caravan is finding the right layout and a particular bug bear can be where you sleep. One thing we had decided was that the next van had to have an island bed and be not so, well….orange as the Avondale.  Apart from that, we were still happy generally with the old vans so the search began for a change and perhaps something a little newer than the current 1975 van.

After a while of searching for second hand vans online and keeping an eye open for both layout and price that would suit us, we found our next caravan. This one was a 1976 Franklin Arrow, well we had bought a newer van, by a year. This van was in pretty good condition inside, a little heavy handed on the darker wood panelling, but it had been looked after very well and didn’t have any obvious water damage which a lot of older vans can have.  No sunglasses needed inside this time, as far as 70’s vans go this one was pretty inoffensive with its colour scheme.

For our purposes of frequent small trips away, with room to sit inside if the weather wasn’t good this one fit the bill. It was the right size, around 18 foot, and had plenty of storage inside, a good oven, decent size small fridge, the island bed we were after and air conditioning.  Everything we needed for our future holidays.

The Avondale caravan was sold, but we did keep the annexe as it was the best we’d ever had and was huge enough to store all the Engel fridge, fishing rods and more and still be a spare bedroom for our, by now, adult children (and friends) to use if they wanted to visit us on holidays.

We also had a new family member with Neo kelpie joining us on holidays from now on too. Like our caravans he was second hand and not completely perfect either.  Neo is the first rescue dog we have owned and although he has some leg issues he fitted in with the caravan holidaying lifestyle very easily.  In fact we adopted him just days before going on a holiday for a month to a beachside location and he probably believed that it was home!

This caravan suited us for three years before it too was sold and we had a radical upgrade by getting our current van in 2015, a 24 Jayco Sterling, but yes it is used one.

To anyone starting out in caravanning I would really recommend beginning with a little old van, they are great for working out the bugs of what you do or don’t like and what you want in future caravans and they are pretty easy to find and sell again when they’ve served their purpose.  I don’t think there’s a better way to take a family away on holidays and introducing kids to a great lifestyle.


Just go caravan or camping!




12 thoughts on “Retro Van Number 3

  1. We tented in our younger days. When we retired we decided to dip our toes into caravanning with a Windsor pop top. Great little van with an excellent layout. We fell instantly in love with caravanning but knew that to do lots of it we’d need a bathroom. An 18.5ft Grant Tourer fits our needs well and certainly handles our lifestyle. Short enough to find great spots and long enough to live in for a few months at a time.

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    1. Yes I’m sold on the bathroom that’s for sure and can’t see us going back now. I’d be happier with a shorter van but husband loves the room that’s afforded in the current van and it’s proved itself after our 3 month trip where we lived very comfortably and didn’t bump into each other. We’ll see what the future holds.


      1. We find that 3 months is our limit. I can’t decide whether it’s dictated by size or just that we’re ready for a bit of home time or just adventured out and need a bit of down time. Mind you we always suffer a week of depression once we arrive home. ‘Grrrr what are we doing here?’ I have a dose of it now 😳

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      2. I like the sound of 3 months away at a time too but we are struggling for 3 days at the moment. After our 3 months away I think I was ready again after a week at home. Lots of smaller trips keeps me sane!


  2. We’re onto our third van now, plus several camper trailers and tents. The first van was an early 80s Windsor pop top. We recovered the seats and made new curtains with pelmetsfor it. It looked a treat. The second was our second hand fifth wheeler which was our home for over two years – lovedthat too. Now we’ve treated ourselves to a new New Age Manta Ray, only 16feet in length and guess what, We love that too. I guess we just the camping lifestyle. I’d have loved to gut and completely re-vamp an old van, but there wasn’t interest from my other half.

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    1. Well done, I think you’re right if you love the lifestyle anything is perfect to get you out there. I love the shape of the old vans but want the mod cons inside. Someone will put the two together one day probably.

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    1. Great way to see the country Carol. We searched online too to find our vans. When it’s a big purchase it pays to look interstate too. If you’re prepared to travel the deals and choices can be better. 👍


      1. We couldn’t find what we wanted in SA but when we looked further afield we found many more vans for sale on the east coast. Ours eventually came from the Gold Coast region in Queensland.

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