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Our 1962 Prototype Folding Camper

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    Our 1962 Prototype Folding Camper

    This is our 1962, one off prototype Folding Camper which we have named Herbert. We think of him as a folding camper rather than a folding caravan as the roof is canvas.

    Although he is a one off he is not a home built DIY effort he was constructed as a prototype for the Everyman trailer company, an old English firm who became part of Conway in the 70's.

    Herbert was designed to be Everyman's rival to the Dandy folding camper but the specifications demanded that the unit should be faster to put up and down than the Dandy, have a greater degree of luxury inside and also contain an internal toilet compartment. All of this was achieved, however the resulting cost meant that Herbert was not a realistic prospect for production as the purchase price would have been very high.

    The design works extremely well being easier and quicker to put up and down than most modern folding campers and contains a remarkable amount of space inside.

    He is built on a standard horsebox chassis but the running gear was upgraded to use hubs, wheels and brakes from the Austin Mini at some point in the eighties. He has also been wired for 240v hook up at some point in the recent past.

    We acquired Herbert in 2009 and treated him to a rewire, new tyres, a new front box and a lick of paint inside and out but other than that he remains pretty much as he was constructed in '62.

    We only go to sites with loos as neither of us are very keen on porterloos so the wash compartment is instead used as an extension of the kitchen, containing a freestanding camping sink and we use a battery powered submersible pump from Maplins as a tap. The two ring burner is the original Tilley item which we think has been in place since he was built.

    The two bench seats can either be used as 2 comfortable single beds or else you can put boards between them to create a massive double (actually more of a treble or even quadruple bed, its huge!).

    He is remarkably comfortable when erected but incredibly light to tow and manoeuvre. We love him to bits.

    Cheers
    Attached Files
    Better a rainy day on the hill than a sunny day in the office!

    #2
    Huff,
    What a fantastic and of course, unique rig you've got there......A warm welcome to the site too, look forward to meeting you and possibly seeing Herbert!
    At work so being double quick
    Andyvan:so happy:

    Comment


      #3
      Oh wow. Looks fantastic.

      Oh, and welcome to the forum. I think you will find many kindred spirits here.
      Carpe diem! :)

      Comment


        #4
        What a lovely unit! The shape of the roof reminds me of the old wooden gypsy caravans! Nice to say hello and hope to meet you sometime soon - we have a meet coming up tomorrow (short notice and some are already there! LOL) to Bala if you look in the Fancy Meeting Up section of the forum, and others besides!

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for the nice comments, a forum meet up sounds great but tomorrow is too short notice im afraid. We are only just back from a week away in Wales.

          Few more pictures of Herbert as he looks now.





          Last edited by Rob B; 12-06-2012, 20:32.
          Better a rainy day on the hill than a sunny day in the office!

          Comment


            #6
            And a few piccies of my classic Triumph Dolomite which will be Herberts tow car once I have completed the restoration (nearly there)







            Better a rainy day on the hill than a sunny day in the office!

            Comment


              #7
              Oooh, lovely!

              Comment


                #8
                Herbert and his tug look fabulous, hope to see him live one day.
                derek b and Babs

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hello and welcome

                  I love the pics of Herbert... he looks great and the Triumph Dolomite bought back many memories for me, as it was the first car I ever owned but mine was brown.

                  Happy camping
                  Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see :)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Valentine View Post
                    Hello and welcome

                    I love the pics of Herbert... he looks great and the Triumph Dolomite bought back many memories for me, as it was the first car I ever owned but mine was brown.

                    Happy camping
                    So many brown Dolomites, seems it was the most popular colour!

                    I have grown up with Triumphs in the same way I have grown up with camping and caravanning. Most of my childhood memories are of camping at classic car shows so it was inevitable that I would own Triumphs and go camping, I was doomed from the start!

                    So far this year we have used Herbert for a short break in February (it snowed!) and a lovely week away in Wales in May (picked the right week, weather was fantastic) and we hope to use him once more before the autumn. Ordinarily we would use him a lot more and get several trips in the tent in as well but we are expecting our first child in November of this year which has rather limited our camping opportunities. Partly because we are desperately trying to finish decorating the house before baby comes and partly because my wife has just been too tired to contemplate additional trips.
                    Better a rainy day on the hill than a sunny day in the office!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I have a strong liking for these canvas topped campers,when I was a child in Bicester my uncle Joe Bourne who was a farm laborer,ditch digger,hedge brusher,pig killer,bodger,horse trader etc etc, used to select and sell chestnut trunks to the family in bicester who made covered wagons for the traders/travellers.the trunks were rived into palings then steam bent into big hoops to make the supports for the walls and roof of the vans(vardos) that were then covered in two layers of heavy canvas and painted,usually black.Sometimes painted with bitumastic paint from the Brumm gas works.
                      Young men sow wild oats.Old men grow sage.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Really pleased that you all like our little Herbert. Obviously he attracts attention wherever he goes. When we pitch up on site we inevitably attract a crowd of onlookers who are usually flabbergasted by how quickly he goes up and also because he erects back to front compared to most folding caravans/campers with the side walls going up first and then the end walls.

                        I was a little nervous when we first got him that sites would not be happy with us camping in him because from a distance he does resemble a gypsy bow top and also just because he is old and well used. A friend of ours was turned away from a campsite because their elderly campervan was "not the kind of unit we want here" but touchwood we have never experienced anything like that.

                        The next problem of course is that with a baby on the way we are eventually going to struggle for bed space in Herbert. It won't be a problem initially as we can utilise the bunks as 2 single beds with the baby between us in a moses basket. As baby becomes a toddler we can make up the king size bed and there will be plenty of room for the 3 of us in our sleeping bags (it makes a huge bed) but obviously the kid will reach an age where that wont be appropriate any longer and we will then be faced with a problem.

                        We have a freestanding Khyam garden shelter that we use as an awning for longer trips so the simplest solution is to put an inner tent inside that to provide additional berths. Thats fine to a point except that we mostly use Herbert for late and early season camps when the weather is poor so whoever sleeps out in the awning is not seeing the benefit of having the camper, effectively the same as camping in the tent. The other thing is a lot of sites are charging extra for awnings now which adds to our costs and for short breaks do I really want the hassle of pitching the awning, especially if I then have to take it home wet?

                        We could always sell Herbert and invest in a bigger unit but id be loathed to do that. What could we buy that would compare to Herbert? and more than that how do you price something that is totally unique?

                        So what I have considered is buying another period tow car, be it a classic estate car, a land rover or a classic van and converting it into a sleeping unit. This wouldnt be a full on camper as we have all the seating, cooking and washing facilities that we need in Herbert, it would simply have to have an additional bed.

                        Not something I need to worry about for a few years yet but will certainly be keeping it in mind.
                        Better a rainy day on the hill than a sunny day in the office!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Managed to put Herbert up this weekend for the first time since we went to Wales in May. We had packed up in a bit of a rush and it was just spotting with rain, hardly anything at all but obviously enough to wet the roof as when we took the cover off on Sunday we were greeted with an unpleasant sight - Herberts roof is normally white but had turned almost totally black with mildew....... Happily the thick PVC roof is stern stuff and it wiped off easily leaving no damage and the inside was dry as a bone and no nasty smells.

                          We had not intended to leave it so long before putting him up but a combination of bad weather, being very busy at work, car troubles and just plain exhaustion meant that it just didnt happen until now.

                          It doesnt seem likely that we will use Herbert again this year so we have emptied out all the gear and started to winterise him. Before I lay him up finally for the winter though I have identified a few urgent jobs which I hope to complete whilst the weather is good (if it holds!). As I have mentioned on other threads the window runners need removing and fresh sealant put in to keep them watertight. I have done one side but need to do the other. I have also noticed that the back chassis rail has developed some surface rust, nothing serious, lots of good metal still there but I want to get it sanded down, treated and painted to keep it that way. I think the brakes will need a service before we use him again and I also need to replace a broken cover clip on the outside.

                          Still not doing badly for a 50 year old van.
                          Better a rainy day on the hill than a sunny day in the office!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Huff View Post

                            The next problem of course is that with a baby on the way we are eventually going to struggle for bed space in Herbert. It won't be a problem initially as we can utilise the bunks as 2 single beds with the baby between us in a moses basket. As baby becomes a toddler we can make up the king size bed and there will be plenty of room for the 3 of us in our sleeping bags (it makes a huge bed) but obviously the kid will reach an age where that wont be appropriate any longer and we will then be faced with a problem.

                            .
                            My Grandson is now 9 years old and fast approaching the age where he doesn't want to share a bed with his Dad in his camper, so you've got at least 8-9 years before you need to do something! I would suggest an awning or small tent (or awning with sleeping compartment), attached but separate, so he/she can camp out but still be safe close by - and he/she might want to take a friend as well by then - great fun!!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by jayjay View Post
                              My Grandson is now 9 years old and fast approaching the age where he doesn't want to share a bed with his Dad in his camper, so you've got at least 8-9 years before you need to do something! I would suggest an awning or small tent (or awning with sleeping compartment), attached but separate, so he/she can camp out but still be safe close by - and he/she might want to take a friend as well by then - great fun!!
                              Yeah we have thought about that but its not ideal. We have Herbert to enable early and late season camps when its colder, during the peak months we use the tent, so having to sleep outside the trailer in a little tent or awning defeats the object a bit. We have considered retiring Herbert to just show duties and investing in a high quality canvas tent instead.

                              But as you say isnt going to be an issue for a few year yet so will carry on as normal for now.
                              Better a rainy day on the hill than a sunny day in the office!

                              Comment

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