Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Commer Caravan - 1964 Rootes Camper

The seller starts off his eBay listing with this sentence: "Now for something completely different!!!"

Yep.

The Commer van was introduced in 1960. It originally came with Rootes' 1494cc 4 cylinder engine. The engines got bigger over the years and this van, being a 1964, has a 1592cc engine in it. Top speed is around 70 MPH. The transmission is a 4 speed manual.

This one is a left hand drive camper conversion. (Or Caravan, as they call them in the UK.)

According to Commervanfan.co.uk, at one point there were around 24 companies converting Commer vans into campers and specialty vehicles. I can't tell from the pictures what company converted this one.

This is a remarkable survivor. I have to think that very few of these found their way to North America to begin with, and of the few that did, most have most likely gone the ashes to ashes, rust to rust route.

This is really not in bad shape. The body is complete and, given its age, amazingly rust free. The same dry Southern California heat that kept the body so nice has taken its toll on the interior, but it's complete and includes a camper stove. Mechanically, the seller says it "starts, stops and steers." All things considered, it doesn't appear to be a really tough restoration job.

This is probably not the best camper to take on a long distance camping trip, but it would be great to take to a British car show or on camping trips close to home. (Being a Massachusetts guy, I'm thinking that this would be perfect to take to Lime Rock's Vintage Fall Festival. Imagine the looks on the other camper's faces when you rolled up in this!)

Located in San Diego, CA, click here to see the eBay listing.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

.... any time i see one of these all I see is that creepy priest from Red Riding Trilogy (great movie btw)

Blair Russell said...

I can't say I've ever heard or seen this van before, but I'm glad at least one survived in America. What a wacky yet awesome vehicle.

Anonymous said...

Slight correction, we don't call them caravans over here, they're campers or campervans. To us a caravan is towed behind a car - I think you call them camping trailers?
Anyway, a Commer is vastly superior to the VW camper in every way except access to aftermarket goodies.