This eye-catching 1914 Ford Model T Motor Caravan – which has been called the “oldest known motor caravan” – was auctioned by Bonhams at the National Motor Museum in Beauleau on 10th September, selling for £63,250 inc. premium. This was more than double the pre-sale estimate of £20,000-£30,000.
The vehicle had previously been described by the auction house as being “based on a Ford Model T chassis, extended and strengthened by Baico”, while it also has a body which has been constructed by “Dunton of Reading, a company famous for their high quality traditional travellers’ caravans”.
The stunning ‘van certainly has an interesting history, as befits the oldest known motor caravan. It was initially constructed for a member of the Bentall family, before it is believed to have been sold at some point during the 1920s.
It must have been abandoned at some stage over the following decades, as it subsequently turned up in the 1970s in Shepperton, where it was discovered in a derelict state. It was during the 70s that Leo Smith and his friend Robin Tanner restored the vehicle, in the process finding out that over 95% of the original body timbers could be reused.
Since its restoration, the vehicle has appeared at numerous historic vehicle shows, including the HCVC London-Brighton Run in 1976, where it won seven awards.
The vehicle offers four berths and is nicely insulated, thanks to its all-timber body. A ‘van with such a stylish exterior needs an interior to match, and it certainly delivers. Features including a polished pine floor, green velvet curtains and what is described as a “deep-buttoned leather bench with integral storage box”. It also comes with a wood-burning stove which can be used for cooking and heating.
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