NO MATTER where Alan Stevens travels, it always feels like home.
That’s because the camping enthusiast from Eaglehawk has an impressive collection of vintage camping vehicles, but none more distinctive than his 1952 Austin Loadmaster motorhome.
The vehicle is certain to catch the crowd’s attention when it appears at the VACC Centennial Cavalcade and Show ‘n Shine in Bendigo later this month, an event that will celebrate the formation of VACC in Bendigo in September 1918.
Alan and his wife, Christine Stevens, purchased the motorhome around 20 years ago and are the third owners.
The vehicle was originally purchased as a forward-control rolling chassis by electrical engineer, Arnold Bray. Mr Bray built the body by adding parts from other vehicles to his own custom fabrication work. The front is from an International bull nose truck and the front doors are modified FJ Holden items, while the structure features aluminium sheeting on aircraft framing.
An unusual-looking ‘boot’, which house a 240-volt generator and a portable washing machine, was also added. “It looks like a Chrysler Royal ran into the back of it,” said Mr Stevens.
For it to be a true home away from home, Mr Bray fitted a shower, toilet, wash basin, and cocktail cabinet, along with a kerosene hot water heater and kerosene fridge (both since converted to gas). Other comforts included a radio, black and white TV, lights, full-size home kitchen stove, hairdryer, iron, fan, vacuum and a film projector, which was used to show slides at outback stations.
Mr Bray and his wife Alma christened the vehicle with a trip to Tasmania in November 1959 and later spent four years touring Australia.
An upholsterer by trade, Mr Stevens has restored the vehicle and upgraded some of the mechanical and camping equipment without losing the vehicle’s charm.
“I’ve always been good with my hands and I’ll have a crack at anything,” he said. He even repainted the body using Mr Bray’s original brush technique, a task that cost just $100.
Mr Stevens has taken the vehicle to Broken Hill and Alice Springs but is looking forward to driving it closer to home in the VACC event. “I’m tickled pink to have a place in the event as the vehicle is certainly a piece of motoring history,” he said.
The VACC Centennial Cavalcade and Show ‘n Shine from 12pm-4pm on Saturday 22 September in the Bendigo Town Hall precinct.
The free event will showcase up to 200 vehicles, while the VACC Centennial Cavalcade will feature 100 different automobiles from 100 different years driving from Melbourne to Bendigo.
Vintage work vehicles to make the Calder cavalcade
George Dawson has been surrounded by commercial vehicles all his life.
The Bendigo resident obtained his first truck in 1950, running it twice weekly between Raywood and Bendigo as a general carrier. Three years later, Mr Dawson and his father successfully tendered for a school bus contract at Raywood.
With help from retired panel beater Ian Rye, Mr Dawson has lovingly restored two vehicles to participate in the VACC Centennial Cavalcade and Show ’n Shine in Bendigo later this month.
‘Legendary’ Alvis 12/50 roadster to go on show for cavalcade
AS A QANTAS pilot, Peter Miller is used to operating modern, sophisticated machinery, but since retiring nine years ago he’s found more time to pursue one of his other great passions, vintage cars.
Mr Miller, of New Gisborne, is the proud owner of a rare 1925 Alvis 12/50 roadster and is looking forward to participating in the VACC Centennial Cavalcade and Show ’n Shine.
“I’ve owned Alvis cars for quite some time but the 12/50 is legendary, it’s just an absolutely fabulous motor car and I’ve always wanted one. They are very hard to find so when it came on the market I didn’t hesitate,” he said.
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