The 13th International Portafold & Ansfold Gathering) (i.e. 2022)

After setting a new world record of 63 last year, we'll be returning to the Newbury Retrofestival.

So put the dates 12th, 13th & 14th of August 2022 in your diary now and get those dates booked off work early.

Show Address: Newbury Showground, Priors Court, Hermitage, Thatcham, West Berkshire, RG18 9QZ

Don't book direct with the show organisers, just contact me (07771544419) to get your pitch saved.

Mini-Motel for sale - NOW SOLD

Items now sold.
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Mini-Motel for sale - NOW SOLD

Post by Admin » Thu, 14 Jul 2011, 9:35 pm

Due to the loss of my garage I am very reluctantly having to let my classic Mini-Motel caravan go to a new home; to someone who has the time spare to restore her to her former glory. Built between the years of 1959 and 1965 this is only 1 of 6 that I know of still in existence, so it's mega rare to find one that still all together and not in pieces. This caravan is the pre-cursor to the Portafold and Ansfold caravans, and is the sister caravan of the Sussex Two-some and is similar to the Sherman. The Portafold was designed to be a bigger version of the Mini-Motel, for people who wanted a bit more space.

A road test I've seen from a classic car magazine in the early 1960's was done with a Isetta bubble car so you can see that this is ideally suited to any size or power of car. It weighs 3.5cwt (less than 180kg) so it is even light enough to be towed by a Lambretta or Vespa scooter.

How else are you ever going to be able to have a classic caravan behind your classic scooter?

The basic glass fibre is in good condition, probably protected over the years by the coat of brown and white paint. It has a solid but rusty chassis, the A frame is in remarkably good condition (but obviously requires cleaning up, rubbing down, rust proofing and repainting). It has all the windows intact and complete, the original door handles and lock (no key), but the lock is a standard door lock so would be easily replaced after a trip to your local hardware store. All the wooden locker covers are with it. It now has new inner tubes and 8" trailer tyres fitted and I have towed it a short distance just the other day to bring it home from the garage it was stored in. All four corner legs have been stripped and greased up and all work fine. One of them could do with a new circular foot plate welded on it as it's rusted quite badly (but it still does the job it's meant to do).

The wooden rails that run around the bottom of the walls will need replacing on three of the sides (at some point) but they're good enough to make templates from and anyone with a modicum of woodworking skills would be able to plane some wood into the slightly curved shaped needed to replace the battens. The internal wooden part of the door (that the door catch sits in) is also rather spongy as well, but again, once you've taken off the fibre board panelling the section of wood will be easy to access and no doubt easy to replicate. You have to remember, these are not sophisticated caravans. They have outer skins of glass fibre and assorted pieces of wood to screw fittings, hinges and catches to. As easy a restoration as you're going to find really.

It does have the later style 2" (not the 1950's style 1.5") tow hitch so it will fit on the modern size tow balls. The over run brakes don't work as the hitch is stuck and will need a bucket load of penetrating oil and probably a good strip down so it moves back and forth again. Also, the cable which connects the hitch to the brake drums has rusted away so that needs replacing as well. Once that's done the handbrake can be made to work as well. Once of course you've had a look at the brakes in the drums...

The wheels are split rims so to fit the tyres and inner tubes (and to get to the brake shoes) you have to undo about 12 nuts on each wheels, which then releases half of the wheel and the other half stays on the hub.

I spent just over an hour the other day stripping most of the paint off one side so you can see the cream coloured GRP under the layers of paint. This once it's T-cut and polished will look great and should avoid having to have it repainted.

To see what it can look like when restored, you really need to watch the video on YouTube (the link further up the listing) or see the 3 pictures right at the bottom of this posting.

It has been fixed in the up position. It has strips covering the joints on the outside and thin fibre board panelling on the inside. I've taken some of the panelling off one of the inside walls to see the condition of wall internals. It will have to be trailered away as I can't vouch for the wheel bearings or anything like that. I've just fitted the new tyres and inner tubes but I couldn't be sure you'd get it home safe. As it's so small though it'll fit on a small plant trailer so it'll be easy to get home. I hired a trailer for £25 when I collected it.

It's 6' 8" long, 5' wide and the A frame is 1' 7" long, and it has 5' 9" of headroom inside. Oh, and the floor is designed to be used as a bath. Even big modern caravans don't have a bath!

This is how it looks now after a good jet washing:
This is what one side looks like after I've stripped most of the the paint off half of it (still needs tidying up):
In this picture you can see where someone has filled in the recess where the half-moon side wall lifting handle should be:
Inside you can see the internal panelling that someone has fitted. This will have to be removed if you want to fold it down in the future.
This is the side where I've removed the panelling to see the wall behind it:
The remarkably good condition A frame:
The strips that someone has covered the joints in the walls with:
The inside with the locker lids lifted off to vent the lockers:
The inside with the table fitted in place:
They've also fitted nicely varnished shelving around the top. Obviously, if you want to make it foldable again you'll have to remove all these though...
And some pictures of how a Mini-Motel can look when restored and being used:
Wanted: Any original Portafold, Ansfold or Mini-Motel brochures, adverts or magazine articles.
Also, any chassis numbers for the above caravans!

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