COMING TO AUCTION
WEDNESDAY 15th JULY 2015
EASTERS COURT, LEOMINSTER, WORCESTERSHIRE, HR6 0DE
1959 BEDFORD DORMOBILE
|Estimate||£6,000 - £7,000|
|Engine size||1,507 cc|
|Chassis No.||CAV 118981|
Established in 1930, Bedford Vehicles was a subsidiary of Vauxhall Motors (itself the British subsidiary of General Motors) that was dedicated to the production of commercial vehicles.
A key part of the GM Europe operation, the Bedford brand proved hugely popular and their range of lorries and light commercial vehicles established an enviable reputation for sturdiness and reliability. The CA range of light commercials was launched in 1952 and proved so successful that it remained in production right up until 1969.
With a distinctive pug-nosed front end and a goldfish-bowl windscreen, the CA was generally supplied as a light delivery van but was also sold in chassis cab form for conversion into a light truck. Early models had a 52bhp 1.5-litre engine but from 1964 this was replaced by a more powerful 1.6-litre unit from the Vauxhall Victor FB. Allied to a three- or four-speed gearbox this gave the CA a top speed of around 70mph.
Dover-based commercial coachbuilding firm, Martin Walter Ltd, had realised that many CAs were being used by travelling salesmen and delivery drivers who were sleeping in them overnight. They developed (and patented) the ‘Dormatic’ a clever folding seat arrangement that converted into a bed. They soon added a sink and gas stove before their master-stroke, the patented Dormobile pop-up roof which, with two bunks aloft, converted the small van into four-berth accommodation.
So popular was the Dormobile Camper concept that special trains were laid on to ship the base vehicles down to Kent for conversion, some 10,000 Dormobiles of all types leaving the works before the company folded in the mid ‘90s.
This 1959 CA Dormobile version has recently come into the hands of the vendor and is probably best described as shabby-chic. Fitted with a recent new clutch and stainless-steel exhaust, we are advised that it runs very sweetly and drives well, although there is insufficient paperwork to confirm whether the indicated mileage of 62,000 is correct.
An attractive alternative to the ubiquitous VW Camper, this wonderfully original Dormo’s lucky new owner can choose to keep it much as is, or restore it to its former glory.