Classic Van Auction Talk

Saturday 17 March 2018

1969 BEDFORD DEBONAIR - Brightwells Auctions Affordable Classics Sale Wednesday 21st March 2018 Bicester Heritage. (OX26 5HA)

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Brightwells Auctions
Affordable Classics Sale
Wednesday 21st March 2018
Bicester Heritage. (OX26 5HA)

Colour: White & Black
Registration Number: WNN 350G
Chassis Number: 96570AV832530
Engine Size: 1595cc
Engine Number: 2556571

Dover-based coachbuilding firm, Martin Walter Ltd realised that many commercial vehicles were being used by travelling salesmen and delivery drivers to sleep in overnight. In 1957 they developed (and patented) the ‘Dormatic’, a clever folding seat arrangement that converted into a bed which they designed specifically to fit into the ubiquitous Bedford CA range of vans.
They craftily developed this idea, adding a pop-top, cooker and sink which was to be the inspiration behind the whole genre of motor caravans that we know and love today.
Always on the lookout for new opportunities, Martin Walter introduced the range-topping Debonair. Built on a Bedford chassis-cab, its full-size glass-fibre body was more caravan than the converted delivery van and it came fully equipped with a galley kitchen, flushing toilet and gingham curtains. It still offered the same four-berths as the lower-priced Dormobile, but in the Debonair the beds were actually big enough for a good night’s rest. You could stand up in it and it incorporated clever ventilation – probably just as well considering the onboard facilities! The corrosion-free bodywork and large window area included distinctively curved rear privacy windows, all state-of-the-art features at the time.

This well-equipped Debonair was delivered new to Mr Faulkner from Sheffield in June 1969. The service book shows that it was well looked after early on, with four stamps in 1972 – a note on the front saying that by 1989, it had covered 57,200 miles.
According to records, it first changed hands in 1991 and has had a total of eight former keepers to date. The MOT history tells us that the odometer was showing 82,500 miles in 2006, a total which is now reading 92,249 miles which could well be correct, although we have insufficient evidence to prove conclusively.
It was last taxed in 2013, its most recent (now expired MOT) showing a list of advisories although nothing major. It comes with a V5C, handbook, service book and brief details on the Debonair which show its dimensions as 14’11” long, 6’7” wide and 8’4” high – useful information for those thinking of garage space.
Offering plenty of grace and space, if rather lacking in pace, this fine old Bedford, with its sound and original interior looks like a very worthy project to get your teeth stuck into.



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