Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The crazy Caraboot

Discussing Mini based campers with a reader of this blog yesterday I thought it was about time to write something about these camping creatures here. There have been a few. The Wildgoose camper conversion are of course best known of them all (there were two variants, the tall one even quirkier then the other). But there was also the Murray Caravan Company building similar vehicles from a place called Orrell in Lancashire (who knows more?). And then I have also heard of a thing called the Pickaback Coachbuilt De Luxe of 1965 (again: who knows more?). But best of them all has to be the Euxton Caraboot, built by Euxton Coach Craft in the village of the same name in Lancs. This rather incredible vehicle combined a Mini with a camper, a caravan and - can you believe it? - a boat! I have a sketchy copy of the 1965 brochure ('Join the mobility without hotel worries!') but the web provides us with even better stuff: a lovely British Pathe movie in full technicolor. Click here to see it. We are going on a Summer holiday, la la la...

UPDATE: want to know what it was like to take the Caraboot out on a holiday in '69? Great story here


Press shot of the Euxton Caraboot. Note paddles behind doors and boat on roof top

Road holding, anyone? but who ever said a Mini was not roomy enough for camping? 
Picture courtesy British Pathe

9 comments:

  1. Wow I live near Euxton and had never heard of such a thing! Any idea where the factory was? My mate lives in Orrell as well didn't realise there was mini heritage in my area !

    Ben

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  2. Euxton Coach Craft ltd. was in Dawbers Lane, Euxton. Murray Caravan Co. was in 47 Church Street, Orrell. You'd be the man to take a snap shot of these locations and send them over!

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  3. The car still exist and seems to be for sale here: http://www.smart-suits.com/mini/estatevanpickup.htm

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  4. I'm wrong, it's not the same. The one for sale hasn't got a boat on the roof. Anyway, it seems that the caravan has been modified. Maybe it used to have a boat on it... Here is another one, which proofs that it was not a one off: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/campings-the-life-aka-campings-new-look

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  5. I'm on it

    Ben

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  6. Just realised I drive to work along dawbers lane everyday! Can you narrow it down? It's mainly houses now and a few shops and a farm.

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  7. Excellent, Ben! Unfortunately that's all it says on the brochure, apart from a tel number (Chorley 2404), but I don't think that will help.

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  8. Howard V Murray

    47 Church Street
    Orrell
    Wigan
    Lancashire
    WN5 8TG
    01695 622759

    Caravan Dealers & Mnfrs

    Google's your friend

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  9. In 1969 we went around England and Scotland for about six weeks in my Caraboot. I rented it from a Mr.Theobald in Preston, Lancs. This after I passed (successfully) my specialist medical degree in London. We sailed on the boat on Coniston Water and the Caraboot behaved splendidly. It was only in Dorset when I was attempting a rather steep road beyond Portland that the little 850cc Mini engine decided that it was a bit too much and stalled. I asked my wife to leave the car and with great difficulty I reversed it in that very narrow road. I could see a steep fall into the Channel on my reverse mirror and the little breaks were hot and unable to hold it. But in the end we made it and continued with our trip. I may add that the engine temp never went above normal that afternoon.
    Dr. Rudy Rencoret, Sydney, Australia

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