Retro Rig: Homage to the Past

This vintage Kennedy caravan has many echoes of days gone by

Everyone seems to love a vintage caravan, especially if it is teamed up with a classic tow vehicle from the same era. They are such nostalgic reminders of holidays past. So when we saw this 1960 fibreglass Kennedy caravan and its matching Ford pickup truck, we had to stop for a closer look.

We soon discovered that this retro rig was nostalgic in more ways than we had expected. It belongs to Will and Lyn Bayley, vintage caravan enthusiasts who we have known for years. They have owned a number of different retro rigs, and this one pays homage to their previous caravans.

In their spare time, Will and Lyn are a rock and roll singer/entertainer duo. So they named their first vintage caravan “Elvis” and decorated it with plenty of Elvis memorabilia. Their next van was a Kennedy, but Will’s real goal was to find a vintage Airstream, since he first saw one some decades ago at an American army base in the north of WA.

Vintage Airstreams are hard to find in Australia, so Will and Lyn imported a 1965 Airstream Trade Wind from America. After restoring and polishing the aluminium van, they decorated it with rock and roll, and movie themes, including Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, and added a “Hi Ho Silva” numberplate to highlight its stunning mirror finish.

When they shifted home recently, they found that the large 24ft (7.3m) Airstream simply wouldn’t fit on their new property. So they started looking for another Kennedy. Will commented, “It took a long time to find one, since only about twenty of them were made. This was the first one I had seen for sale in 12 years. It is 16ft (4.9m) long and looks similar to a 1960s fibreglass Sunliner, but has distinctive ‘eyebrows’ over the rear window”.

“I’ve had this caravan for six months. It wasn’t in very good order when I obtained it, so I have done a lot of work, sanding and painting. I put wallpaper on the ceiling to cover the cracks, and painted the kitchen cupboards in all different colours with paint that I had on hand. The curtains and new laminate on the dining table were done by the previous owner”.

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