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Object: Caravan

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Title Caravan
Production Reichenbach, Richard D. (manufacturer(s)), 1937, Wellington
Materials Rimu, plywood, linen, metal, rubber, sheet glass
Classification caravans, recreational vehicles
Dimensions Overall: 2160mm (Height) x 5570mm (Length) x 2050mm (Width/Depth)
Credit line Gift of the Reichenbach family, 2002
Registration number GH009952

The caravan has long been synonymous with New Zealand summer holidays. This caravan was made by Richard Reichenbach, an electrical engineer from the Manawatu, for his honeymoon in 1937. This example is one of the oldest in the country, and is a gem of do-it-yourself ingenuity.

The caravan sits on a steel frame and was towed with a bar and spring, devised to allow for movement on the road. It could be parked at right angles and cranked down on to feet for stability. Its body is constructed of rimu and the same canvas used in the construction of Air Force planes, painted many times over the years to keep it weatherproof.

The interior is lined with marine plywood for easy maintenance. It features bunks, a swing-down table, a battery light, and a gas-powered cooker and refrigerator. A canvas awning provided outdoor shelter for eating and a place for the children to sleep when they grew older.

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