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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Today we are looking at something that has ruled the summer roads and camp sites for as long as I can remember, caravans, from the beginning Matchbox created quite a few and over the years many others graced the range.
The first three pictures all have the same Matchbox number and as each was replaced kept the same place in the 1-75 range.
The first one here is the Berkeley Cavalier Caravan number 23b, what happened to 23a I hear you ask, well it was the same caravan, 23b had a heavier casting line around the door is was available in different colours, pale blue, lime green and metallic green finish. Released in 1957 , the 23a version was released in 1956 and only available in pale blue and was replaced a year later by 23b.
Next the Bluebird Dauphine Caravan, the same number, 23c and has an opening side door, this was released in 1960 and replaced 23b.
The next offering was produced in 1969 and a big change from previous caravans, this one didn’t have a name and had been marked as a ‘Trailer caravan’ the door is now cast rather than opening and has a full interior with removable roof, going by the balcony this was a luxury caravan, available in yellow or pink.
In 1970, a change of number and wheel type, this is No57 with the then, new Superfast wheels, still called just a trailer caravan, the balcony has now gone although has kept the detailed interior and removable roof.
Available in yellow and cream, a rare version is in white with red decal/tampo showing a red palm tree and the wording ‘Red Sunset’ only seen one and the seller was asking £50.00.
Next we jump ahead to 1977 and number 31, the names get shorter as this one is just called ‘caravan’
This was available in many colours and back to an opening door that was operated from a lever underneath.
This was typical of the caravans on the road at the time.
An even bigger jump now to 1999 and the Matchbox ‘pop-up camper’ popular in the UK even now as they can be towed without the massive wind drag associated with full size caravans, this was produced from 1999 until about 2011 and may still be available.
Folded down (above) and fully unfolded (below)
Available in many colours and decal types, made in China from 1999 and later in Thailand.
The last one today is a much later model from Matchbox Mattel and made in Thailand, this is MB747 released in 2007, this time called ‘travel trailer’
The real caravans
1954 Berkeley Cavalier
1960 Bluebird Dauphine Caravan
Pop up caravan/camper