The Elkhart Collection | Lot 1239
1961 Bedford CA Dormobile Caravan by Martin-Walter
$36,400 USD | Sold
| Elkhart, Indiana
23 October 2020
- The rare British equivalent to the Volkswagen Camper
- Light-duty, Vauxhall-based chassis with Dormobile caravan conversion
- Updated high-quality restoration; recently fitted with newer radial tires
- Cute, comfortable, and convenient!
Bedford Vehicles was established in 1931 as a part of Vauxhall Motors, itself a part of General Motors after 1925. The company became a leading European manufacturer of light, medium, and heavy-duty lorries. Bedford’s heavy-duty truck business was divested by GM as AWD Trucks in 1987, though the name continued in use on light-duty commercial vehicles and car-derived vans based on Vauxhall, Opel, Isuzu, and Suzuki designs. The name was retired in 1991.
The firm introduced the CA, its most popular light-duty vehicle, in 1952. It remained in production through 1969. The CA shared its powertrain with the Vauxhall Victor – a simple, robust, and easy-to-service 50-hp, 1,500-cc inline four-cylinder engine. Thanks to its passenger car roots and versatile design, the chassis was popular for aftermarket camper conversions. A pioneer in that field was Martin-Walter – a centuries-old harness maker, coachbuilder, and military vehicle manufacturer – best known for its Dormobile caravan.
This unusual Bedford Dormobile arrived on the West Coast of the United States via New Zealand. Finished in dark red with a stylized, chrome-outlined flash, it is an updated older restoration with a selection of modern fittings and fixtures. The body remains in excellent condition with well-preserved brightwork and good-quality paint. Original Dormobile badges decorate the fenders and the Martin-Walker coachbuilder’s plaque is affixed below the rear doors.
Inside are modernized storage cabinets with sink, a Waeco portable refrigerator, and portable gas camp stove. New 40-liter wastewater tank and Zempire camping latrine are also included. Thanks to folding seats that lay flat into beds, the little Bedford sleeps up to four. The two-tone red and grey seating is in excellent condition. A spare set of wheels and wheel covers, radiator, and assorted emergency service items are included. More recent Hankook radials are fitted.
A rare sight in America, this plucky Dormobile is packed with vintage charm and useful modern updates. It will be a hit at car shows and campsites alike.