“Chickie”, our 1967 Franklin Caravelle was a lucky find driven by necessity. We had bought a block of land on an island in Moreton Bay to take our dog camping (long story). After the second stormy night in a row, we decided that a tent was not going to be comfortable long term strategy.
Chickie had definitely seen some better days, and most definitely better style choices. But I was reasonably confident I could over time patch it together and fix whatever was rotting. And for now – it would keep us out of the bad weather.
It was not, to start with, the prettiest sight. But some quick stripping back of questionable design choices and we had a relatively clean space to start with.
Classic lines for sure. Looking back now, I can see more signs of the structural issues we’d eventually need to contend with. But first, oh that awful interior…..
First up, we stripped out the rotting cushions, and butchered kitchen cabinet. The lovely original ceiling ply and finish had been covered with marble finish contact paper, which also hit the bin.
We loved the look of the original fridge but it was too far gone to restore. The original Franklin sink, table as well as the end light fixtures were all salvageable.
The gas had been disconnected, but the original stove was sitting loose in one of the lower lockers. We saved that as it was in good condition and a piece of history, but didn’t put it back in use.
We did add a new AGM battery and used an external portable solar panel to provide all our power.
The hinges and cabinet handles were in reasonable shape so we cleaned them up, but replaced the doors with varnished marine ply. The original twin bunk configuration stayed, but we converted the space to a permanent double bed.
After 6 years as a camping base on our block of land on the island, we decided to bring Chickie back to life. It’s been 12 months of hard graft, but she is now fully restored and back on the road.