If you missed part one of the restoration (collecting the caravan), CLICK HERE
If you missed part two of the restoration, CLICK HERE
*CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM*
06/08/2013: I started with the wall behind the kitchen. For some reason, here and one small patch on the opposite side of the caravan the paint has refused to budge. The rest of the woodwork has come out quite nicely but the kitchen remains a misty white colour. It looks worse in this photo than it does in real life though. Good job I'm painting over it - with the correct paint this time!
07/08/2013: I've pulled down the middle section of the ceiling as it was rotten through around the rooflight. This whole section that runs the width of the caravan will replace in one big section and I will be able to upgrade the insulation. I've also discovered some rotten wood in the rear corner where you can see the insulation poking out. This whole section underneath the window will need replacing. In this image I've now stripped the paint from the whole of that side of the caravan.
I'm sure that should be attached to the caravan! Another worrying stage of the restoration - removing the hitch. This has been sent off to be dismantled, sandblasted and checked that it's all in working order. The paint stripper that I'm using inside takes an hour to dry between coats and needs two coats: so between coats I work on the chassis. The big obstacle this week was not removing the hitch, but the gas bottle mount behind it - it would not budge as the bolts were rusted solid. Some muscle pulling and a few colourful words later and it was removed.
With the hitch and gas bottle mount removed, sanding the paint off could commence. I started with just sandpaper but quickly got tired and bought in the drill sander!
Before and after shots of the never ending task that was scraping the algae off the roof! That stuff was well and truly baked on!
11/08/2013: Got the rear panel, rear ceiling panel and a bit of the offside stripped of paint. These panels have come up much better than those on the kitchen side. I wanted to remove the lower rear panel to access the road lights to renew the wires but you guessed it, our previous owner friend with the silicone gun has been at work again and has glued this panel in place! No chance of getting that off without replacing the whole rear interior woodwork of the caravan so I'm just going to somehow have to patch the road lights up.
12/08/2013: I've managed to salvage the old sink. It had a wooden frame bolted to it which refused to budge. I tried drilling the bolts out but the wood was weak and the drill kept slipping. I'd resigned to the fact that I was going to have to source a replacement sink so I decided to use brute force to break the wood off, I figured I had nothing to lose - but it worked! The sink cleaned up and looks like new!
13/08/2013: Finally got the offside stripped of paint. I've also stripped one layer of paint from the front panel and front ceiling section (not pictured) but it needs sanding off to finish it. There's one spot of paint above the wheel arch that refuses to budge. Any suggestions of how to get militant paint off are welcome! I've also pulled out all of the middle section of ceiling to reveal a HUGE dent in it which has been filled outside. It's been suggested that this was done in the factory when it was built - don't you just love the stories these old caravans could tell!
I've also been doing some research into the model itself, trying to decide if it's a 1961 or a 1962 model. Thanks to some help from a friend who happens to be an expert on Sprite caravans, it's neither! She's actually a very rare "crossover" model from 1963. In 1963 the Alpine was totally redesigned by Sprite to gain a completely redesigned exterior, modernised chassis, slightly altered interior, longer A-frame for more stable towing and the drop down double bed that was standard in 1961 and 1962 was reduced to an optional extra. My Alpine has the 1961/2 exterior with a 1963 chassis and 1963 interior fittings. And there's no evidence of there ever being a drop down bed - making my Sprite a "pre-production test" of some of the 1963 new model features.
I'm going on holiday next week so work on Jennifer is on pause for now. But when I return I shall be tackling the exterior, chassis, windows and replacing the damaged wood inside. I'll be sure to keep you all updated! Until next time, thanks for reading.
SEE PART FOUR OF THE RESTORATION HERE