My 1963 Sprite Alpine ("Jennifer") is still here and I am still working on her, albeit slowly. I've got the hitch back from being dismantled and sand-blasted ready to be painted and put back on. I've also sourced quite a few new parts for it from another Alpine which was to be scrapped - so good things all round!
But my 1969 Sprite 400 has seen the biggest transformation - I've now spent three weekends away in it! The interior has had a re-paint, re-upholster, new curtains, wallpaper, a thorough clean and new window capping. Here's the full story of my progress:
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The first few jobs started at my storage compound - mainly getting everything working to see where I was at. First job was the water system. The 400 uses a simple foot pump in the floor system that's self priming. I fitted a new length of pipe and connected it up to an Aquaroll. Water was quickly surging though the tap and pushed out 15 years worth of dust! I then ran water purification powder through the system three times to ensure that the water is fully drinkable. I then bought a new gas regulator and length of gas pipe to test the gas - the hob, oven and grill fired up perfectly! The gas light needed a new mantle, but luckily I had one from my Alpine that didn't fit, so I fitted it in the 400 and the gas light fired up too! Work then began on repairing the damp door:
Firstly, the door was removed and stripped back to the outer aluminium. I had the great fortune of finding an undamaged lower ha;f of the door from my friend Andrew Craven who kindly gave me it to fit to my caravan, so it was more or less a straight swap.
The old rotten wood in the door - bluegh!
All finished! Looking much better. The job took about half an hour to complete, but it was a very cold day so I kept sneaking inside to sit around my heater!
The following weekend I headed up to North Yorkshire to spend a weekend away with my Grandparents with their caravan and I was dying to show them my Sprite 400 as they owned one themselves from 1972 - 1988!
Lovely views of North Yorkshire! Can't beat caravanning!
Following that weekend away, serious work started on the interior stripping the 1980's pink wallpaper out. I chose "Old English White" Eggshell paint to paint the walls with.
Looking fresher for a coat of paint! As with any painting, preparation is the key! Stripping wallpaper off was annoying as the glue left a residue on the walls which had to be sanded and cleaned. I applied the paint with a two inch brush but you can paint with a roller if you like. I only recommend Eggshell paint for use on caravan interiors as the wooden walls need to breathe! Any kind of paint that has acrylic in it such as emulsion will trap moisture and cause damp eventually so be careful what paint you use.
The interior colour scheme: the fabric (also used on the seat cushions) is genuine 1960's barkcloth type material, which came from four curtain drapes that I purchased on eBay for £15, and the seller dry cleaned them for me for free! The wallpaper was another thrifty find; a genuine vintage unopened roll for just £1.50!
I also painted the A-frame which included stripping it all down. I re-greased it all and adjusted the brakes too. I was incredibly lucky to have a stabiliser bracket (on the left of the A-frame) in my parts box ready to fit! The gas bottle holder has been temporarily robbed from my Alpine as I won't be using that caravan any time soon!
The finished interior! I'm so happy with the end result! Still a few bits to finish, including finding a new carpet and finishing a bit of painting to the ceiling, but all in all, she's good to go!
So go I did, I've just returned from five days away in the 400, which was a lovely cosy and warm home for five days - even at this time of the year!
The exterior is the main focus now, but this will have to wait until the new year. It's not that bad, just needs a repaint. I already polished up the window frames. Progress will slow nearer Christmas as my work schedule increases, but I'll be hitting the ground running in the New Year!
Thanks again to Andrew Craven, Christopher Beresford, Andy and Valerie Morgan and Carole Averill, Susan Loasby, Sally Prosser and Sarah Cassidy for all their help and support!
Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!