Book: Retro Caravans

Book: Retro Caravans

08/07/2014 0 By Gayle Dickson

Retro Caravans – Vantastic Kiwi Collections

by Don Jessen, Bateman, RRP$39.99, August 2014

Don Jessen profiles some of the country’s prettiest and most interesting vans, and provides some history on this enduring and endearing Kiwi hobby.

The Kiwi retro caravan craze is in full bloom. This is clear from the ever-increasing number of vans parked up at idyllic holiday spots, vans spotted at car events around the country, the magazines and online chatter on the subject, and a general yearning among the population for the sort of carefree holidaying that caravanning offers.

In this beautiful collection, Don Jessen looks at some of the beautiful vintage caravans around the country and talks to their owners about how they became involved in the retro caravan craze.

DON JESSEN was born into a caravanning family and business. His dad, Tek Jessen, founded Liteweight Caravans Ltd in 1946. At the age of 13, son Don was working school holidays in the factory, and at 15 was towing new caravans on delivery trips all over the country. At 17 he began a coach-building apprenticeship, working his way up the management ladder to become his dad’s business partner. Tek and Don were very close and together built Liteweight into one of New Zealand’s most iconic caravan companies, producing over 15,000 vans. Don’s interest in vintage caravans began when he found a 1956 Liteweight Kiwi caravan and restored it. His interest in writing comes from his mum, Margaret, who has always been a great writer. Don has published articles in various magazines in New Zealand.


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