1958 Sprite Alpine

A Series of Photographs showing the restoration carried out by myself,
Christopher Beresford, The Chairman.

Amazingly, this 1958 Sprite Alpine was part-exchanged at a caravan dealer for a new caravan! They contacted me asking if I wanted it before they scrapped it. Under the promise that we took it away at our own risk, we went to view. Despite initial appearances, it had two new tyres and a new spare, it had been serviced the year before and had a new 3-way fridge fitted and a 1970's Isabella awning included. It was a bargain, so we quckly did the deal and towed it home.

At the time, we were two weeks away from going to Belgium for our first European Classic Caravan Rally. We had a 1970's Ace Ambassador that was ready to go, but it was a little bland we thought. The Sprite was much more exciting, and the tip up double bed would mean that we wouldn't have to make beds for three weeks! But could we turn it around in just ten days?...

As soon as we got it home, we got stuck in straight away, stripping out all the old DIY add ons and re-painting the interior in a more original looking white, rather than the curious mix of wallpaper and exterior gloss paint! The next day, we spent a marathon 20 hours sewing all new upholstery and curtains. We even added piping on the upholstery! The curtains were a pair of patio door curtains from a charity shop, and looked 1950's in style. Two layers of carpet were pulled up to expose the lovely original lino. 

We turned then to the bathroom - removing the newly fitted fridge and a whole host of electrics so that we could restore it to being a bathroom. Also, there was the small matter of filling the holes left by the two fridge vents! While this was going on, my partner was sanding down the exterior so that we could re-paint it. 

Luckily, the weather was really generous so we were able to hand-paint it outside. The finish was acceptable with exterior gloss paint, though it has since dulled down. We recommend that anyone restoring a caravan and decides to paint it themselves, they should use synthetic coach enamel paint, which is specialist car paint, available from paint shops. The chassis was also painted and luckily it needed no work, even the brakes were still perfectly adjusted. We checked the road lights which also had fully worked. 

After just eight days, the Alpine was turned around completely. We spent a further two days tweaking things and improving bits and pieces. We'd worked so hard, with very little sleep for eight days, so we felt like we were owed a holiday when we finished! I'm pleased to report that the Sprite happily managed three weeks on the continent travelling up to Holland, then back down through Belgium to Paris and then home again. I think we did an acceptable job given the tight time frame, though we've since taken the Alpine off the road to have it professionally resprayed outside. 
*Click on the photos to enlarge them*

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