We received a call from the series producer asking if we could help out with their latest project, a Bedford CA Dormobile. Naturally we jumped at the chance!
The brief was pretty simple; they needed to replace the canopy on this classic camper, and we could sort them out with a new one.
The Bedford CA Dormobile conversion spanned more than a decade, starting life as the “Bedroom on Wheels” camper in 1952. This vehicle didn’t have a pop top roof at all. That first appeared in 1957 with the CA porthole sporting the now classic candy-striped canopy. A little later came the Romany & Deauville Bedford CA Dormobiles which boasted a larger roof with two fixed windows and a large vent.
First off we had to establish which one they had.
A few images, and some measurements later (just to be sure of no anomalies from our templates) and we set about getting the canopy ready for collection.
Fast forward a few weeks and with the canopy manufactured, it was time for the handover.
The film crew arrived first to set up, with absolutely no expense spared. Producer / camera operator, second camera, sound recordist, runner and then the main man himself, Mike Brewer were all busying themselves at our HQ in Lyndhurst.
We chatted all things Dormobile…. obviously! We heard a few of their interesting plans for the Bedford CA, showed them around the showroom and workshop (they seemed quite impressed) and then we handed over the canopy.
On seeing the finished show, we couldn’t be happier. It’s so good to see the Dormobile name being spoken about with such fondness on mainstream TV, and to be a part of that was great.
Mike and the whole crew were super friendly and clearly just LOVED what they did!
Naturally, it’s thrown up a few discussion points.
Firstly, the final sale price of £11,500 was an absolute steal. The lucky buyer could barely contain his excitement as he shook Brewer’s hand.
We’d expect it to go for nearer double that. The guys never did say how many hours they’d spent on the restoration, but clearly it was a lot, as Elvis explained;
“You’re never going to claw back the hours that we spent on Colin (the Dormobiles newly adopted name) but it wasn’t really about that. This was a labour of love.”
Secondly, the removal of many of the original fixtures and fittings, and even the running gear.
Wheeler Dealers swapped out the original engine for a Pinto motor. (Collective intake of breath from all the purists out there!)
We don’t really want to open up that particular can of worms here BUT in our little workshop we have exactly the same discussions as everyone else.
One of the guys would add flamboyant electrics, lighting and sound systems to this conversion. One would hide modern additions well away, while keeping the vehicle looking as original as possible. And one, would scrub it up a little, with the aroma of rotten cabinetry & musty canopy, just adding to his enjoyment.
We aren’t sure if any of them are right, but perhaps the most important detail is that one more Dormobile will be around for years to come. (and at that price we’d have been thrilled to get our hands on it)
Well done Wheeler Dealers, Discovery Channel and the whole team.
Thanks for the visit!