Norma Jean — we all know that name well. In this case, however, rather than being associated with a blonde bombshell movie star and pin-up model, the name belongs to the caravan equivalent. It’s glitzy, colourful, and one heck of a lot of fun. This Norma Jean’s story starts around the same time as the other Norma Jean was releasing The Prince and the Showgirl way back in 1957. That’s when she rolled out of the Auckland Caravan Company factory with the famous lantern roof, set up for the conservative caravanning of the era. Fast forward 60 years and here she is again.
Formerly 15-foot she now measures a near 15.5 feet, with the added length on the draw bar, which made room for the placement of a large ’50s siren – to single the bars open. This caravan is completely customized and purely designed as a mobile ‘entertainment room’.
To begin the process of restoration for Norma Jean she was completely stripped off the body skin and re-claded with fresh new alloy. The inside received similar treatment, completely stripped before being treated to a total rewire and reline. As with most of our creations, there are plenty of custom touches. The chrome beltline between the colours is reminiscent of the cars of the ’50s, so it’s no surprise to see 1951 Buick portholes down the side. Likewise, the ornate rear number plate plinth was originally found on the boot of a Mark1 Zodiac and the rear tail lights on a 1958 Impala. In the interior, we went to great lengths to ensure everything is period appropriate and melded together, with subtle custom touches everywhere you look. The fridge, for example, is a genuine 1936 vintage item that was rebuilt with modern internals before the components were polished, replated, or painted. The timber throughout is heart rimu, The cabinetry looks vintage but is all new.
There has truly been no aspect forgotten on Norma Jean from the alcohol cabinet to the built in table cooler, and while you may think this caravan has been built just for style there has been no corners missed making Norma Jeans memory ready to live on for another 60 years.