Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan

By: Erin Hayes


Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan
Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan
Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan
Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan
Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan
Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan
Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan
Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan
Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan Restoration: 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan

Tony and Rebecca Powell spent 12 months renovating a 1978 CI Munro Crusader and are now reaping the benefits.

Two years ago, after winning a $1 reserve auction online, the Powell’s collected their new purchase – a 1978 CI Munro Crusader caravan – from a property Kawerau where it had been stationary for the past 15 years.

Having recently completely a restoration on his boat, Rebecca wanted Tony’s next project to be something she could be involved with, along with their three children – eight-year-old twins Emma and Lucy, plus six-year-old Cara.

"It was important to us that they kids were involved, we wanted them to be interested in what was going on so they feel like they’ve played a part in getting it on the road," says Tony.

The family have always been into camping, so they knew owning a comfortable caravan big enough for the five of them to sleep in would pay itself off in no time. Plus Tony’s father built a couple of caravan’s from scratch 50-odd years ago, so it was in his blood.

It was originally supposed to be a small project, only restoring the interior of the caravan, but once that had been gutted, Tony realised how much moisture there was in the walls. He decided to rebuild the whole thing.

"We’d come this far, so figured we should probably do the job properly," says Tony.
All four walls were replaced and polystyrene was placed on the chassis, sandwiched between two sheets of plywood.

As Tony is a service manager and marine technician for Telfer Marine, he was able to professionally do all of the aluminium work and painting himself. He connected the 140-watt solar panels and wired it, and replaced the tyres. Tony’s father, a retired cabinet maker, helped with most of the interior. The only outsourcing they had to use was to connect the gas bottle for the gas compliance certificate.

The caravan has outdoor speakers and lights so is it great for summer evenings. There is also an outdoor hot shower which Tony jokes should be coin operated to cater for campsite neighbours in need.

Munro _Resto2

It is completely off the grid. Inside, there are two 12-volt deep cycle batteries which run a 60L 12-volt ’fridge, all LED lights, the extractor fan, water pump, plus the TV and stereo.

"The interior design took us months of compromising and a mountain of cardboard to make life-sized furniture to see if everything – including the kids – would fit," says Tony.

The hot water and oven are run from the 9L gas bottle that is located in an aluminium box on the draw bar, which Tony extended after being informed on the difficulties of reversing.

"We set a map of New Zealand into the table so the girls can see exactly where we are on our adventures. They love it," says Tony.

In February 2015, almost one year to the day they bought it, the caravan was finally finished. "The first thing we did with it was take it to show the elderly owner we bought it off in Kawerau. She couldn’t believe it was the same one."

The family uses the caravan at least once a month; by towing it to their desired spot behind their Ford Territory.

"The biggest problem I have with it is I can’t tow the caravan and the boat at the same time – first world problems," laughs Tony.

Last week they went to the Pauanui, and in a few weeks’ time they plan on spending some time in Waikawa Bay, the same place they took the caravan on its first holiday a year ago.

"It took longer, and was a bigger job, than we expected but it was all worth it in the end. We love not having to worry about packing and unpacking tents, or relying so much on the weather. We would definitely recommend it to families in a similar situation to us," says Tony.

Tony and Rebecca’s top tips for restoring a caravan:

  • It will take longer than you think
  • Get the kids to help out where possible
  • You can never have enough storage space
  • Think outside the box
  • Don’t let negative input put you off
  • Stick to the plan

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