Dave & Nicki’s Holden Kingswood/Chevron combo


If you’re a fan of retro caravans and classic cars, you’ll love Don & Marilyn Jessen’s latest book, Classic Car and Caravan Combos Downunder. In this extract, we take a look at Dave & Nicki’s Holden Kingswood/Chevron combo.

We both love it when we come across a typical combo from the 1970s where both the car and caravan are in their original state.

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The 1970s Liteweight series was the most popular and prolific caravan of its time in New Zealand, and of the three specced models – the Vagabond, the Chevron and the Five Star – the Chevron was by far the most popular.

This caravan would have been built under Don’s watch when he managed the Liteweight factory, so it is with great delight that we are able to profile it.

Back then, the Chevrons were coming off the line at a rate of one caravan every 45 minutes. Dave and Nicki bought the caravan from a retired farmer in Patea, who appeared to have lived in it for a while after he sold his farm.

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They paid $3000 for the caravan and that, folks, was an absolute steal. The exterior was in great condition, and at the time of purchase it needed nothing doing to it apart from a good polish. Inside, it came with a hideous carpet on the floor and needed a good clean.

When Dave and Nicki pulled the carpet up, they discovered that the original lino was in immaculate condition. (We can confirm that this is very definitely the original lino.)

They then set about cleaning the caravan and discovered that the furniture was also in remarkably good condition. The furniture style, which included the gold aluminium trim around the doors, was called ‘Colonial Heritage’ and was introduced in the latter half of 1976.

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The orange nylon and vinyl squabs were original and a clean brought them up like new. This is one of the best unrestored interiors we have ever seen. Dave has many fond memories of caravans.

When he was a teenager, his dad had an old caravan out in the backyard, and Dave and his best mate would take a record player out to it and play records. Unfortunately, they had only one record — a 45 at that— so it was played over and over.

The song’s title was ‘Sweet Pea’. How many of us remember that one? In later years Dave’s mate died of cancer, so when Dave and Nicki purchased the Chevron they named it Sweet Pea.

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About two years after purchasing the caravan, and succumbing to peer pressure from friends and family, Dave and Nicki started looking for a classic ‘70s tow car.

On Trade Me, they spied the 1976 Holden Kingswood for sale in Invercargill, in the far south of the South Island. Considering that Dave and Nicki lived in Hawera, halfway up the North Island, it was going to be a long trek to go and get it.

However, this didn’t put Dave off. The Holden had travelled 155,000 miles and had obviously been looked after. The interior was really tidy, and the car was running a 202-cubic-inch six-cylinder motor with three on the tree.

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All original. Dave pushed the ‘Buy now’ button, took out Automobile Association membership in case of breakdown and flew to Invercargill to pick up the car.

He had an incident-free trip home and now happily tows his 1976 caravan with his matching 1976 car. To complete the combo Dave and Nicki painted the insert panel of the caravan to match the Holden.

We couldn’t say how many Liteweight Chevrons were sold to customers with Holden Kingswoods, but we suspect if we were able to do a survey of Chevrons and cars, the most popular would be the Kingswood/Chevron combo by a mile.

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