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Old 08-30-2011, 10:33 PM   #1
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1966 17' Caravel
Metairie , Louisiana
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1966 Caravel - barebones from factory? - restoration

Hi, this is my first post on this really great forum. I've been reading as much as I can fit into an otherwise pretty hectic schedule (I master records and CDs as my day job in New Orleans) but there's so much to absorb (a good thing).

Mainly, I'd like to say thanks to all the amazing contributors. There is a wealth of information and many generous people here.

I just got a '66 Caravel that was represented to me as being special ordered from the factory with little more than a chassis and shell and used in that condition by the original purchaser until the last year or so. The inside is almost completely bare. Guess it's a blessing and a curse. I don't have to remove all the old stuff but of course I don't have anything to use as templates. And I'm not sure what, if any, wiring and/or plumbing has been installed. I suspect not much.

So, I'm trying to decide what to do with it and where to start. I'm open to any and all suggestions.

My inclination is slowly to return it to stock specs with a few exceptions like modern appliances, plumbing, and electrical.

Seems like the best course would be to make it roadworthy first by changing out the axle and brakes, getting towing lights functional and checking frame and flooring. Then removing inner skin to check for structural integrity, insulation (it smell kinda funny), and to see what wiring has been installed.

I suspect I'll end up needing to put together drawings, schematics and/or diagrams of all the electrical and plumbing systems. May be this could be a decent place for an overview of mid-60's Caravel systems.

Sorry for being so long winded. Hello and thanks everyone!
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:59 PM   #2
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Well, I have the same model and live just a short distance. Did the axle change out on mine - not to hard - could help out with that if you need. More than welcome to come over and look at the one I have to see one in near original condition (98%). Saw that one on eBay, looks good and straight from the pictures. Good Luck, have fun with it, it's a blank slate.

Mike
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:14 PM   #3
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Lufkin , Texas
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1966 Caravel

I am in the process of rebuilding a 1966 Caravel. I purchased it 4 years ago. Progress has been slow but steady. I am not trying to restore it. At this point, it has new running gear, new tanks, a reconditioned bath unit, all plumbing, and electrical including 120v and 12v. Lights, battery box, etc completed. I lack the kitchen cabinets, sink, stove, etc. The original gaucho was reworked and lacks cushions. I added a front sofa/bed. I have been idle on it for the past year due to illness in the family. However, I will finish it by springtime. You are welcome to take a look at the unit and view the construction photos. I live in Lufkin,Tx just 55 miles into Texas.
Best of luck on your project. My wife and I have enjoyed working on the project.
Jim
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:32 PM   #4
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1966 17' Caravel
Metairie , Louisiana
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Thanks so much for the generous offers Mike and Jim. It's really great to know there are more AS people around here. I was under the impression most of the action was on the west and east coasts.

Maybe I can return the favors. A few years back I got the furniture making bug and bought a bunch of decent tools. Made a few pieces I was happy with like a cypress pencil post bed and replica of 18th century dresser. Much of the gear has been on semi-permanent loan at a friend's house, mostly cause I've run out of space here. But I'm hoping to find a place to set up a small shop to make the cabinetry for the Caravel. The stock cabinetry looks pretty straightforward. If I can make that happen, I'd be happy to help if anyone needs some woodworking stuff done for theirs.

Bruce
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:25 AM   #5
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Battle Ground , Washington
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Get a look at some stock cabinetry and you'll see it was brilliantly lightweight, yet very sturdy and holds up well over time. I have often thought of re-organizing my interior (but I wouldn't because mine is so original), but ultimately I keep coming to the conclusion that the Caravel was really well done to begin with! The dinette/bed in the front, and the gaucho (couch/fold-out bed) down the side, make the space incredibly flexible. The kitchen is small but functional. The wet-bath gives you both a usable shower, and a surprisingly roomy bathroom the rest of the time. It's darn near perfect just the way they did it!

I would add a bigger black tank (extended into the closet area) because every little bit helps in that department. And a grey tank so you could use your sinks without being hooked up (in original Caravels it drains right out the dump valve).

Please post some pictures of what your Caravel has in it now, I'm curious to see what it looks like. Did you find anything else about the history?
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Old 09-18-2011, 08:35 PM   #6
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1966 17' Caravel
Metairie , Louisiana
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first photos of 66 caravel

I'm going to try to upload a couple of images. Hope it works.
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Old 09-18-2011, 08:46 PM   #7
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1966 17' Caravel
Metairie , Louisiana
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Stephanie, here's a couple of shots of the interior. It was already stripped when I received it. The PO installed a complete plywood floor above the original and then put oak flooring about that. I ripped it all out last night and this is what was underneath.

I love the stock layout and I'll try to keep that same theme going when I'm refurbing.
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:33 PM   #8
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1966 17' Caravel
Bethel Park near Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania
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My 66 Caravel

Here a few photos of my 66 as found back in 2008. I am the second owner and have been enjoying it since the day I got it.

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Old 09-18-2011, 09:45 PM   #9
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1966 17' Caravel
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My 66 Caravel Now

Here is it my 66 now 2011

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Old 09-19-2011, 12:59 PM   #10
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Brusby, you've got a pretty sweet looking Exterior on that thing! That will be a nice project. Finding a replacement for the bathroom insert is going to be tricky though. You may have to do your own thing back there.

Ace, that is a very nice little Caravel! Excellent upgrades to the original interior
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:01 PM   #11
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1966 17' Caravel
Metairie , Louisiana
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What a great find and such a beautiful Caravel. Thanks for posting. The pics of your nice original condition '66 will be really helpful.

I haven't been able to find any measurements of the original interior furnishings and cabinetry. If anyone has made them or knows where they are posted, please let me know. If would be great if I could get the dimensions on my refurb as close to stock as possible. I just don't have anything to use for templates.

Bruce
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:12 PM   #12
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1966 17' Caravel
Metairie , Louisiana
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Here's some shots of the underside with belly pan removed. Funny, I didn't expect to see 2x4s bolted to the frame. Is that original construction or aftermarket?
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:30 PM   #13
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That is not original...someone added the 2x4's later, no telling why. The "special order" story sounds a bit odd too - the upper cabinets look like they are original. And it looks like a nice shell...can you tell if the frame is rusted through - maybe that was the reason for an attempted "fix" with the 2x4's...not an appropriate fix...but ???

Was there a belly pan covering the underside of it or was it all exposed? Ohhh....if only these babies could talk!

Shari
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:53 PM   #14
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1966 17' Caravel
Metairie , Louisiana
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Yep, it all sounded a bit fishy to me too. But I bought it solely for the shell expecting everything else to need replacement.


The frame appears to have mostly surface rust. I don't see any places where it's rusted through but I'll be checking it out more thoroughly. Of course I'm really suspicious why anyone would go to all the trouble to add that wood unless they thought the frame needed support.

And yes, the belly pan had already been removed when I got it. The only thing I've done so far is remove the additional flooring the PO added.

Guess one advantage of not having the original interior is not feeling guilty about destroying nice vintage stuff if I decide to make a few changes.
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