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Use the search box below to find anything on Thomson Caravans History and Information
October 1964


In the primitive places of Africa is to be found much of great and unique interest. Because accommodation is not available, few people ever visit what still remains of "darkest Africa" South of the Limpopo. Those who own GYPSEY Caravans DO go exploring at every opportunity ... and they do it in style. They literally GO FIRST CLASS. So can you!

GYPSEY UNITY Fiberline is bright an d airy. This large double bed is at one end. This model is a roomy home for four.
You are cordially invited to visit our Garden Show-place to see the models on display. There are 5 GYPSEY's ... and a variety of models. At least one is bound to meet your needs. See them soon.
at Bloemfontein, Johannesburg (Pretoria Road and Denver), King William's Town, Port Elizabeth, Belville and Pinetown.

A message from the Chairman

tabWhen the Chairman and Managing Director decided in 1954 that he must find another industry suitable to South Africa and something that would have a market value of all round benefit to the country and to intending buyers, his first step was to advertise in the newspapers throughout Europe and Great Britain.

tabHe instructed Messrs John Palmer & Sons of London to place a suitable advertisement "calling for any manufacturers who considered he had something of value that might be manufactured in South Africa to make application and that capital would be made available." Replies came from hundreds of manufacturers, but the choice came to Caravans because subsequent investigations revealed that as the road programs of South Africa developed on a black top basis there would be a considerable opening and scope for Caravans.

tabAll possible snags foreseeable were investigated and near destruction tests carried out. The results of the preliminary investigations pointed to the venture having a sporting chance of success.

tabThe further researches have proved that caravans are undoubtedly of benefit to the country and the caravaning way of life has been taken up in a big way. The necessity has been a great success economically

Now you have the story in illustrated form of our factory.

The Second Step

tabThe successful applicant was Messrs Thomson (Carron) Limited, caravan manufacturers, and the Company proceeded on the basis of purchasing four prototype caravans from them for the purpose of a caravan test throughout South Africa. Mr David Thomson the Managing Director of Thomson (Carron) Limited was appointed a Director of the Company.

tabThe production and Technical Engineer was Mr T Doherty who was loaned to us initially by the Thomson (Carron) unit of Falkirk, Scotland, since when he has been Production and Technical Manager, developing the caravans to the stage that they have reached to-day.

tab Along with the idea of getting knowledge behind the organisation, plans were made for discussion with the owner of Andre Caravan & Trailer Co (Pty) Ltd, and in due course the Company acquired the Andre Caravan set-up, and Mr Andres himself was appointed as Sales Manager in 1956.


tabThe actual covered space on our 11 acre site at Headquarters is 44,295 square feet, including the working factory space, outbuildings and other amenities.

tabThroughout the country we have five District Manager's houses, seven selling sites, and five caravan parks. Total acreage is 52.2 acres (Pinetown 11, Pretoria 2.6, Johannesburg 21, King Williams Town 6.1, Bloemfontein 3.5, Cape Town 8).

tab It has been the Company's Policy to improve Caravans and Caravan service in all ways, and to take all possible action to improve the amenities throughout the country for caravan owners, using the medium of CARAVANEWS, owned by us.


GYPSEYS waiting to be sent to places all over South Africa

tabThis is part of the factory you would not normally see, and the photographer had to scramble up on top of another building to take the picture. Here are GYPSEYs waiting to be sent to places all over South Africa, and the ones you see here were part of a special order for the Post and Telegraph Department.

tabWhen you order your new GYPSEY it pauses her for a few moments while it is checked to see that everything is in order. After that it goes to department for private delivery if you are going to collect it from Pinetown, or starts on its journey anywhere from Cape Town to Bloemfontein.

Factory ExtensionThis is the Gypsey factory itself, showing the extension that had to be built very soon after the factory was opened because of the enormous demand for GYPSEYs. Here you can see part of the 44,290 square feet of covered space which has become necessary to give you full service.

And now we will take you inside the factory itself.

Furniture fabrication


In the furniture department, skilled cabinet makers design and produce the furniture that goes into your GYPSEY. Much of it is made from expensive imported plywood's, which ensure the necessary lightness and give durability to GYPSEY interiors.

Inside of the GYPSEY Caravan factory.
Click on Image to go see full size.(opens in separate window)

The original GYPSEY

tabMany original Gypseys are still on the road doing brilliant service . They were based on a design which originated in Scotland. This caravan was chosen as the prototype for the 'Gypsey' as it had many features which made it the most suitable that could be found for use in South africa. At that time, eight years ago, a team of expert builders came out to Pinetown to transform the original caravan into the vehicle of which we hoped you would be proud to own, and the foresight of the design staff and the builders proved to be right.

edge strip

The New

The latest GYPSEYs are designed to a specification that has been largely dictated by you. This is the caravan that thousands of customers say they want. The chassis and bodywork is strong, infinitely durable, and pretty to look at. While inside their layout gives you all the comfort you have asked for. And all the GYPSEYs built at Pinetown have hydraulic and overrun brakes for your safety.

Latest GYPSEY Caravan

Cut-a-way view of the New Gypsey

Article supplied by J Kingman.
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