|It is almost four years since the Mk.
version of the Thomson Almond caravan was tested by The Motor.
In the interim there has been steady development and the
Mk. V version shows a great general improvement. In shape
and construction there is a strong similarity between the
two caravans and the characteristic V-roof with marked fore-and-aft
sweep has been retained. On the latest model, however, the
roof is of aluminium, which probably accounts in part for
a reduction in overall weight of ~ cwt. compared with the
earlier version, despite more comprehensive inside equipment.
Measuring 13 ft. 6 in. in length and 6 ft. 7 in. overall width, the Mk.
V Almond is a four-berth model of normal layout having a pull-out double-bed
settee across the front end, two single berths running along the side
walls at the rear, a centre kitchen with wardrobe opposite and sideboard
between the two single berths against the end wall. A modification on
this latest type is a three-section window extending the full width of
the rear end which provides greatly improved interior lighting during
Quite obviously, the addition of certain interior furnishings has affected
the balance of the caravan, which results in a nose weight saving of
21 lb. over the Mk. I version and this, in turn, makes for easier hitching,
unhitching and manhandling in general. Such rebalancing, naturally,
has its effect upon the general towing qualities and whereas the Mk.
1 version could be taken smoothly up to 50 mph, whereupon a violent side
sway occurred with little warning, the Mk. V version began to make its
presence felt, but in a much more gentle manner, at a slightly lower
speed, the wander only increasing very gradually with a further increase
On corners, both easy and fairly acute, the Almond followed in an impeccable
manner at all reasonable speeds and affected the car's steering very
little indeed. At no time was pitching experienced nor snatch due to
incorrect operation of the brakes. These components, which have a lining
area of 84.7 sq. in/ton, do their job smoothly and very effectively;
indeed, one can fairly say that the Mk. V Almond was one of the few caravans
recently tested where, upon normal pull up, one felt that the caravan
brakes really were doing a good job of work.
Ground clearance on the whole was adequate for practically any cross-country
going in which the average caravanner is likely to indulge, but the corner
jacks which, in the up " position, protrude some distance below the chassis
members, may get entangled in hummocks which the 'van would otherwise
Inside, the Mk. V Almond provides very pleasant and comfortable
quarters for holiday caravanning and the comment made on
the somewhat stark furnishings of the Mk. I model no longer
applies. Both on the pull-out double berth and the single
berths, the spring interior cushions have been increased
in width and now provide really comfortable sleeping quarters;
the centre kitchen unit with its wide, drop-down front and
additional clip-on table (which would be better still with
a heat-resistant top), cutlery drawer and full complement
of pots and pans and a plate rack, which although flimsy-looking,
does its job satisfactorily, is one of the most practical
of its type we have encountered.
The cooker, in particular, deserves mention in that it is of ample dimensions,
has air adjustments to each burner and a grill-pan rack high enough to
bring whatever is being cooked within close proximity of the heating
element. Like so many other caravan cookers, however, it has taps which
make flame graduation very difficult.
Lighting is by two gas points, now set in positions where they are not
likely to be knocked. In the 'van tested, there appeared to be some restriction
in the flow to the light at the rear end with the result that only sub-standard
illumination was obtainable.
The sideboard between the two single berths has a lift-up lid and shallow
tray at the top to serve as a dressing table. but the main portion constitutes
a food cupboard and is ventilated for that purpose. With the large dining
table clipped on to it, access is not very easy, although the designers
have made the best of a bad job by arranging each of the two doors to
open from the outside edge.
Bedding is carried in the usual lockers beneath the berths but access
to these compartments, instead of via lift-up lids, is through apertures
in the front face. While this does away with the necessity of wrestling
with mattresses it does mean that one has to grovel on the floor to get
at the contents, and stowage is made more difficult by having to slide
the pieces in a few at a time.
For its size, the Almond is well equipped with capacious roof lockers,
and there is also plenty of open shelf space sensibly provided with a
In all 61½ cu. ft. of cupboard and locker space is provided, an
increase of 10% over the earlier model, which brings it up to slightly
above average for caravans of similar size so far tried out by The
Our test was carried out at
the height of the recent cold spell with the thermometer
outside registering several degrees of frost, so that the
following comments should be read with these conditions in
mind. It was possible to raise the interior temperature to
a reasonable degree above waist level by leaving one of the
gas rings burning, but an ill-fitting bottom batten at the
front of the end cupboard admitted a piercing draught at
foot level from the outside ventilator. The adjustable Perspex
roof ventilators were effective when open but one feels that
there is a case for the inclusion of two additional fixed
With the extreme weather conditions encountered and the efforts on the
part of the crew to maintain a fairly high inside temperature, condensation
on the windows was extremely heavy and the outline of the roof frame
could at times be traced by patches of moisture on the inner roof lining.
Nevertheless it is unlikely that there would be trouble in this direction
under weather conditions anywhere approaching normal.
These points notwithstanding, this latest product from the well-known
Carron concern is an attractive little caravan and will, one feels, enhance
still further the good name which the Almond has already earned, particularly
as it has been found possible to provide the greatly improved amenities
without increasing the price from £298.
|Data Panel: Almond Mk.
|Caravan: Thomson "Almond" Mk. V.
Price (as tested) : £298.
Makers : Thomson's (Carron), Ltd., Carron,
Frame: Rolled steel channel section,
welded and gusseted (Brockhouse).
Suspension : Semi .elliptic.
Track: 5ift. 7in.
Brakes: (type) Cable operated internal
expanding. Diameter 8 in. Brake lining area 72 sq. in.
Lining area per ton 84.7 sq. in.
Wheels: Pressed steel disc. Tyre size,
5.50 X 16.
Corner lacks : Brace operated (Brockhouse).
Outer walls: Aluminium (Fibreglass).
Roof : Aluminium.
Insulation Type: Fibreglass insulated.
Doors : 1. Type : I piece glazed top
Windows : Alloy frames. 7 (5 opening).
Berths: 4 arranged as I double, 2 singles.
Cooking : 2 burner gas hotplate with
Lighting : Gas. 2 points.
Kerbside (as delivered with gas cylinder) 17 cwt. 2 qr. 7 lb.
None weight (with cylinder in normal position), 126 lb.
Recommended minimum capacity of towing vehicle, 1,400 cc
Minimum ground clearance: 10 in, at corner jacks.
Locker and cupboard room: 61.5 Ca. fl, (not including cylinder cupboard).
Height of ball hitch with caravan level: 16 in
|EFFECT ON CAR PERFORMANCE
Towing car during test: Triumph "2000'' Roadster
|Fuel Consumption: (Premium Grade)
Without caravan 33.7 mpg. at 30 mph
With caravan 29.8 mpg. at 30 mph
Increase with caravan 14%
Braking: Pedal pressure required to maintain
20 mph, in neutral on 1 in l2 gradient.
Without caravan 9 lb.
With caravan 14 lb.
Increase per cwt. of caravan 34 lb
the February 10th 1954 edition of
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