Van From Scotland
use boxing terminology, the Thomson Clyde is in the middleweight
class; light enough to move around easily and fully equipped
for "staying". It was brought out at Motor Show time with
an eye on the potential caravan touring and living
this type of van there is always a danger of falling
between two stools, too much equipment for touring and
not enough for living purposes. Thomson, however, have
wisely concentrated on warmth and comfort, providing
a hot water supply, a solid fuel stove and they have
also given plenty of leg room in a 17-footer by making
it a centre kitchen van.
van was tested over a 180 mile run in the bleak weather
of February, and the Clyde travelled very well indeed
behind the editorial Wolseley 6-80 with perfect steadiness
at the 30 mph limit, and apparently a fair amount in
is not the time to examine the undergear in comfort,
but fortunately the Clyde came from Ferraris of Cricklewood
and we were able to crawl underneath the van in
their covered showrooms. The chassis is fairly conventional,
being made up, with the exception of a 2in x ¼in.
angle cross member, of 3 x 2 x ?in. channel. There are
five cross members and two longitudinals , welded up
into box sections at the spring shackles. The same method
of reinforcement is used for the drawbar arms where
they emerge from under the body. The drawbar, of Y form,
extends well back and for extra rigidity two channel
steel arms are welded between the apex of the drawbar
and the corners of the chassis frame. The axle is 1¾in.
square and straight and the van is well tyred with
6.50-16 Dunlops .
Tayco stove had been taken out of the van in the course
of modification by F.O.C. so it was
not possible to get an accurate figure for the nose-weight
in standard trim, but without the stove it was
an easy matter to lift the drawbar for coupling up and,
with the help of a slide and clamp jockey wheel, manoeuvring
the van was quite simple.
check on the overrun brake before we moved off showed it to
be quite ineffective and although it didn't
take long to fiddle about with the slack cable and link
to fix it, nevertheless the efficiency of overrun braking
is most important. This isn't the only van tested that
has been sent out with the brakes not properly adjusted
and it is a point to be watched by makers.
appearance the Clyde is like an extended version of the Almond,
with its ridged roof, a sandwich of Fibreglass between hardboard
topped by painted canvas, exterior walls of aluminium
, and inside panelling of hardboard painted cream. The floor
is tongued and grooved hardwood and, to guard against draughts
caused through shrinkage, this is covered by hardboard and
lino . The tangible result of this well-made insulated shell
was apparent when Newmarket was covered in snow. With an
Aladdin heater burning through the night and the roof
vent open we slept as snug as the proverbial bug and didn't
hear the snowplough clatter by at some unearthly hour in
windows are placed at each end of the van, two on the
offside and one on the nearside. They are all 20 x 30in.,
with polished aluminium frames, and have side fixing
stays and screw retaining catches. The curtains
are cotton prints with pelmets to match, the bright side
of the pattern facing outside to' impress the neighbours
. The curtains are held back by tapes, easily tied and
untied. The door on the nearside is glazed and has a
neat handle in the centre so that it can be shut easily
without groping for the cylinder lock.
the front end wall is a double bed/settee which pulls
out on its own legs; comfortable for long folk (6ft.
6in.) not so good for wide people (3ft. 9in.).
kitchen unit along the offside wall is attractive in
appearance, 4ft. 9in. x 1ft . 5in. of hand polished oak
veneer, but not as practical as it might be. The square
enamelled steel sink is set into, the centre of the wood
with a loose~ cover which turns upside down to form a
small aluminium drainer. It is - impossible to wash
without splashing the wood. The Bottogas Royston at the
end of the unit has a very useful rack above, but again
if any serious cooking is taking place and saucepans
have to be interchanged it is not easy to remember the
hand polished oak in the flurry of culinary art.
to the wall on the right of the sink is a Barralet gas fired
water heater, an excellent device. When this storage heater
is full of hot water, the gas jet dies down to a glimmer
and as the hot water is drawn off, by pushing it out with
fresh cold water via a hand pump, the gas roars into action
again. On the move it is advisable to syphon off the water
from the Barralet or else it will splash out of the top.
The water system is quite ingenious. An eight-gallon tank
is housed in the kitchen unit and filled from a tap outside
the van. There is a single action plunger pump and a tap
by the sink. When the tap is closed, cold water displaces
the hot from the heater; when the tap is open, cold water
is pumped direct from the tank.
the kitchen unit are roof lockers, with a square of aluminium
to protect the wood immediately above the Barralet .
There may be a tendency for the single panelled doors
to warp in the heat. Three large cupboards complete the
kitchen unit, the centre one being the ventilated gas
locker. The other cupboards are not ventilated although
they are ideally placed for a larder. Instead the cupboard
between the two beds at the rear of the van has a louvred
vent, but it is not near enough to the kitchen to be
convenient as a larder, and is inaccessible when the
wardrobe door partition is across.
the prototype of the Clyde, the doors on this cupboard were
hinged at the centre so that when the table was in place,
the tomato sauce, knitting or what have you could be reached
easily. Unfortunately this good idea has not been adhered
to. The table (3ft. x 2ft. 5in.) has a tubular metal leg
with a rubber stop on the end. There is an alternative position
for it on the kitchen unit by the settee and when not in
use it clips neatly out of the way against the wall on the
near side of the settee.
single beds have 6ft. x 2ft. mattresses and are very
comfortable. Access to the bedding lockers is by fall-front
doors so that small items can be stowed easily but it
is a bit more difficult to insert pillows and bedding
generally. Above the beds are roof lockers and shelves.
the cooker is a first-class wardrobe, 45ins. wide. Inside
the door, which has a mirror, on the right are shelves
for shirts, underclothes, etc. There is an extending
hanging rail, four hooks, a shelf for hats and a shelf
to the wardrobe by the door is the Tayco stove with an
comes from a gaslight over the kitchen and in the end
bedroom and electric lights on either side of the offside
fixed partition. If these are in use for any length of
time the rear Light bulb would have to be removed as
it is on the same circuit as these lights.
are a pair of metal roof vents on either side of the
partition, fixed so that they open on spring-loaded .arms
in opposite directions, and painted to reduce condensation.
Fortunately we had the right vents open when the snow
came down at night.
item of equipment is a carpet strip to add to one's comfort.
Clyde had quite a run round on all road conditions, and
in most weather conditions and proved itself as a touring
van. Without giving luxury it has the essentials for
living purposes, and the points we have criticised could
be improved by any handyman without much difficulty.
For those who want mobile housing at less than de luxe
prices the Clyde is certainly a van to be Considered
|Data Panel: Clyde
Price : £560
plus £3 15s. P.T.
Unladen weight :
Weight ex works : 27 cwt.
|Dimensions : Body length 16ft.11ins.; shipping
length l9ft. tins. 4ins.; Overall width 7ft. 4ins.; body width
7ft. Overall height 9ft. Interior width 6 ft. 9ins.;
working length l2ft. 4ins. Towing height, ground to fixing
Undergear (sketch not to scale): A 3
x 2 x ?in, channel steel; B 2 x ¼in. angle. Box section
at spring hangers, drawbar members reinforced, trusses from
nose to front frame corners. Axle 1¾in . square straight.
Half-elliptic springs, nine leaves, 36 x 2 x ?in. Cam brakes,
overrun cable operated. Dunlop tyres 6.50-16. Brockhouse
coupling. Clamp fixing retractable jockey wheel. Brace operated
Construction . Hardwood framing. Outside
panelling aluminium 18 s.w.g . Inside panelling hardboard.
Roof double skinned hardboard, painted canvas over. Fibreglass
insulation. T and G hardwood floor, covered hardboard and
lino . Oak faced furniture. One piece door, glazed. Five
windows, polished aluminium frames, rounded bottom corners,
20 x 30ius. Four metal roof vents. Two fixed wall vents
Equipment . Double bed/settee 6ft. 6ins
x 3ft. 9ins. Two single beds 6Oft. x 2ft. Spring interior
mattresses. Centre kitchen. Bottogas Royston cooker,
folding rack over. Enamelled sink. Built-in water tank,
8galls., hand pump. Barralet's gas-fired water heater.
Ventilated gas cupboard and two others in kitchen. Ventilated
cupboard at rear. Wardrobe 45 x l7ins., partition to roof.
Mirror. Hook-on table 36 x 28ins. Tayco solid fuel heating
stove. Five roof lockers shelves. Two gas lights. Two electric
lights. Carpet strip.
Layout : A double bed/settee ; B table
stowed; C shelves; D bed support housing water tank; E kitchen
unit; F lockers; G water heater; H cooker; I single beds;
K cupboard ; L table ; M wardrobe N heating stove.
|Towing car for test: Wolseley 6.80, 1950.
Makers: Thomsons (Carron) Ltd., Falkirk.
On NCC Approved List.
1954 Clyde Datasheet
|"Reproduced from an article in
a 1954 issue of The Caravan"