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A hard three thousand testing a Glendale
THE 12ft. TWO-BERTH is rising in popularity, and the Thomson Glendale is one which has been winning many friends, as a look round the last National Rally showed. Our commitment to the International Rally afforded an oppor­tunity of testing it for 31 days (27 consecutive) of-very varied- weather and over 3000 miles of very varied roads.
A straightforward model with no unusual technical features, it quickly delights the user by its clean simplicity and practicality. The T-line shape is elegant and, thanks to the rounded ends and fairly steeply pitched Vee roof, air drag and side wind effects are reduced without materially cutting interior space.
The van tested was a near-1967 version. A modified roof line eliminates the 'bird's beaks' over the end windows. Paint is white, and a new waist rail of blue anodised aluminium. New window frames fit flush with the panels and provide for double glazing. B & B independent suspension, already standard for export, is now used on home market vans in place of torsion bars.
Behind the car used, a Jaguar 2.4 (all-up weight 33 cwt) any present-day caravan up to a ton or more should tow well, but not every light van sits the road well at speed on imperfect surfaces. The Glendale rode superbly. On the Belgian motorways it was taken to over 70 mph, and on badly worn sections of autobahn, at 50 mph, there was the satisfying sight of a rock-steady rear caravan window seen in the car's mirror.
Absence of roll was not surprising, for one knows the virtues of the B & B coil springs and dampers, but the freedom from pitching was striking. No doubt the car springs, without rear passengers, were right for the job, but the caravan was obviously contributing a very low centre of gravity and good weight distribution.
Time pressed all the way and it was not possible to weigh the van, but Thomsons say it weighs about 13 cwt ex works, or 13f cwt includ­ing two gas bottles and the optional refrigerator, while nose weight in normal touring trim is about l00lb. To us the noseweight seemed less than usual. It made for easy manhandling on awkward sites
Braking with the long-thrust, hydraulic-damped, system was excellent, without snatch, progressive, firm. We had trouble with the legs which, though well greased on the threads, did not turn easily in the mountings. One, fortunately at the front, packed up in the first few days. The van tyres needed no air during the whole period. After the first day the wheel nuts took a quarter of a turn.
The reversing stop, B & B's latest, was, on this van at least, exasperating. It engaged only if the sliding shaft was in a critical position so that, after halting, one had to shunt the van or the car (on a slope putting the van brakes on temporarily). On long-thrust systems we have learned to curse that but put up with it. But this stop also jumped out whenever the move back was checked by a bump or a hole. We had humiliating failures which did not impress foreign bystanders with British design or our skill. B & B say this fault must be peculiar to that coupling, but they are in any case altering the design.
The van took a severe beating. Speeds of 50 mph or so were maintained for miles where 40 mph would have been kinder to humans and bodywork. Variety was added by stretches of fearful potholes (safe speed 2 mph), Austrian landslides, deviations along desperately narrow lanes, and three areas of axle-deep flooding. Heavy rain, severely testing the wipers, persisted for 80 hours of driving, and the wash on the roads sprayed the underside of the vehicles mercilessly. On site, rain battered the van for many nights, but one week was scorching hot.
At the end, except for a slight trace of panel movement near the door, the bodywork was in admirable condition, in spite of its light con­struction. The paint came up well, and tar and fly marks were removed easily enough with a normal car cleaner.
The full-width front window leaked seriously, but the window was experimental and had the wrong stays, the new type not being ready. Some rain also entered at the three skylights. This is an old defect of many makes of van. We have long been pointing out that Perspex lights should overhang all round, not fit closely round the roof aperture frames.
For test purposes double glazing (Perspex inner) was fitted to the side but not the end windows. Some nights were cold, and the fire was used four times in August; other nights were muggy. When condensation was running down the front window there was only a slight mist on the side ones. But the increased metal due to the extra channel led to increased con­densation on the frames.
Internally the Glendale is pleasing to the eye. The large front window, walls and furniture in pale Japanese ash (Sen), wardrobe scribed to the ceiling and grouping well with the toilet room, gay curtains on Drape rails (new), fitted carpet, and unfussy tweedy seat covers, previously used only in export vans, all make it a van agreeable to sit in.
The standard Glendale has two single beds. For £2 extra one can get a conversion set which allows the mattress to be arranged across the van as a double bed. This gives an extra 6in of length for stretching, and would also be wanner in winter, getting the sleepers away from outer walls and windows. The mattresses, in buttoned covers, could be softer without losing their shape, but are comparable with most makes in resilience.
The rear end kitchen is decidedly low, even for a woman 5ft 6in. For real touring this price is worth paying for a view-through. With the Jaguar the view was shallow but adequate once the ball height had been set exactly. For 1967 the kitchen window is improved, louvres at top only. The Argyll hotplate burned well, though on one day the mixture control screws of both boiling rings fell out. Over the hotplate is a nicely made rack. Though it is fine for warming plates edge on and for drying smalls it cannot be used for keeping food warm, since it curves from back to front. The plastic-faced fall front, useful working space, has for 1967 a new side stay, much better than chains.
The plastic sink and drainer marks rather easily, but is a good shape and size. At the left is a Whale water pump-this one leaked slightly-drawing on a hose to an outside carrier. The cupboards below hold a lot and are on the whole well planned, but if the un-shelved cupboard were located under the sink the water supply could be kept connected to the pump, convenient for roadside halts and clear of dogs on sites.
KRIMML WATERFAL, Austria, in torrent during the drenching weather of August. The waterfall is at the eastern end of the superbly engineered Gerios Pass, between Zell am Ziller and Zell am See. The Jaguar and Thomson Glendale are at one of the viewpoints.
The wardrobe held all major clothing for a month. Some users might like to trade a little floor space, with perhaps a slight loss in appear­ance, for a deeper wardrobe with transverse rail, which would hold more for still longer trips or whiter use and give improved access. The wheel arches, especially the one in the ward­robe, should be insulated.
Good length in the toilet room allows for table stowage and towel rails (not provided).
A little more floor ventilation would better match the roof opening. The glazed door admits ample light at night.
We liked the invaluable roof lockers, with basic china provided and fitted, and the space on top of them and adjoining shelves left plenty of places to put things down. But we could not find anywhere to hang wet coats. The LM10 refrigerator lit easily, worked well, and remained alight except in the water splashes. Twice it shook loose. It seems that in several works the fitters tend to ignore the Electrolux instructions about gripping it at the top. The two gas lights, bigger than in 1966, give excellent light in the right places but are liable to be knocked.

Such criticisms allowed for, this is an appeal­ing van, well finished outside and in, and of sound basic design. You quickly imagine yourself owning it, and note that it lends itself to personalising.

In the valley of the Enns, central Austria Old and new in Hungary, on route 8,Budapest to Graz

The Glendale looking to rear.
New for 1967 is the kitchen window with louvers at top

The forward look. New windows have double glazing,
and for 1967 curtains are on Drape rails

Layout of the kitchen.
Refrigerator top provides extra work space
Doors of front cupboard are hinged at centre for easy access. Table clips have since been changed for a nylon rail
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