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Restoring 1983 Jurgens Kampioen B

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VIEWS

We are old campers and have been camping for years. Admittedly, we do not camp a lot. As they say: Less is more.

Our dream is to become Swallows and travel all over the country.

We had been looking for an old caravan to tailor to our needs, so when the opportunity presented itself, we grabbed it. We bought a 1983 Jurgens Kampioen B and stripped the entire inside area, so that we could see what we had to work with.

Luckily there was very little wood rot, and we replaced the few areas to fix this. The wiring was redone, and a new fridge was bought and installed.

The dinette seats really irritated me, as they just weren’t practical, since we do not let other people sleep inside the caravan with us. And as they took up so much space, I suggested that we remove the seats, but that we keep the table. In my mind’s eye I saw two fancy chairs which nobody but us would be allowed to sit on!

We replaced the floors and walls with more modern Novilon, and in the bathroom we installed a toilet and washbasin. The planning of the island bed proved to be a headache: we redid it three times before we were satisfied.

After all of the above had been done, we started changing the caravan step by step to align it with what we had in mind. We believe anything is possible!

Hennie changed the rounded openings of the cupboards to square, and we had doors made to fit with this style. (The plan for the cupboards was first drawn up and measured on the floor until we were satisfied.) Then we built in the frames for the new cupboards, and finally the finished doors.

We went camping about three times while the caravan was still unfinished, just to make sure that what we had changed was what we actually wanted, as well as to see what else we wanted, before we painted.

Many people told us not to paint the wood, but it is Supawood and had to be painted or wrapped. We decided on paint because we simply would not have been able to get the right effect we wanted with the wrap.

After we had tested various paints, and after many visits to paint shops and trade shows, we decided on chalk paint. We bought paint twice, but the colours just didn’t work.

It was actually by chance that Hennie found the colour we wanted. We bought it immediately, and with that we could finally finish our project. It took us a whole weekend to paint the interior.

Our caravan is luxurious inside, and there is lots of space to move, as well as tons of packing space. People said that we would lose a lot of packing space by removing the seats in the dinette (which had storage underneath), but now we actually have more practical packing space – we do not need to remove or lift anything to unpack.

Our dream has become reality.

Will we ever sell this caravan? Yes, sure… we look forward to rebuilding the next one!

Words & pictures by HENNIE & KOBIE BOTHA

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