As a precurser to this updated page, let me share the comments made by Andy, a Bedford CF camper enthusiast in the UK, who now owns and enjoys a delightful Bedford CF campervan named Betcie. He wrote to me in February 2018 to say, "This was the first Bedford I found that inspired me to go for it with ours, so I thank you for that because through the magic of Google I found the story of yours, and that was when we bought our beloved Betcie, still a labour of love every day, but worth every minute!"
I hope the story of 'Dolph' inspires many others to restore and enjoy their own Bedford CF campervans around the world!
I purchased this individual and amazing built-to-order Dolphin campervan on April 12 2011. The vehicle had always been in the one family. It was built to order for an interesting man who emigrated from England to Australia at a very young age and led a fascinating life enjoying true outback Australia in a way none of us could do today. In his older years he commissioned this vehicle at Dolphin in Dandenong so he could continue to enjoy the country he had adopted, and which he loved so much.
On his passing, the owner's daughter and her husband became custodians of the vehicle, and they treasured and used it regularly for another 21 years before they moved to a retirement village. The large folder of service records, the honest condition of the vehicle, and the obvious love the couple had for it, the times they had enjoyed in it over more than two decades, and indeed for each other, all contributed to our instant 'falling in love' with the camper we soon named 'Dolph', and the decision to purchase it.
My partner Patricia and I enjoyed Dolph after attending to a few urgent items, and some photographs of our time with Dolph in its original form can be seen here. However, I decided on a further 'quick' freshen in late 2011.
Many months of painstaking work later the restoration is now almost completed, and 'Dolph' will enjoy another 40 years on the road. Some photos of the rebuild can be seen here. They will show how I eventually decided, after a lot of research, soul-searching, and sleepless nights, to reclad the entire body - after doing structural repairs - in 1mm aluminium sheeting rather than the original white, ribbed aluminium caravan cladding. I had developed an image in my head that I couldn't ignore, and even when it all seemed too difficult, I worked out a way I could make my vision work, and went ahead with it.
It is definitely a result that Patricia and I love, and judging by the reaction Dolph enjoys on its regular outings, it's a result that many other people appreciate as well.
The vehicle is also now fully 'Leave No Trace' compliant, with electrically controlled grey water storage of my own design that seals automatically as soon as the engine is turned off, making it impossible to forget to close the system when setting up camp. The grey water can be released only with the engine running, and switching the system to open from the driving position when it's at a suitable dumping spot.
Many thanks go to the following Bendigo businesses who were engaged in aspects of Dolph's mechanical restoration.
I highly recommend any of these businesses to you.
click here to see the other shed inhabitants
Fellow enthusiasts are welcome to drop me an email.