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1950's Roll Along Stratus Restoration

Jun 28, 2021
3
2
15
Hi Everyone,
For along time now I've intended to introduce a restoration project that has joyfully and at times turbulently consumed alot of spare time and very limited money over the last 18 or so months. I managed to acquire an unknown model of a 1950's 18ft Roll Along Stratus which amazingly wasn't entirely rusted/rotted through.
It was designed and built as a mobile dentist unit and amazingly came complete with the bolt holes from where the dentist chair once sat. Fortunately now further into the project it's once slightly sinister origin is well obscured! I'm now fast tracking the works in order to hopefully have it road worthy some time within August.
Work has been phased since 2019 when I first had to get it to a point that I could tolerate living in it while living and working on a farm I helped start in Oxfordshire. My standards weren't high but the ultimate finish Ive always intended to be high, obviously completely bespoke and hopefully luxurious.
More recently I've cured all leaks by pealing back and resealing the aluminium roof, trims and gutters. Ive also replaced alot of rotten timbers and wall panels, installed a 240v electrical system (hook up only, 12v to come), raised insulated floor complete with under floor heating, added a skylight, a kitchen, bed, burner and some furnishings along with a new wheel arch. I've also removed 2x 150ltr water tanks from the underside.
It's been a big labor but true delight to bring life back to it from the mold ridden, bird house it once was. Ultimately the goal is to be have tiny home of sort which with the right vehicle will allow me hit the road visit camp sites, friends and festivals in.
Ahead of me is the more exciting while also expensive jobs of restoring the braking system from its original pneumatic brakes to an overrun system by adding a new delta hitch, rods and cables plus adding new towing lights. I'm also part way through prepping the exterior aluminium for respraying which i'm open to colour suggestions - metallic ivy green being the current top contender. Polishing the roof to a mirror 'air stream' like finish is underway and eventually I'll partition a small section inside for a shower and toilet. Im also building new doors, getting new glass for the boarded up windows and refraining from the outlay of like for like windows seals.

The braking system is my current main focus, it's been a steep and satisfying learning curve from a once impossible feeling/costing endeavor. The drum brakes were last week revealed as in surprisingly good nick. The bearings and
axles are hardly pitted at all and the grease barely cloudy. The brake shoes thankfully have ~5mm left on them and I'm discovering what it could one day get them relined... I'm 30 years old with a reasonable amount of engineering experience but having to consider the very real possibility of if it would be better to replacing the wheel hubs for something alko' esc, modern and more easily serviceable. Right now I want to avoid that and depends on if I can find a spare wheel hub and what the tyre fitters say about the two split rim inner tubes 36" tyres I dropped off this morning. If I can get hold of spare rim and the tyres can be replaced I'll hold off from reconsidering new wheel hubs until the brake shoes are nearly spent.
Hugely entertainingly over the weekend I was able to weigh the whole thing using two pallet weigh beams and a hanging scale and will refrain from saying it's weight in case people want to have a shot at guessing. All I'll say is that I'll be doing my b+e,glad to not need a c+e and very envious of grandfather rights!

So all in I'm half broke, pretty exhausted and thoroughly satisfied and excited for what is still to come.
Of my immediate questions to the community the main ones I have for now are firstly has anyone ever heard of Roll Along caravans? I rang the company which still active them and a lovely lady there explained no one working there now did then and they're well consumed with government contracted prebuilt cabins.

My second question is does anyone have the foggiest idea of where parts might still be found, ideas, clues or people I could speak to in order to learn more about the wheel hubs, drum brakes and tyres?
And also please in a very general sense please tell me what your impressions of the project are?


All the best,

Theo
 

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  • Like
Reactions: Beehpee
Mar 27, 2011
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Keep up the good work and you’ll be over the moon when it’s done, good luck with it.

BP
 

Mel

Mar 17, 2007
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That is a great bit of work. Thank you for posting. Can I suggest that you write the project up, complete with photographs and see if PC or Caravan magazine would like to purchase the article for publication.
You probably know that there is a retro caravan club- they may have some idea about sourcing parts.
Mel
 
Jun 28, 2021
3
2
15
That is a great bit of work. Thank you for posting. Can I suggest that you write the project up, complete with photographs and see if PC or Caravan magazine would like to purchase the article for publication.
You probably know that there is a retro caravan club- they may have some idea about sourcing parts.
Mel
HI Mel,

Thank you for such insightful suggestions. I've submitted my interested to join the retro caravan club and will do exactly as you've suggested and write up the project for possible publication!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mel
Aug 31, 2021
1
0
10
Hi Theo. We've just been offered one of these, it's so interesting to see you have one and your work on it!! It still has the x-ray machine and light apparatus attached. We are experiencing difficulties trying to get it home, we were wondering how you managed with this? I love it, it's so very quirky!!
Hi Everyone,
For along time now I've intended to introduce a restoration project that has joyfully and at times turbulently consumed alot of spare time and very limited money over the last 18 or so months. I managed to acquire an unknown model of a 1950's 18ft Roll Along Stratus which amazingly wasn't entirely rusted/rotted through.
It was designed and built as a mobile dentist unit and amazingly came complete with the bolt holes from where the dentist chair once sat. Fortunately now further into the project it's once slightly sinister origin is well obscured! I'm now fast tracking the works in order to hopefully have it road worthy some time within August.
Work has been phased since 2019 when I first had to get it to a point that I could tolerate living in it while living and working on a farm I helped start in Oxfordshire. My standards weren't high but the ultimate finish Ive always intended to be high, obviously completely bespoke and hopefully luxurious.
More recently I've cured all leaks by pealing back and resealing the aluminium roof, trims and gutters. Ive also replaced alot of rotten timbers and wall panels, installed a 240v electrical system (hook up only, 12v to come), raised insulated floor complete with under floor heating, added a skylight, a kitchen, bed, burner and some furnishings along with a new wheel arch. I've also removed 2x 150ltr water tanks from the underside.
It's been a big labor but true delight to bring life back to it from the mold ridden, bird house it once was. Ultimately the goal is to be have tiny home of sort which with the right vehicle will allow me hit the road visit camp sites, friends and festivals in.
Ahead of me is the more exciting while also expensive jobs of restoring the braking system from its original pneumatic brakes to an overrun system by adding a new delta hitch, rods and cables plus adding new towing lights. I'm also part way through prepping the exterior aluminium for respraying which i'm open to colour suggestions - metallic ivy green being the current top contender. Polishing the roof to a mirror 'air stream' like finish is underway and eventually I'll partition a small section inside for a shower and toilet. Im also building new doors, getting new glass for the boarded up windows and refraining from the outlay of like for like windows seals.

The braking system is my current main focus, it's been a steep and satisfying learning curve from a once impossible feeling/costing endeavor. The drum brakes were last week revealed as in surprisingly good nick. The bearings and
axles are hardly pitted at all and the grease barely cloudy. The brake shoes thankfully have ~5mm left on them and I'm discovering what it could one day get them relined... I'm 30 years old with a reasonable amount of engineering experience but having to consider the very real possibility of if it would be better to replacing the wheel hubs for something alko' esc, modern and more easily serviceable. Right now I want to avoid that and depends on if I can find a spare wheel hub and what the tyre fitters say about the two split rim inner tubes 36" tyres I dropped off this morning. If I can get hold of spare rim and the tyres can be replaced I'll hold off from reconsidering new wheel hubs until the brake shoes are nearly spent.
Hugely entertainingly over the weekend I was able to weigh the whole thing using two pallet weigh beams and a hanging scale and will refrain from saying it's weight in case people want to have a shot at guessing. All I'll say is that I'll be doing my b+e,glad to not need a c+e and very envious of grandfather rights!

So all in I'm half broke, pretty exhausted and thoroughly satisfied and excited for what is still to come.
Of my immediate questions to the community the main ones I have for now are firstly has anyone ever heard of Roll Along caravans? I rang the company which still active them and a lovely lady there explained no one working there now did then and they're well consumed with government contracted prebuilt cabins.

My second question is does anyone have the foggiest idea of where parts might still be found, ideas, clues or people I could speak to in order to learn more about the wheel hubs, drum brakes and tyres?
And also please in a very general sense please tell me what your impressions of the project are?


All the best,

Theo
 

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