Some Devon conversion facts..

Discussion in 'Camper Conversions' started by Poptop2, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    The Devon conversion company has had association with VW since 1956.

    They were the official UK Volkswagen converters of type 2 vans from 1972 which they began producing in 1956/7.

    The company operated out of the ' Alexandria works in Sidmouth Devon, and later Exeter until 1985, when the company folded.

    The name was bought and the Devon company now operates further north in Ferryhill county Durham and have been doing so as a family firm for over 21 years.


    The original company was began by a chap called Jack White in a garden shed in Sidmouth, and traded as 'J P WHITE'. Jack was a carpenter builder with a passion for VW's. He began producing the caravette in earnest from his garden shed in 1956, moving into the Alexandria works, a former gasworks site at SidmoutH, with it's own railway sidings.
    In 1960. It employed 75 local tradesmen and were producing 1000 caravettes a year.

    Jack died in in 1963 from an heart attack whilst driving at the Alexandria works factory.

    The company was sold on by Jacks wife to the Renwick Wilton & Dobson Group who took on most of the staff and continued to trade under the J P White (Sidmouth) Ltd name until June 1971, when it was renamed 'Devon Conversions Ltd'.

    By 1972 the company was the official vw converter for the UK, and sold 3500 campervans per year.
    The company moved to Exeter in 1981, before finally going into voluntary liquidation in 1985. The end of an era in British campervan history.

    A VW being delivered to the works via train..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The gaswork site..

    [​IMG]



    The original Devon company produced vw conversions from 1956. The range included the caravette, Like the Westfalia The caravette could be ordered with a Dormobile roof option. In 1956 a Devon VW type 2 conversion would cost you £200 plus the cost of a van, roughly £850 - An awful lot of money in those days, so only for the wealthy.



    The Devon conversion company carried on it's association with VW until 1985 when the company folded.

    The range of Devon conversions included names such as Caravette, Torvette. eurovette, sunlander , Moonraker, Devonette, Continental and Sundowner.

    In 1978 a Moonraker would set you back a whopping £5157.38p



    There seems to be a lot of Devon brochures about however like the Westfalia company pictures of the factory seem to be scarce. below is a brochure with a few factory picture from mid to late 70's.
    [​IMG]

    A early Devon caravette..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A later Devon Eurovette..

    [​IMG]

    Please feel free to add your own pictures/ brochure etc to this thread, I know it isn't comprehensive and a lot of it people will already know a lot of this.. but with the right input it could be a very interesting thread indeed.

    A nice Torvette badge.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  2. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    My first vw which I bought in the late 70s and used until 1988 ish ,, A Devon caravette.

    [​IMG]

    This picture was taken on the dam at Nant y Moch Wales in 1986 and the perm Lou is wearing still makes me smile.
     
  3. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    I think this picture is a brilliant representation of how Britain and The Devon company worked in those days.

    I like the ad hoc parking and the obvious lack of health and safety issue's that we work with today, and the laid back idyllic style of living. Note the houses around the factory which I presume were built for the former gasworks employee's. I wish I could make out the various cars in the picture.

    I am guessing the picture is from the early 60's. I think there is a Commer centre of the picture, I may be mistaken.

    I can see a lot of splitscreen panel vans in the top car park, and possibly a beetle not far from the Commer.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
    Lord Congi and stumpy77 like this.
  4. LOVE THIS! there needs to be more info on here about Devons! I have one and I love it because its British, Westies are amazing in their own right but so are Devons! :D Ill dig out some promo material I have for the devons

    B
     
    Lord Congi and Poptop2 like this.
  5. here are what I have, some makes for quite cool reading!
     

    Attached Files:

    Poptop2 likes this.
  6. couple of original stickers in my bus , bit curled up but spose they are 40 years old
    [​IMG]
    colour code sticker[​IMG]
     
    Poptop2 likes this.
  7. dog

    dog Administrator

    Nice work guys. In about ten years when mine is up and running I'll post some pics of mine in here
     
    Miss Rosie and Poptop2 like this.
  8. rickyrooo1

    rickyrooo1 Hanging round like a bad smell

    did you know they converted panel vans?
     
  9. True and I have the brochure to prove it (got given it at dubfreeze),will take a photo later of the back ,78/79 Sundowners were on vans :)
    Plus of course Devon would convert any T2 you took them ,so you could have had a prototype panel and got it converted in 78 to a Moonraker :)
     
  10. Nice thread
     
  11. Great thread, I also have a Devon image.jpg
     
    Poptop2 and Lord Congi like this.
  12. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    Some pictures I unashamedly stole from the samba..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Jack White the founder of J P White conversions.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
    salad.dodger2 and Lord Congi like this.
  13. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    One for Rick. The sidings at sidmouth gasworks. model layout.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    The works after Devon moved out..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Again pictures courtesy of the samba. Thanks to them.
     
  16. A 1978 Devon Moonraker cost 5157 pounds....................How much is that in todays money?? Anyone?
    I'm interested to see how my resto. costs compare.
    Tony
     
  17. nice one Malc.....love the interior of the J2 in the third newspaper clipping down....bunk beds:D....no canoodling in those days
     
    Poptop2 likes this.
  18. Can anyone tell me if mine is a Devon please?
    image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 18, 2018
  19. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    £25000 Tony.

    I calculated that using an inflation calculater, The simple yard stick would probably be how much a new Danbury costs and the basic jobby is £32k going up to £54000, as of last years prices.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
    Bhubesi likes this.
  20. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    Yes It looks like a caravette, Devon louvre windows too!
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
    pow likes this.

Share This Page