design - Land Rover section

 

Carawagon logo

Carawagons are Land Rover based camper conversions manufactured by R.J. Searle Ltd. of Sunbury on Thames England. This company is no longer in business.  If you are here looking for parts, Matt Savage in the UK is offering replacement rubber parts for the roof and possibly will be offering additional parts in the future.  His Land Rover shop web site is Matt Savage Land Rovers.  Matt has a page showing replacement Carawagon rubber parts.

There was a Carawagon conversion for each model of Land Rover and for the two door Range Rover. Combined, there were more Land Rover based Carawagons built than any other caravan conversion. Most Carawagons were built to order. This means that only group orders are likely to be identical.

R.J. Searle developed a unique wood and metal fold up roof that provided six feet, two inches of head space at the centre top. While this top provides the Carawagon it's signature look, not all models were equipped with a raising top.

Another Carawagon signature accessory is a rear tent or awning that has a built in slide out frame. This was a very popular option on the 109 based conversions. The slide out frame was metal tubing that slid onto a slightly larger diameter fixed tubing for storage. The fixed tubing was external to the top on models that did not have upper cot beds and internal to the top on models that had upper cot beds. The fixed tube frame was used as fixing points for the upper cot beds.

Three door series Land Rovers came with a bulkhead behind the front seat.  R. J. Searle removed this bulkhead and added special fold down front seats.

The company also reworked the rear side benches. These were cut down into a wheel well with deep storage space. These body modifications were made with the approval of Rover and did not affect the vehicle warranty.

Carawagon storage
The new storage space went clear down to the frame top. This greatly added to available storage space.

There were two basic common rear interior configurations. One configuration had two deeply padded bench seats facing each other with a removable table between. The other had a deeply padded bench seat along the left side and a cabinet/table along the right side.

The bench side facing seat cushion lifted up to revel the deep wheel well storage area. The seat folded down, sometimes with the front seat to make a twin size bed. This fold down bed was normally 6'2" long and 2'6" wide.

A stove was normally mounted to the inside of the rear door and folded up for storage. A pair of two and a half gallon propane tanks normally provided fuel to the stove.

A wash basin was normally provided along with a nine gallon water storage tank and a foot operated pump.

Curtains were provided that covered the inside of all the windows.

Also standard was a florescent lamp mounted above the rear door and a pair of directional lamps towards the front of the side bench seats that can be used to illuminate the table or as bed reading lamps.

Carawagon Models:

Model 80
Based upon the Land Rover 109 three door version.

Model 100
Based upon the Range Rover two door version

Model "Continental"
Based upon the Land Rover 109 station wagon, or five door version

Model "Safari"
Based upon the Land Rover model 88.

Brochure showing the basic configuration of all Carawagon models (Large gif with long download time)

Carawagon options brochure (pdf file)

 

Model 80

Factory specification brochure for the model 80 conversion (Large file, long download time)

This may be the most common model of Carawagon built. The model 80 was based on the long wheelbase three door Land Rover. It was available in a number of standard "special versions".

Carawagon model 80 Land Rover

The model 80 conversion came set up for 2,3 or 4 births. The elevating roof is 4 feet wide and 8 feet long, providing a 6'2" interior height at middle.

The rear side sliding windows had tinting and bug screen options

The front seats fold down to meet the rear side bench seats creating a pair of 6'2" X 2'6" twin beds.

Carawagon interior
There were two common stove mounts. One was on a cabinet at the rear corner. The other was on a fold up shelf on the rear door. Two 2-1/2 gallon propane cylinders provide fuel for the stove and are located under a side bench.

A Florescent lamp above rear door provides the standard rear interior lighting. Also standard is a washbowl and faucet, a nine gallon water container and foot pump. a wardrobe/cupboard is normally provided for storage.

  Carawagon rear


Options included such things as a fuel fired heater, cab roof rack, extra florescent lamps, slide out frame rear tent/awning and an optional chest refrigerator in place of the front middle seat.

Military Carawagon


The illustration shows the optional Carawagon roof rack. There were two versions of this rack. One is a heavy duty rack shown here on this military model 80. Note that the front mount is at the base of the windscreen allowing it to handle heavier loads without cracking the windscreen off road. The other version is a smaller lighter duty rack that was commonly with leisure conversions.

Carawagon Continental  with top erected.

 

Model 80 specials:

Tactical command post

Military Land Rover Carawagon

This version is primarily configured for an office that can also convert to sleep one person. There is a side facing bench along the left side and a large cabinet that converts to a large desk along the right side. A pin board covers the left wall above the desk. There is a stainless steel sink in the right rear corner and the rear door normally has a fold up stove. The interior is a blackout style can can quickly be made light proof. A rear awning is usually provided.


Here is a 1976 ex military Carawagon that has been repainted.  Note that the sliding tubea for the rear pull out awning are mounted externally.  They tubing is commonly mounted inside 5 door Carawagons.

 

Mobile clinic

Medical Land ROver Carawagon

The mobile clinic version was designed as a roving clinic that visits remote villages to provide vaccinations and provide routine health care.

This standard "special version" came with an elevating roof, cupboard, folding stretcher, sink & water facet, large water tank with foot pump, flashing beacon lights, nurses seat, air conditioning, water filtration system, sterilization unit, tent extension, patient couch, and a vaccine refrigerator.

Mobile education unit:

This standard special had an audio visual equipped outside classroom on each side of car. It came equipped with a large extending awning on each side, 2 folding blackboards, an insulated cupboard for heat sensitive tapes and films, independent generator, AV connections on both sides, an internal central AV operations console, and a fixed swivel chair at the console.

Return to the model listing

Model 100

Factory specification brochure for the model 100 conversion (Large file, long download time)

The model 100 conversion was based upon the Range Rover two door version and had one standard "special version".

Range Rover Carawagon

Range Rover Carawagon
with kind permission of Land Rover Enthusiast magazine copyrighted

The model 100 came with a pop up roof that provided 188 cm (6'2") of head space in the centre. The pop up area was 193 cm X 125 cm (6'4" X 4').

Interior Range ROver Carawagon

 

Two opposing bench seats provide rear seating and convert into two beds. Privacy curtains that close off all the windows are standard.

Range Rover Carawagon beds

Rear seating: two opposing seats along the rear sides. Storage space under seat bottoms. Erectable centre table provides dinning or work area in rear between seats.Two swivel lamps (one shown below) for dining table or bed time reading and a fluorescent lamp (at rear of lower picture) fitted above rear door provides standard interior lighting. There is a fitted wardrobe, 100 cm (3'3") tall for clothing storage at the rear.

Range Rover Carawagon table
Picture shows stove in stored position and table extended


View of extended table in a different Carawagon. with kind permission of Land Rover Enthusiast magazine copyrighted

The console between front seats contains a sink with electrically pumped water, and a two burner stove. The counsel lid cantilevers back to become the rear centre table.


Picture shows stove with 2 burners and broiler accessible from passenger side. When not in use the stove is flipped rearwards over the sink.

Range Rover Carawagon stove

Range Rover Carawagon dish storage
Storage for dishes and cutlery is located below the sink

 

 

Options include: removable refrigerator or cool box, toilet, second battery, fuel fired heater, rear tent extension, bug screens & more.

Range Rover based Carawagon
Range Rover Carawagon with optional rear tent

Geological survey station (mobile office)

Geological survey station package combines a mobile office with sleeping facilities for one person.

The passenger side of the Range Rover is equipped with the standard side facing bench seat that converts into a single bed. The Driver's side is equipped with a combination storage cupboard with a large work desk. There is a wardrobe with cupboards and drawers. An air conditioner with independent generator rear tent with two folding cots come standard with this option.

Return to the models listing

Model "Continental"

Factory specification brochure for the model "Continental" conversion (Large file, long download time)

The Continental is based upon a long wheelbase station wagon or five door model. These were leisure conversions that could be equipped with two, three or four sleeping births, cooking, washing and storage facilities.

Land Rover Carawagon

Land Rover Carawagon

The Continental Carawagon conversion was available with or without the pop up roof. A full roof rack was normally provided with versions that did not have pop up roofs. A short front cab roof rack was usually provided with the pop up roof.

Standard features included a pop up roof and short roof rack or a Full length roof rack, twin opposing rear bench seats that convert to twin beds, a table, storage cupboard, Sink with hand pump faucet, 9 gallon water storage, and a 2 burner stove with broiler.

Options include a dual fuel refrigerator, roof mount hammock beds (popup version), dual battery, air conditioning, fuel fired heater, rear awning or tent, small built in vacuum cleaner, a portable toilet and fly screens.

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Model "Safari"

Factory specification brochure for the model "Safari" conversion (Large file, long download time)

Safari Carawagon brochure (pdf file)

The Safari conversion was based on the short wheel base Land Rover three door. No pop up top was available for this conversion so it is difficult to identify in the field.

The Safari had the behind the seat bulkhead removed and seats that fold down into twin beds installed. Privacy curtains blocked off all the windows. This conversion included a removable rear table for the opposing rear bench seats, under bench seat storage and a cooker on the rear door that folds up for storage. A full roof rack also came standard.

Options include a chest refrigerator in place of the front centre seat, dual batteries, air conditioning, a toilet and a rear tent extension.

 

Wayne Davies is making a study of Carawagons with emphasis on the military versions. If you have anything to add to his web site please contact him directly.

If you would like to see additional pictures of Land Rover Carawagons, visit the Carawagon gallery page.

If you have any additional information about Carawagons or brochures that you could send high grade photocopies of please contact me so that I can make this page more complete. Thanks.

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