Classic Car Mag Marketplace – Commer PB Campervan

Filed under: Classic News |
Commer PB CampervanHere at Classic car we enjoy watching the classic market and think it’s time to detail some of the vehicles you can purchase right now. We also want open our sales room to readers; offering you the option of advertising your classic by producing a small write up and pictures. Its free to all and contact can be made through our web site or facebook page where we can advise on the transfer of pictures and copy. Trade & private sales welcome.

Today we bring you a vintage commercial offering and the a private sale with: Allan Saunders 07739 340371

Location: Fareham, Hampshire
Year: 1975
Mileage: 72,900
MOT: August 2018
Price: £9995.00 Offers Invited

Commer PB CampervanOriginating from Biscot Rd Luton, the name Commer was first attached to commercial vehicles well over a century ago. For those of a certain age group the Commer/Dodge are remembered wearing yellow livery as telecoms vans or the light blue version that struck fear into neighbourhoods; especially if they didn’t have a TV licence. Post WW1 the group faced heavy debts and was bought out by Humber in 1926 who themselves would become part of the Rootes Group five years later. Throughout the following decades Commer commercials were to be found on every street corner across the nation but when Chrysler swallowed up the Rootes Group the Dodge name appeared in the early 1970s. Eventually, the Commer range would be re-labelled Dodge completely and by 1977 a final, new model arrived and although it varied little from the previous versions, the popularity of the Commer FC/PB (Dodge Spacevan) meant the last vehicle left the light van Dunstable plant in 1983.

The Uncommon Commer
Commer PB Camper vanThe was nothing like the FC on Britain’s roads in 1960. Rootes group introduced its first version light commercial van, the Commer FC (forward control), rounded in shape with wheels buried way inside the panel line. Visually startling initially but appreciated in later years as unique and rather stylish. Surprising then that the first designs would include a raid on Rootes Group parts bins with a Hillman Minx 1500c engine mated to a Commer light van gearbox. Driven through a Humber Hawk prop-shaft with suspension from a Sunbeam Alpine and door handle from a Hillman Husky, no doubt many more parts were shared but that didn’t hinder the options open to the ‘FC’. Sixteen different body options catered for every trade from milk float to undertaker and it would be the first light van to offer a diesel version. Upgrades came in 1961, 63 and 65 with the PB version available in 1967; the development ensured a much improved vehicle from the first version. An automatic gearbox became available (mainly enjoyed by TV licence detector vans) and the Hillman Hunter 1725cc engine with 58bhp would be the future power plant for petrol consumers, whilst a new 1752cc Perkins diesel became an option.

Go Wild in the Country
Commer PB Camper vanA large amount of Commer/Dodge vans were saved from a life of drudgery by those folk who head for the great outdoors most weekends; campervan alterations are common but vary in quality. This 1975 example is one of the last bearing the Commer name and comes with an inventory of repairs, upgrades and general TLC carried out by the two previous owners. The history file is plentiful, stacked with invoices, mainly from the last two owners, who have both lavished time and considerable funds and it shows. The addition of a high-top roof taken from a 1968 Commer is one feature that not only allows for extra storage but enables the occupants to stand up; even me at 6ft 3in. Finding a solid-rust free example of any 40+ year old commercial is a virtually impossible challenge and no doubt if you look closely enough the odd spot maybe visible; overall the metalwork, especially around the wheel arches and window frames, looks great. The seating arrangements, including the front bench, transform into a full size bed and your home on wheels offers sink, cooker and fridge. Power availability is via a pair of standard points which cater for any further electrical needs the owner has.

Commer PB Campervan interiorThe invoices confirm a reconditioned 1725cc engine was fitted in 2011 and has less than 2000 miles travelled. At the same time a fresh clutch was installed along with a new Weber carburettor, whilst most recent up grades include electronic ignition plus an electric fuel pump. All of the improvements can certainly be appreciated once on the move, the Rootes engine was never renowned for its performance but this one is eager and minus any untoward noises, so won’t hold up the moderns around town. The floor change gearbox is four speed and precise, easy to select with a smooth clutch and the steering, although unassisted, is lighter than expected. The driving position is directly over the front wheels and right alongside the engine but the addition of a full width bench seat does much to keep the noise and heat away from the front seat passengers. Future owners should appreciate that this is a classic camper and with the unique and very attractive design comes motorway performance that reflects its age; 50-60mph is comfortable, after that noise becomes a factor, but this PB is not about performance, it’s about fun. The Commer delivers plenty of enjoyment, pleasant to drive and gorgeous to look at with its Old English White over Pastel Green and the current owner has just installed new carpets, headlining and door cards ‘up-front’. The perfect excuse to travel to classic events across the country, return at your leisure, never queue for a cuppa or lunch again and turn plenty of heads.