It has been more than 60 years since an eight-year-old Ian Stuart joined his family to collect their “pride and joy” campervan in Aberdeen.
The Stuart family struck lucky when they won the Bedford Dormobile through a competition in The Press and Journal in April 1963.
They all travelled from their home in Forbestown, Strathdon to the SMT Sales and Service Company on Bon Accord Street to collect their prize.
All of the excitement was documented by the newspaper with Ian’s parents, James and Margaret, describing the win as “beyond words”.
After six decades, and many a family motoring holiday, the campervan is still in “pristine” condition.
Ian, who lives in Glenkindie, and two of his brothers Richard and Jimmy, have now decided to gift the much-loved family car to the Grampian Transport Museum so it can be enjoyed by other local families and transport enthusiasts alike.
“Entering the competition was just a one-off thing,” Ian said. “My dad had just passed his driving test when we saw the competition in the paper.
“And, then we won it. It was their first ever car and we’ve had it ever since.”
‘Pristine’ condition after six decades
The Bedford Dormobile allowed the Stuart family to enjoy holidays away from home over the years.
They would sleep two on a bunk and one night even fitted seven people in the campervan.
When the five brothers got a bit older, they started bringing a tent along on their trips.
“It was my father’s pride and joy, he looked after it well,” Ian shared. “These campervans weren’t famous for being long-lasting and there’s very few about these days.
“It’s quite a feat that it’s still going and is in pristine condition.”
Museum manager Ross McKirdy said it will bring back “happy memories” to many and thanked the brothers for their generosity.
“The Stuart family can take great pride in the donation they have made to motoring history,” he said.
“We are offered a lot of items which we are unable to accept because of our limited storage capacity but the Dormobile is a very special vehicle which we can now conserve, display and use to educate visitors of all ages about family motoring holidays in the 1960s.”
Campervan given to Grampian Transport Museum
When Mrs Stuart died, she requested the campervan was sold at auction as she did not want to choose who of her five sons would take it on.
However, the brothers could not bear to see it leave the family.
“It was put to auction in Dundee but I went down too and bought it,” Ian said. “I couldn’t bear to see it go away.
“My father was always very proud of it and my mother’s wish was to see it in a museum, so I wanted to carry that out.
“It has been at the Grampian Transport Museum for a few years already to preserve it for the future, but now we’ve decided to gift it permanently. There’s no point in it being hidden away.
“The curator loves it and he was delighted when we said we’d give it. And, all thought it should stay in the area due to its local history.
“The museum is the best place for it.”
Nick Webb, assistant curator, added: “Not only is the Bedford Dormobile now a rare vehicle in itself, it is an icon of the early days in the history of today’s popular past time of Motorhoming.
“The ‘Dormobile’ is the same to the early campervans as the ‘Hoover’ is to vacuum cleaners and the ‘Transit’ is to vans,.
“To now have this one family-owned example with such an interesting local history in completely original condition is a real privilege. It will be conserved for future generations to be able see a piece of real transport history from here in the north-east”