Are you tired of cookie-cutter tract housing? Does your van down by the river look like everybody else's? Well, today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Commer Caravan will ensure your home stands out, but only if you find its price outstanding.
Apparently, cartoon cars should be paid for with only pretend money, at least that's one take away from yesterday's 1996 Lightning McQueen Avenger's 80% Crack Pipe loss. Anthropomorphizing the car may have been a decision that's open to debate, giving it a creepy mouth and then not fixing the curb rash on it so it appears to be suffering a herpes outbreak is not.
There were so many makes and models represented in both Cars and its inevitable sequel Cars 2 that it's a bit of a let down to have seen such a weak representation from the Rootes Group. No Hillmans, Sunbeams nor Singers, and nary a Talbot in sight. That's a shame because today's 1964 Rootes Commer looks like something that would turn that Cars tow truck into a master-Mater.
It is safe to say that, if you grew up living here in the states, you've never seen one of these before. Should your upbringing have taken place in Jolly Old, well then perhaps you have fond memories of a family holiday in one. Pip, pip! Regardless, the form factor is something we all know and love - an automotive platform draped in a boxy body that stretches the passenger compartment from nose to tail, and places the driver precariously close to whatever it runs into. Typical of the small van form, the Commer came in various guises including commercial and passenger carrying, and a good number of them apparently were converted into camper duty.
This San Diego-located 1964 edition has a three-quarter ton payload capacity and is powered by a 58-bhp 1,592-cc OHV four shared with Hillman's saucy Minx III. Backing that up is a four-speed manual gearbox which sends power back to a leaf-sprung rear axle. The Commer Van Fan site (PDF) - yes, there is a web page for everything - notes that, during its life span, there were nearly two dozen companies in Great Britain converting these diminutive people movers into rolling vacation abodes.
This one has been so be-campered and features both a camp stove and sleeping accommodations for four. Everything looks relatively complete despite its rat rod appearance, and aside from some mechanical housekeeping, it is claimed to be drivable from day one. The seller says that the current owner is a Rootes expert - which should be quite the ice breaker on ladies night - and assures that he will continue to assist in the Commer's upkeep post-sale.
You might need a little more help than that as while it seems to have its act together, certain elements like the gaping hole in the pop top may make it less suitable for those in in inclement climes, or anyone with an irrational fear of crows stealing their eyes. Fixing that might be a priority, as would stemming its downward slide to decrepitude. Other than that, this Commer, as it sits, is about ten times cooler than a Westie, which should more than make up for its 70 mph top end and acceleration that's more lethargic than Downton Abby. Zing!
There will be those of you who will exclaim where would you find parts for this thing? and for those who do, let us be clear, this is not your ride. There will be a comfortable Corolla coming along, so don't worry. For the rest, this is a challenge that is in no way insurmountable, the Commer having been built by the thousands, and sharing most of its mechanicals with cars that are even more common. Plus this one seems to be about as solid an example as you could expect to find.
The seller says this Commer was an original prankster, having been imported to California way back when. It's left-hand drive, and comes with a clean title and a set of blue and gold plates. There's also the assurance of future guidance in either its restoration or just general upkeep, and when you tally all that up, it comes out to. . . well, the seller seems to think, $4,100.
His opinion isn't what matters here though, it's yours that counts, and so it's now time to give it up. What do you think about $4,100 for this comely Commer? Is that a price that would have you camping at his house to buy it? Or, is seeing that price like getting a Rootes canal?
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