The Carlight Owners’ Club

 

 The Carlight Owners’ Club was formed in 1962, being the brain-child of Lt Col Tom Boam, who at that time was the Foreign Touring Advisor to the Caravan Club.   In the Caravan Club’s Road Rally of the previous two years there had been a significant entry of private Carlight owners competing: indeed Tom Boam had won the Concours D’Elegance with his Contintental/Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire outfit, whilst Carlight Works Manager Cyril Gregory habitually won the best time in the High Speed Test, with a fully equipped Caribbean, with refrigerator working normally and all gas mantles intact at the end of all the tests, towed by his 3.4 Jaguar.   These Carlight enthusiasts, along with others, formed the nucleus of the Carlight Owners' Club when it was established at the Stamford Hotel, Stamford in May 1962, when W.R.Earl, the founder and designer of Carlight Caravans was elected President, and Tom Boam fittingly became Chairman.   The Club was, and still is, a national  organisation, i.e. there are no local divisions or areas, which means some

 Members tow long distances to rallies.

                                                                                        Harry Iredale’s S1 Bentley & Casetta in the High Speed Test 1968                                                                                                                                          

Tom Boam expected (!) that Carlight Owners’ Club members would already be members of the Caravan

Club and would wish to rally with their appropriate Centre and also tour abroad.   Therefore the founding members decided that the Owners’ Club would meet at what in those days was seen as the beginning of the caravanning season (in May) and also at the end of the season in September.   One rally was to be held in the northern half of the country, the other in the south.   Times and attitudes of caravanners change, but the Carlight Owners’ Club continue this tradition.   The members, like their caravans, tend to

be traditional in their values and the rally programmes reflect this.   Rallies are now of five days duration, Thursday is arrival day, a Wine & Cheese evening is held on the Friday, a dinner on the Saturday night and on the Sunday most of the ralliers sample the food and drink at some convenient pub or hostelry.   Departure day is Monday.   There is much social activity and conviviality during the five days as old friendships are renewed and new ones made.   As a break with tradition the Club organised a rally in France in June 1997  at the request of the members.

 

It will be appreciated that this programme tends to appeal to the more mature caravanner.   The majority of vans within the Club are the two-berth Commanders (13/2 & 15/2) and their predecessor the 14 foot Casetta.   The Club is not aware of any surviving Caspians, a few Cosmopolitans and Caribbeans are still extant, one or two hardy souls tow Contintentals whilst the odd Colonial survives on static sites.   There has always been a steady flow of enquiries to the Club concerning the availability and where-abouts  of 60’s and 70’s Carlights from enthusiasts of the marque wishing to purchase the same.   The Club holds an Exemption Certificate for the running of 5 day rallies and is a member of ACCEO.

 

It is interesting to note that Tom Boam and his fellow Carlight enthusiasts fixed the Owners’ Club subscription in 1962 at £5.10s.0. being the same as the Caravan Club subscription at that time.   Whilst the Caravan Club has tended to keep pace with inflation, the Carlight  Owners’ subscription has done less well, being £10 per annum.   A car-badge is available (if you have somewhere on your car to put it) and also a club tie at cost, the Owners’ Club does not exist to make money out of its members.  (However, since the Club has suffered from habitual badge collectors who join for one year, buy a badge and are never seen again – it is debatable whether or not they actually owned a caravan- members must attend 2 rallies in one year before being eligible for a badge)    For those long-standing members who have to give up caravanning, an Associate membership exists, so that links made within the Club can be maintained – Associate Members receive all communications/newsletters etc. and can attend social functions at Club rallies, making their own arrangements for accommodation etc.

 

Further details and an application form for membership can be obtained from

          Peter White, Hon Sec. Carlight Owners’ Club, The Hall, Howden, East Yorkshire, DN14 7AG

                                                          Telephone 01430 430391