Reno Rescue: 1979 Millard 15′

Article by · 27 May 2017 ·

ANDREW GILLAN always wanted to restore a classic Millard and grabbed the opportunity when it came his way.

Where did you find your van and how did you come to own it?

After owning a 1970’s Millard over 10 years ago, I’d grown to like that particular shape with its bullnose front and curves. After four years camping with my family we decided we were ready for another van and it was an easy choice.

What condition was it in?

Mechanically it was A1. The paintwork was chalky and the front of the van was pretty badly damaged by rocks. It had been driven along dirt roads and the inside of all the cupboards were full of bull dust.

Leaks had also left stains and damaged the chipboard doors and some ceiling panels. It was the typical brown timber laminate walls and cupboards with green curtains, vinyl floor and green perspex pantry doors. The van came with the original manuals for the fridge and stove; handy as they’re both working fine after almost 40 years.

What do you know of its history? 

From what I tracked down, it’s a 1979 Millard 15ft – built the last year before Millard closed its doors. I bought it from a friend in Gympie.

Its history with me started with converting the single beds into a king size bed, which can sleep my wife and I and our little one. I took out the club lounge and fitted a combination diner/double bed, which sleeps our two older boys. I was originally keen to restore the original look, but due to its condition we decided to go for a makeover.

I fitted 6mm propeller plate aluminium to the front of the van, which instantly lifted its appearance. I stripped out the whole inside of the van and gave it six coats of Solar Guard in white, and replaced the perspex green doors with smoked charcoal.


I fitted a 12v battery system with LED lighting and replaced all 240v power points and switches. The exterior was eventfully repainted a shade of white. We also replaced the annexe.

I still have to replace the vinyl flooring, update the exterior lighting with LEDs and add a solar panel. There’s always something I seem to want to do it.

What were the biggest challenges in the restoration?

As all Reno Rescuers soon find out, old vans are built from the inside out and it’s painful trying to remove anything without destroying it. I turned the two single beds into a king bed and the club lounge to a combination dining area and double bed. It was very tiresome pulling out all those staples with a set of long nose pliers!


The other thing that was challenging was fitting the propeller plate front. It was hard to get the sheet of aluminium to follow the curve. I opted for the thickest aluminium plate too, as I didn’t want a re-occurrence of rocks and stones denting the front again.

Link: Read the full story in Issue 15.

Do you have a Reno Rescue you’d like to share? Email us at [email protected]


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Australia's premier magazine focused on the people and culture of caravanning and camping.

1 Comment

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    Donna Shaw

    1979 millard pop top.. leaking but cannot for life of me find it’s source. Comes in over bed on 1 end. Have sealed all outside and inside around woodwork . Think maybe inside of cross arms but I have no idea.

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