POTATO SOULMATES: Rob and Jen Sandow show off their costumes.
POTATO SOULMATES: Rob and Jen Sandow show off their costumes. Bianca Hrovat

Colourful characters and their caravans in town for Sprints

QUIRKY characters rolled into Leyburn at the weekend to show off their colourful caravans at the annual historic sprints.

Here are a few of the cool souls who were out and about.

RETRO ROD

RELAX, MAN: Grathan Leatherbarrow is living the dream.
RELAX, MAN: Grathan Leatherbarrow is living the dream. Bianca Hrovat

LOUNGING in a lawn chair beside his flaming orange hot rod, donning a Rastafarian hat and board shorts, Grathan Leatherbarrow is "living the dream”.

The Noosa man took the long road to get here, working as a landscaper for many years before coming along the 1941 Willys Panel Van at a car sale.

"It reminded me of the cars I'd seen in films as a kid,” he said.

"I'd always thought they were the coolest.”

It was the perfect time for Mr Leatherbarrow to make the investment, as he planned to retire within the year.

FLAMING HOT: Hot rod owned by Grathan Leatherbarrow.
FLAMING HOT: Hot rod owned by Grathan Leatherbarrow. Bianca Hrovat

Now the panel van carries along Mr Leatherbarrow's new home, a brightly painted caravan with all the retro fittings to match.

He'd found the caravan in a paddock somewhere along his travels, where it was previously being used as a cubby house.

"I paid someone to do all the paintwork and fixed up the rest myself, but the inside is mostly original,” he said.

"It's got everything you need.

"I'm just living the life I've always wanted.”

PAIR OF POTATOHEADS

POTATO BUT MAKE IT FASHION: Jen Sandow in her Mr Potato Head caravan.
POTATO BUT MAKE IT FASHION: Jen Sandow in her Mr Potato Head caravan. Bianca Hrovat

JEN Sandow found the Mr Potatohead to her Mrs Potatohead just in time for the caravan display.

In a rush to find a theme for her caravan, Mrs Sandow stumbled upon the idea of the potatoheads online and within two days, she'd shipped a selection of figurines and costumes to her home in Mount Tamborine.

A-PEELING: Potatoes are everywhere in the caravan by Jen Sandow.
A-PEELING: Potatoes are everywhere in the caravan by Jen Sandow. Bianca Hrovat

"I work fast,” she said.

"Give me an idea and I'll just run with it, no worries at all.”

She carefully placed the potatohead figurines around the vintage caravan, with its original interior of pastel pink and mint green.

POTATOES FOR TEA: Interior of the caravan belonging to Jen Sandow.
POTATOES FOR TEA: Interior of the caravan belonging to Jen Sandow. Bianca Hrovat

Then came the proposal, when she asked her husband Rob Sandow to don the Toy Story costume for two, sweltering days at the Leyburn Sprints.

"He didn't find it very a-peeling,” Mrs Sandow said, then cracked up laughing.

"Get it?”

FRIENDLY FAMILY RIVALRY

FAMILY AFFAIR: Deanna Ward, Josh Ward and Sasha Wilson in front of their retro caravans.
FAMILY AFFAIR: Deanna Ward, Josh Ward and Sasha Wilson in front of their retro caravans. Bianca Hrovat

IT'S a family affair for the Toowoomba family the Wards, who discovered their love of vintage caravanning around the same time six years ago.

Josh Ward said he happened upon his 1941 caravan first and was taking his time to collect original parts and complete an authentic restoration.

Partner Sasha Wilson said they enjoyed spending time together at antique stores across the country, searching for the pieces they needed to complete their van.

"It's just a fun part of the process,” she said.

"It could be years before we have everything we need.”

Josh's mother and fellow caravanner Deanna Ward couldn't wait that long.

"I was getting frustrated seeing how long they were taking,” she said.

"So I just went and bought one for myself.”

Mrs Ward channelled her love of pin-up into her 1960s van, taking out multiple awards over the years.



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