Paul and Sally

Commer PB 'Hi Tor' conversion by TorCars of Torrington, manufactured and first registered in 1975

A key feature of the Hi Tor is its unique moulded fibreglass hi-top roof which has a moulded luggage rack at the front and twin persex sky lights at the rear, it also one of the few Commer camper conversions to have the desirable side door option.

Our Commer was purchased by us via Ebay from a member of the TorCars club, who had toured extensively in the Commer throughout France and Spain during their ownership and were sadly only selling due to their ailing health.

Prior to this previous ownership, the Commer had been purchased by another TorCars club member but was missing its camper interior. The subsequent interior refit appears to have been sourced from an Auto Sleeper conversion rather than being an original TorCars. Apparently the TorCars club are only vaguely aware of one other roadworthy Commer Hi Tor in existence.

We'd been contemplating a Commer for a while but were holding out for a side-doored camper, so we broke all the rules when buying our van and bought with the heart and not the head, relying purely on the photos and sale description ! Not generally to be recommended but I don't think we did too bad, especially as it made the 6 hour post-purchase drive home without missing a beat - no mean feat for a 32 year vehicle !

All appears pretty solid underneath and bodywork wise seems better than many, there is evidence of handpainting which no doubt has helped prevent any major deterioration, as we have all our flutes intact. Our first MOT was rather nerve-wracking but apart from the tightening of some (dangerously !) loose suspension bolts it sailed through. Fingers crossed we continue this good fortune ! Worst points are all the usual Commer key foibles, a rotten cab peak and a crumbling heater airbox - oh, there's the engine which was weedy even new ...

Driving a Commer may not be fast nor frugal but it's certainly heaps of fun !

(Our 'Hi-Tor' was featured in a 'classic camper' group test in the June 2008 edition of Practical Classics, however this was taken from a photo session prior to our ownership in late 2007).