You’ll have struggled to miss one vehicle in particular at this year’s Festival of the Unexceptional. Looming over much smaller vehicles in the unexceptional parking display was something you could almost describe as an unexceptional house: a 1982 Hymermobil camper from German brand Hymer.
There is, we reckon, growing interest in classic camper vans right now, both unexceptional and otherwise. But looking a little rough around the edges this one fit right in at the Festival, and was almost certainly one of the most comfortable ways of getting to Grimsthorpe Castle. Once owner Peter had got over the size, anyway…
“It’s tricky!” he says. “The windscreen is miles away from where you sit. And it’s very wide, basically as wide as a lorry. Plus, they only ever made these in left-hand drive…”
Underneath the Hymermobil is a 1982, first generation ‘Mk2’ Ford Transit (bear with us with that description, Ford people love breaking down generations into separate mark numbers!), originally packing a 2.4-litre ‘York’ inline-four diesel. This one has been upgraded at some point in its history though, liberating a little more urge.
Peter admits he doesn’t know the bare specifications of the new unit, only that it no longer leaves oily evidence on his driveway, and that performance has taken a decent jump up from the original 50-ish mile-per-hour motorway cruise pre-swap.
“It keeps up with traffic now,” he says, “and it’s a bit of a surprise to some people as it probably looks like a shed going past! But the later engine has made it far more usable, and I believe it’s a bit lighter too. Being a Transit, parts aren’t really a problem either.”
He really isn’t wrong about the driving position, with what seems like several feet of flat shelf beyond the standard Ford dashboard, and a fair bit to either side too (“it’s difficult when you’re coming into roundabouts!” he notes…). There is however more than enough space to stand up fully, when you eventually park.
“All the fixtures and fittings are much as they were when it was new” he explains, “though there’s a new cooker in there. It’s pretty well equipped for a 40-year old camper, there’s a bed above the cab, another bed from the sofa, a shower, a toilet. I came down before the show last night and stayed in a local truckstop.”
Other than the Festival, trips so far have included a handful of jaunts to Suffolk. Hailing from Germany though it’s probably been around the clock once or twice in the past, and Peter points out that the previous owner lived in Hungary.
He might go further, but there are already several other vehicles to keep him occupied, not least other classic Transits. As a result, there are no restoration plans for this particular Hymermobil. “It’s just going to stay as it is really – I’m not gonna mess with it, so it’ll stay pretty original.”