For 60 years now, Elddis has been producing leisure vehicles and is a popular name in the motorhoming sphere. A few years ago, Elddis was purchased by Erwin Hymer, and now, the brand offers three ranges of motorhome – the Accord, the Autoquest and the Encore – as well as a campervan range, the Autoquest CV.

Regarded as one of the best motorhome brands, Elddis’ popularity is shown by the silver awards it has won at the Owner Satisfaction Awards in 2023 and 2024, where our readers vote to let us know how they get on when buying their ‘vans. As well as this, the brand regularly appears at the Practical Motorhome Awards, where our experts judge the latest releases on the market for the new season. This included the Elddis Autoquest 115, a winner at the 2023 Awards.

Here, I’m looking back at 60 years of Elddis, taking you back to the origins of the brand in the 1960s and bringing you up to the present day.

Elddis in the 1960s

Highly regarded, long-established Co Durham-based haulier Siddle C Cook and family had been members of the Caravan Club (now the Caravan and Motorhome Club) since the 1940s. Siddle (reversed to become Elddis) decided to build his own trailer caravan and enter it in a 1963 Caravan Club competition for home-builds, held at Longleat. He won both first prize and critical acclaim from the cognoscenti. The following year, Siddle was ready to commence commercial production.

Elddis Siddle
The Elddis Siddle

Elddis in the 1980s

The brand’s first motorhome – built on the Fiat Ducato Al-Ko chassis – commenced production in 1985, and was monikered Autostratus. 

The Autostratus
The Autostratus

Following a fire at its original premises, the firm moved to Delves Lane, in Consett, which is still home today – in a purpose-built facility. 

Also unveiled in this decade was the palatial Autoking, an A-class motorhome. But perhaps of greater significance was the launch of what was to become the UK’s best-selling value-for-money motorcaravan range of all time – Autoquest. 

The Autoking
The A-class Autoking

Not content with just producing coachbuilts, the Elddis Excellence panel van conversion joined the offer. Its stylish GRP high-top was designed and moulded in-house. 

Elddis in the 1990s

A decade of expansion and many new models, using a variety of base vehicles as disparate as the Lilliputian Bedford Rascal, and the ‘mine’s-longer-than-yours’, tandem rear-axle Talbot Express Al-Ko Emperor. The Autostratus received a comprehensive specification upgrade. 

The Talbot Express Al-Ko Emperor
The Talbot Express Al-Ko Emperor (foreground)

Other base vehicles included the Toyota HiAce for its panel van conversion Hi-Life, Bremen Mercedes-Benz, and finally the Renault Trafic for the Ariane and the Eclipse. Elddis became part of the Explorer Group in 1998, following the departure of its previous owners, ABI, from vehicle production. 

The Autocirrus
The Autocirrus

Elddis in the 2000s – present day

A period of consolidation. In 2017, Elddis was taken over by the Erwin Hymer Group. Reducing the number of base vehicle brands and a tighter focus on each range has seen the firm through national economic recessions and Covid. 

Autoquest remains hugely popular, with many dealer specials available. Pictured here is a Marquis Majestic from 2011.

The Marquis Majestic
The Marquis Majestic

Two other major changes were ‘Belts = Berths’ in 2012 and ‘SoLiD’ (fully bonded) construction in 2013. The Compact Accordo appeared in 2014, followed by the upmarket Encore in 2015. 

The Compact Accordo
The Compact Accordo

After a gap of 20 years, a return to panel van conversions was made in 2018 (13 – CV Series).

Looking to find out more about more modern releases from different brands? Then take a look at our overview of the new Swift Trekker range, a Ford Transit-based range of two models.

 If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, why not get the latest news, reviews and features delivered direct to your door or inbox every month. Take advantage of our brilliant Practical Motorhome magazine SUBSCRIBERS’ OFFER and SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER for regular weekly updates on all things motorhome related.