Berkhamsted, in Hertfordshire, was once a hotbed of motorcaravan innovation, as the MCC and MI Fiat micro-campervans show.

We all know the importance of choosing the best van for a camper conversion, and at one stage, MCC (Motor Caravan Conversions) used 10 different base vehicles. Most had an elevating-roof. In addition to building conventional canvas-sided vertical-lift or side-hinged roofs, MCC also patented a game-changer, the Spacemaker. Basically, it’s an offside hinged elevator, with a mechanism that allowed the nearside edge to extend well past the sidewall.

This facilitated the inclusion of a full-sized double bed in even the most diminutive base vehicles, including this month’s inductees, the rear-engine Fiat 850T and 900.

The 850T had a water-cooled four-cylinder 843cc petrol engine; the later 900 used the more powerful 903cc unit from Fiat’s 127 car. MCC became MI (Motorhomes International) in 1980 and continued to build on the little Fiat. Models included Fargo, Fiesta and Farina, although the most popular was Amigo.

Layout was constrained by the rear engine. Converters of the rear-engine VW Transporter usually covered it with a rock-n-roll seat bed, but MCC chose to mount the kitchen there instead. A (folding) double Pullman dinette enabled these little ’vans to seat six adults and sleep four!

Fiat Amigo by MCC and MI. Built in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, 1971-1987.

The Spacemaker roof division survived the parent company’s demise, relocated and supplied other van converters for some years afterwards.

If you’re thinking of carrying out your own conversion, check out how this couple went about converting a double decker bus for ideas and inspiration.

Overall length: 3.75m (12’ 4”), much shorter than the last incarnation of the Ford Fiesta.

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