The Bluebird Highwayman wasn’t guilty of daylight robbery – quite the opposite, in fact.
No motorhome did more to popularise coachbuilt motorcaravanning than the Bluebird Highwayman. It delivered unrivalled value for money with a launch price of just £870, undercutting every other coachbuilt and many van conversions.
The price included a full oven cooker, 12V lighting, fresh water tank, and a toilet compartment with chemical toilet. Its development and popularity were down to a brace of big hitters: Bill Knott, owner and manager of Poole-based Bluebird Caravans, who understood the competitive advantages of mass production, and super salesman Peter Duff, the proprietor of Bluebird main dealer Croft Garages, in East London.
Launch models were on the pretty much identical Morris J2/Austin 152, with Commer’s PB joining in the early 1960s. Famously, in 1963, the Pelmore family took theirs on a 27,000-mile global trip, which it completed without a breakdown, even though their extreme adventures included off-road activities such as fording 17 unbridged rivers in Afghanistan.
Bluebird Caravans was formed in 1940, but became CI Motorised after merging with Sam Alper’s Sprite-led caravan empire in 1963.
Several survive and are still in regular use, although if you’re looking for a more modern ‘van, our best motorhome round-up is well worth a look.
You can also see what we made of the Hymer Caravano on Borgward B611, a previous entry into the Practical Motorhome Hall of Fame.
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