A cursory glance at Hymer’s first motorcaravan – the Hymer Caravano on Borgward B611 – might suggest that it is very different from its current offer but actually, the opposite is true.

The Caravano was handcrafted to a stratospherically high standard, plus the selection of base vehicle and fixtures and fittings were tip-top for the time. It would have been an aspirational purchase, much like Hymers are today – it remains a popular brand, having been voted the best motorhome manufacturer at the Owner Satisfaction Awards 2022.

Borgward’s B611 was a wide forward-control van with a higher payload and a superior drivetrain compared to its competitors.

It also featured more powerful engines and a four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox driving the twin rear wheels.

Three layouts were planned, but (anecdotally) only this one was ever built. Three-abreast cab seats were located just ahead of the two inward-facing lounge settees. The latter converted into a generously sized transverse double bed and an adolescent or a child could sleep on the cab seats. Behind the left-hand settee is the hob, with a fridge underneath, a sink and a chest of drawers. These are ahead of a wardrobe.

The Hymer Caravano on Borgward B611
The Hymer Caravano on Borgward B611 in the Erwin Hymer Museum

Adjacent to the single rear door is a toilet compartment with bifold door, a foldaway basin and a freestanding chemical toilet.

Behind the right-hand settee is a longitudinal base unit with a hinged worktop, which could have been specified with more storage or with an additional fold-out longitudinal double bed.

Hymer launched the Caravano in 1961, although Borgward ceased trading immediately after production commenced. Only three Caravano examples were ever built.

The fully restored survivor pictured in this article is in the Erwin Hymer Museum at Bad Waldsee – it’s a 1961 Hymer Caravano 3 on Borgward B611, built in Bad Waldsee, Germany, with a length of 5.1m (16’ 9”).

Are you looking for a more modern ‘van? Then our best campervan guide is well worth checking out, as we round-up the standout options currently on the market.

You can also take a look at the Bluebird Highwayman, another entry into the Practical Motorhome Hall of Fame.

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