Originally, the B-series Hymers were mainly built on the Mercedes 206D and then on the Opel Blitz (Bedford CF) and occasionally on the Ford Transit. However, with the demise of the Blitz in late 1985, production of this series transferred to the front-wheel-drive Fiat Ducato (it was also available on close relatives the Talbot Express, Peugeot J9 and Citroën C25).
[tl:gallery index=1 size=150×203]This change of base vehicle was accompanied by the launch of the new B544. It went on to become Hymer’s biggest-selling ’van ever and has always been popular with British purchasers.
The entrance door was located towards the rear on the UK offside. The kitchen was across the back and a rear corner washroom and a forward lounge completed the inventory.
Hymers of this era were (generally) built up to a quality, not down to a price. The B544 always felt far more spacious than overcab offerings of similar size and layout.
The drop-down transverse double bed located in the overcab was seen by many as a more practical alternative to both a permanent low-level bed or to making one up from the dinette.
• Hymer B544 on Fiat Ducato chassis-cowl built in Germany from 1986-2006 • Series 1 (1986-’94) Length: 5.64m/18’6”. Series 2 1995-2006 Length: 6.07m/19’11”
Tips to help you buy better…
There’s not much to worry about on the pre-1995 LHD models with their column gearchange. RHD models were saddled with long linkages to the floor gearchange. These require maintenance/modification for an acceptable change. Post-1995 models suffered from fifth-gear failure. Note: power assisted-steering on pre-1995 models is very rare.
[tl:gallery index=2 size=150×180]Conversion
On the pre-1995 models the entrance door and exterior-access locker doors sometimes delaminate. Lack of useable payload was also a problem, caused by over-optimistic manufacturer figures and UK purchasers’ tendency to specify extra items such as an oven, bike rack and the like. Dimple finish to coachwork is difficult to clean. There are no worries for 1996-2006 models except payload issues. Aim for one on the upgraded 3850kg Maxi chassis.
■ Compact family-friendly A-class
■ Build quality
■ Excellent lounge-diner
■ Hymer cache
■ Lack of payload
■ Naff windscreen wipers
(not handed for RHD models)
Limited funds: LHD 1989/1990 2.5D. Bit more flush: 2005-6 2.8JTD run-out models, on the 3850kg chassis with air-conditioning
What to pay
Smelly LHD sheds will start from £4000. Cared-for early examples start at £8500. 100 Signo special editions (2005/2006) will still cost £30,000 plus
Or you could try…
Pilote Galaxy 75 on Peugeot J9/Boxer or FFB (Tabbert) on Merc 207D/307D