Bluebird Caravans, in Poole, Dorset, was taken over in the 1960s by CI (Caravans International), of Newmarket, West Suffolk, led by the charismatic Sam Alper.
To avoid confusion with CI’s trailer caravan marques, the old Bluebird factory was renamed CIM (Caravans International Motorised). In 1972, CIM unveiled Autohome, the first UK overcab coachbuilt to achieve pan-European market penetration. Danish automotive designer Carl Olsen had developed a one-piece moulded GRP roof with increased headroom in the section on the cab. Thus, the (British) overcab – originally called the ‘cab-over’ – motorcaravan was born.
CIM had another game-changing trick up its sleeve. To broaden its appeal and gain maximum market penetration at home and abroad, the same body was fitted to three different base vehicles – Commer’s PB (later Dodge Spacevan), Ford’s Transit and Bedford’s CF; wags at the time joked that the latter stood for ‘Copy Ford’.
All had an identical interior motorhome layout – a forward longitudinal double-dinette immediately behind the cab, which was ahead of a kitchen split either side of the central aisle, with the wardrobe and washroom at the far rear. The entrance door was centrally located in the back panel. As with all CIM motorcaravans, Autohome was thoughtfully designed and offered class-leading value for money.
If you’re after a more modern overcab than a CIM Autohome, our used ‘van buyer guide to overcab coachbuilt motorhomes is worth a look.
- 1972 Commer PB. Autohome available on Commer/Ford/Bedford.
- Overall length (Commer) 4.41m/14’ 6”. Drivetrain: All rear-wheel drive. Commer 1725cc petrol, Ford 1700cc/2000cc petrol, Bedford 1800cc/2300cc petrol. Auto gearbox and/or naturally aspirated diesel extra-cost options
If you enjoyed finding out about the CIM Autohome, take a look at other recent entries into the Practical Motorhome Hall of Fame:
- The Airstream Excella 280 came with a domestic-sized gas cooker with grill and oven, plus a mega-sized microwave and fridge-freezer.
- The Westfalia Camping Box on VW Transporter Type 2 was an iconic ‘van, initially unveiled at Hamburg in 1951.
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