We get all different shapes and sizes and classes of motorhome here at Horton Common. However, over the years I have noticed something. Many of our motorhome guests aspire to own a Hymer. Producing motorhomes since the early 1970s Hymer has developed a strong reputation for high-quality materials and build with their motorhomes. However, that is also reflected in their price, with new Hymer motorhomes being some of the most expensive on the market. Several of our guests to Horton Common have gone down the approach of a motorhome restoration project. So with this post, I wanted to discuss if you are looking for a used motorhome for either immediate use or restoration why a Hymer can be a wise investment.
The History of Hymer Motorhomes
For those not aware, Hymer is a German-based company. And while they may have been producing motorhomes since the early 1970’s the companies origins go back much further. Their founder Alfons Hymer started the company in 1923 as wheelwright and coachbuilder. You may be familiar with ‘bubble cars’ which were produced in German in the 1950s to provide cheap motoring to the masses. Well, Hymer helped to develop the Dornier Delta. One of the prototypes for this bubble car could carry up to 6 people an provide 2 spaces for sleeping, hence their earliest camper. However, this product never actually got to market.
The first true motorhome that Hymer produced was called the Hymermobil in 1972. Based on a Mercedes L508 D the Hymermobil was really just a caravan body affixed onto the Mercedes chassis. The bodywork amended to appear as a single coachbuilt vehicle.
However, from 1974 onwards Hymer started to produce fully integrated motorhomes. They started to adopt their own distinctive designs for the front of the vehicle which is still seen on their products to this day. What appears to be appealing to many people is owning a brand of motorhome with a long and established history. This is part of the reason why their new offerings are priced above other rivals and the resale values of older used models are typically higher than other manufacturers.
However, their appeal is also due to the design philosophy these motorhomes were built to, especially in the 1970s and 1980s. Hymer’s approach just like Mercedes at that time that many Hymers are based on was to engineer the best product they could. Vehicles were designed to last and by today’s standards, they would have been considered to be over-engineered. The modern engineering approach of ‘built-in obsolesce’ wasn’t something Germany engineers of the time believed in. It probably would have offended them (as is does me) that this approach exists today with many products, including vehicles. As its not good for consumers and its not good for the environment due to vehicles been unnecessarily written off with defects.
A Used Hymer Motorhome Example
So browsing through YouTube videos on caravans and motorhomes as I often do I came across the video below from Practical Motorhome on a used Hymer motorhome from 1978. This particular used Hymer motorhome is not based on a Mercedes platform as many of the Hymer motorhomes were at the time, its actually based on a Bedford. As such, this is actually a petrol-based motorhome!
Now, this 1978 used Hymer motorhome does feature a petrol engine. If we presume the engine is in good working order mechanically there will be a downside when it comes to running costs. The cost per mile with a petrol-based motorhome will be more than a diesel equivalent. You also are not going to have the torque of a diesel engine, so going up steep hills maybe a bit of a challenge. And its not like a motorhome remap is a possibility here.
None Standard Modifications Could Reduce Resale Values
They could potentially consider an LPG conversion to reduce fuel running costs. However, that may reduce the appeal of the vehicle and its resale value. As previously discussed, due to the history and desirability of Hymer motorhomes if this motorhome can be kept in good working order its likely to increase in value. However, a none factory addition such as an LPG conversion may put off potential future buyers, even if it reduced the running costs of the motorhome.
Hopefully, the owner in the video above did rethink painting the cabinets in their used Hymer motorhome. That could really reduce the resale value of the vehicle. Now, that doesn’t mean all modifications to bring the motorhome closer to modern living standard would be inappropriate. It just means that any modifications should be carefully considered and discrete.
Sourcing Parts for Hymer Motorhomes
Hymer still to this day is one of the biggest manufacturers of motorhomes in Europe. Furthermore, due to the fan base that has developed around Hymer motorhomes such as the UK Hymer Owners Group and Hymer International, there is a good support network to source parts. Obviously parts for the mechanical underpinnings of used Hymer motorhomes such as the brakes may be sourced from other vehicle enthusiast groups. However, the Hymer owners groups could be invaluable to source parts for the habitation area and bodywork on a used Hymer motorhome.
Purchasing a Used Hymer Motorhome Online
I’ve previously written two posts on buying a used motorhome online and private sale motorhomes. Therefore I’m not going to repeat myself too much with this post, please check out those posts through the links above. The general point being when looking for any used motorhome online you need to be very careful. There are some disingenuous sellers out there. So you want a full HPI check on any vehicle you are interested in and never purchase a used a motorhome unless you have seen it in person and checked the paper work.
Typically you are going to get the best deal privately when it comes to buying or selling a used motorhome. Simply due to the fact you’re not having to cover dealer commissions. However, you also don’t get the benefit of any applicable dealer warranties or guarantees. So really, even once you have done all the necessary checks if you are still not comfortable it might be a wiser choice to go with a dealer.
When considering purchasing a used Hymer motorhome take advantage of the owner’s groups mentions above. They will have private sales listing and the forums will have lots of tips on what to look out for on certain models to avoid purchasing a dud.
Conclusions on Used Hymer Motorhomes
The simple facts are, of all the used motorhomes on the market a Hymer motorhome will depreciate more slowly and retain their value for longer. If you are looking for a restoration project a Hymer motorhome is a good choice. With the support of the owner’s groups you are likely to find it relatively easy to source parts. I’ve had several guests in the past who have restored more niche motorhomes. However, the search for parts was keeping them up at night. If you can restore a used Hymer motorhome and keep it close to factory condition with minimal modifications it can be a wise investment. You could enjoy many years of use with used Hymer motorhome and then benefit from strong resale values. It may even appreciate in value.
Anyway thanks for reading, and if you are considering a used Hymer motorhome I hope the above has given you some ‘food for thought’. I also hope in the future you consider coming to pay us a visit here at Horton Common to experience our fully serviced pitches. 🙂