What began as two talented engineers tinkering around is now a success story spanning 60 years. HYMER is considered to be the epitome of the motorhome, and although the ERIBA and HYMERCAR brands are a little younger, they also enjoy cult status. Driven by the ever-present pioneering spirit and irrepressible hunger for innovation, the company based in the Swabian town of Bad Waldsee has created technical and visual masterpieces decade after decade. Then as now, the focus is on making motorhoming as enjoyable as possible for everyone. And that will remain the same in the future as well. We hope you enjoy your trip through six decades of HYMER.
Let’s turn back the clocks to 1957. In Germany, the CDU/CSU alliance headed by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer wins an absolute majority in the parliamentary elections, Borussia Dortmund win the German football champion-ship, and Harry Belafonte sings about an “Island in the Sun”. It’s rare that workers get to see any islands in the sun. They have 14 days of holiday each year. Most people spend them at home or visit relatives. Cars are a luxury. And yet some pioneers are already thinking ahead and developing caravans for holidays on wheels.
Pioneers like the experienced aircraft engineer Erich Bachem (“Eriba”) and the young mechanical engineer Erwin Hymer. They design and build the first Eriba caravan, the “Troll” model, with a fixed roof, which is subsequently called the “Original Troll”. Both Bachem and Hymer trial the original “Troll” in 1957 on a holiday.
The original “Troll” quickly becomes a model range. In the words of the brochure, “Top models for discerning campers, built by experienced bodywork experts and lightweight construction engineers.” Aside from the skeleton construction, a pop-top roof is typical of all the models. Continuously developed over time, both of these things are still distinctive features of the Eriba Touring caravan model range, in which the original models live on.
Erwin Hymer comes back from a holiday in the south of France with an idea – it has to be possible to go on holiday without staying at hotels and campsites. In 1961, the result is the Hymer Caravano, the company’s first motorhome. With its equipment, the camper van with pop-top roof is the precursor to the current comfort camper vans in the Hymer-car model range.
In 1966, Hymer adds another model range to the port-folio, which is aptly called Nova. With a generous body and a fixed roof, Hymer is focused on comfort and spacious-ness. Lots of practical ideas, like the ironing board base, the folding table support and – developed together with partner companies – frameless windows made of acrylic glass, are launched on the market. Many of them soon become common features, typical of Hymer.
A time of radical change: in 1970, Borussia Mönchengladbach celebrates its first championship title in the German Bundesliga. Willi Brandt kneels in front of the monument in the Warsaw Ghetto. Simon and Garfunkel provide the album of the year in 1970 with “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.
HYMER is also building bridges: the brand takes a new approach with motor-homes and presents the first HYMERmobil at the Caravan Salon in 1971. To this end, HYMER combines the bodywork of a caravan with a large Mercedes-Benz transporter – the brochure calls it a “dream on wheels”.
A real money-spinner follows in 1976: the HYMERmobil 521, a compact integrated vehicle. With the aﬀordable model, HYMER democratises the idea of the integrated motorhome. The pull-down double bed above the front seats is particularly handy – HYMER has invented the fold-down bed. Annual production in the 1977/78 season soon climbs to over 1000 units.
Throughout the fast-paced development of motorhomes, caravans never stand still. The top model is now the mighty Nova 780, which has furniture with a high-gloss, varnished finish. The Club model even features a bar on board.
During these years, HYMER once again breaks new ground when it comes to body shell design. The buzzword is PUAL design. The term is derived from a combination of Polyurethane (PU) and Aluminium (AL) for the shell. HYMER fills the walls with polyurethane foam. The result is a very solid, well-insulated and heat-resistant wall that doesn’t absorb any moisture.
In 1979, an epoch-making motorhome brings the decade to a close: HYMER presents the S-Class, a high-end integrated vehicle based on a new Mercedes-Benz model range. Its hall-mark is the GRP roof, which has softly rounded edges. In short: S for Superior class. With the compact, Bedford-based models, the S-Class and the HYMERmobil 900, HYMER is ideally positioned in the young class of motorhomes.
“Gone are the days when motorhomes with their own bo-dywork had to present themselves as piggyback caravans or otherwise as entities that appear to be adventurous.” With these pithy words, HYMER presents its new range of motor-homes in 1981. The new B-Class takes centre stage. It is also initially based on chassis from Mercedes-Benz, but features a roof with the PUAL design and is priced lower than the S-Class. The B-Class quickly becomes the new bestseller in the range. Success: the 10,000th motorhome already leaves the factory in the model year 1983/84.
The Hymermobil 880 causes a sensation at the Caravan Salon in 1986. The prototype features an innovative design and innovative technology: the brand name is integrated in the radiator grille for the first time, and the motorhome also has a bonded roof rounded at the sides made of an aluminium sandwich. The technology is ahead of its time – HYMER will be able to implement it cost-eﬀectively ten years later.
And the caravans? During this decade, they are somewhat overshadowed by the burgeoning motorhomes. In 1980, the Eriba Air-Liner causes a stir with its aerodynamic design. The same is true of the streamlined C-Class Liner with a round front and pop-top roof. But a streamlined caravan is unpractical by its very nature. From 1983 onwards, the ERIBA Nova is thus more successful in the longer term with an elegantly incorporated gas bottle locker.
What else happened during the decade? The sixth German football championship for Bayern Munich. Helmut Kohl instead of Helmut Schmidt as the Chancellor of Germany. And to crown it all, together with the fall of the so-called iron curtain, the fall of the wall between the two German states, which had been separated for four decades.
Germany is reunified and wins the Football World Cup for the third time under team manager Franz Beckenbauer – 1990 is an unforgettable year. Motorhome registrations virtually explode: HYMER produces more than 5000 motorhomes in the 1989/1990 season for the first time.
In 1993, the first motorhome crash test in the industry leads to increased safety measures. HYMER leads the way and installs three-point seat belts and headrests in the living area as standard. The first in-house crash test follows shortly, and a unique range is launched.
In the middle of a severe economic downturn, new basic vehicles in 1994/95 call for an unprecedented makeover of the range: Hymercar, Hymer C-Class, Hymer T-Class and Hymermobil B-Class, the newly launched Hymermobil E-Class and soon after the high-end Hymermobil S-Class on the Mercedes Sprinter. In the summer of 1995, the 50,000th motorhome rolls of the production line in Bad Waldsee.
HYMER comes up with something even better in 1996: with the Starline models, the bodywork and furnishings of the B-Class are crossed with chassis from Mercedes-Benz. This continues in 1997: the Hymermobil B-Class, which is comple-tely overhauled once again, is a milestone technically and visually. The attractive shape with flowing lines and the striking brand name in the grille are the work of designers. The interior is a firework of innovations, such as the new folding blinds in the cab, or the innovative Vario bathroom.
When it comes to caravans, in 1998 HYMER moves into the superior class with the ERIBA Moving – the body shell design of the mighty yet elegant caravan is taken from the B-Class. In the same year, HYMER provides food for thought once again with the Inno-Vision motorhome prototype. Thanks to Colani’s glass dome, an airy and light as well as highly flexible interior now takes centre stage in Elastio-Design’s prototype.
Furthermore, it is apparent once again that HYMER is loo-king far beyond the topic of vehicles: the rental organisation HYMER-rent is also launched in 1999 (today: rent easy).
A new millennium is ushered in, but there is cause for celebration beforehand: Erwin Hymer is presented with the German Order of Merit in the summer of 2000. You encounter the reasons for this on the road: HYMER delivers the 200,000th leisure vehicle, an ERIBA Nova.
The power of innovation is reflected in the new S-Class this year. Imaginative seating areas, elegant bathrooms, a suspended ceiling, light pillars – a dream home on wheels. The Hymermobil B-Class gets a low-frame chassis and a double floor at the same time. However, it’s not a kilogramme heavier or a centimetre taller – a patented solution with insulated floor pans is behind this.
When it comes to caravans, the entirely upgraded ERIBA Nova incorporates the Moving. The new ERIBA Living is aimed at young and young-at-heart campers. The next anniversary comes in autumn 2004 with 100,000 HYMER motorhomes – a European record. With the Hymer Van, the brand invents a new breed of motorhome in the summer of 2005. The streamlined, semi-integrated vehicle strikes a chord with the public.
Behind the scenes, preparations are under way in the meantime for the largest model change of all times: as the base vehicle manufacturers are replacing their vehicles in 2006, HYMER redevelops its motorhomes in one fell swoop. B-Class and S-Class, T-Class, C-Class – all new and full of ideas.
S-Class and Exsis-i demonstrate their level of safety in crash tests, both are equipped with driver and passenger airbags as standard. In the anniversary year of 2007, 50 years after the original “Troll”, the legendary ERIBA Touring model range travels brightly into the future with the “Forever Young” model. After a long break, HYMER Car – the comfort camper van – starts oﬀ strong in spring 2008.
But where there is so much light, there is suddenly also a shadow: from autumn 2008 onwards, the caravanning industry is also shaken by the global financial crisis. “Scrapping bonus” quickly becomes the most popular term of the year in 2009. The optimistic saying “Yes, we can” of the new US President Barack Obama is legendary. He oﬀers encouragement in turbulent times. Hymer is also thoroughly shaken, but benefits from its substance and power of innovation.
At 23 years of age, Sebastian Vettel becomes the youngest Formula 1 World Champion of all time. The financial and Greek crises – “no alternatives” quickly becomes the most unpopular term of the year in 2010. The caravanning industry climbs out of the registration slump.
HYMER takes a look back at its past this year: the Erwin Hymer Museum opens in Bad Waldsee. In a fascinating building, Erwin Hymer presents almost 100 caravans and motorhomes from its comprehensive collection. It is the final project of the company patriarch and pioneer, and simultaneously his legacy for the whole industry: on 11 April 2012, Erwin Hymer dies at the age of 82.
But the brand lives on. In 2012, the Hymermobil B-SL is launched, an extensively equipped integrated vehicle with the character of a flagship. HYMER plays it safe: in addition to a driver airbag and ABS, the standard equipment on virtually all models now also includes a passenger airbag and ESP – setting an example.
The appearance of the B-Class is improved in 2013 and it receives a hail-resistant GRP covering on the roof. The Exsis-i is joined by the semi-integrated Exsis-t, and a whole fleet of camper vans is now launched under the name Hymercar. HYMER is soon able to deliver the 150,000th motorhome in 2014.
An exciting prototype of the upcoming Hymermobil S-Class at the Caravan Salon 2016 shows that things are continuing untiringly even after 60 years – motorhome enthusiasts can look forward to the anniversary year of 2017.
New materials, exquisite colours & state-of-the-art technology all make up the unique “60 Edition” ambience – for up to four people. And when it comes to equipment features, you could hardly wish for more. Highlights of the living and kitchen area:
With its unique and spacious L-shaped seating area, the anniversary model gleams in the new, bright Chiavenna Walnut furniture finish featuring two-tone overhead locker doors. Combined with the single-colour, plain Milano fabric from Rohleder and the new ultra-matt table and counter surface with anti-fingerprint coating, which makes the surfaces easy-care and hard-wearing, it exudes a touch of retro design. The new, wood-effect “Evolution” floor coordinates with this, striking the right balance between the old and the new.
A luxurious night’s rest and a great start to the day: the “60 Edition” offers campers round-the-clock enjoyment.
A luxurious night’s rest and a great start to the day: the “60 Edition” offers campers round-the-clock enjoyment.
Despite a vehicle length of less than 7 metres, the anniversary model has two comfy, extra-long single beds in the rear, which can be joined together using an additional cushion to create a large sleeping surface. The beds featuring the comfortable sleeping system with sprung and cold foam mattresses ensure that you get a particularly relaxing and pleasant rest. The fold-down bed, which is discreetly integrated above the cab area and elegantly blends in with the living area of the motorhome, provides two additional and extremely comfortable berths.
The anniversary model of the HYMER Nova GL is impressive with its unrivalled comfort and unbeatable practicality. Its rear with the new multifunctional rear light that uses LED hybrid technology gives it a distinctive appearance, its body shell design is first class, and it goes without saying that it’s suitable for use in winter. The tried-and-tested raum+system ensures more space and freedom of movement in the living area.
The “60 Edition” furniture style collection with its bright, modern Chiavenna Walnut furniture finish in conjunction with bicolour flaps in the High-Gloss Coffee and Iguana Silver colour combination, exudes a touch of retro design together with the single-colour Janeiro or Cusco upholstery materials. The comfy and generous U-shaped seating group with “round” corners and modern button design invites you to make yourself at home in a cosy setting.
The kitchen is up to date and strikes the right balance between the old and the new thanks to the kitchen splashback covered with acrylic glass and the high-gloss, coffee-coloured kitchen cabinets. The work surface and tabletop in the “Soft frosted glass” laminate with anti-fingerprint coating, which makes the surfaces easy-care and hard-wearing, further enhance the interior of the caravan and lend it a modern appearance.