Caravan History



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Late 1960's Carlight

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1967 Sprite Alpine

 The 1960s was an exciting time, oil was cheap and living standards were better than the fifties. Families had more holidays and greater private car ownership became possible. Caravans sold in huge numbers, Sam Alper purchased Eccles , which had seen its market share fall dramitcaly.  set about re-designing the brand, with more modern extriors and interiors. He set Reg Dean a designer who would feature strongly in the caravan industry, the task of redesigning the Eccles range. Sam Alper’s Sprites also came close to running out of cash. Expanding at a tremendous rate, the company needed capital to grow but creditors were keen to get their cash. Sam managed to persuade them into allowing more time and as a result Sprite increased its sales further. 

Talks were held in the summer of 1963 with another manufacturer,Bluebird. With the buying power of  two, this enabled costs to be kept low. The new company, CI (Caravans International) as it was to be known, bought other companies such as Fairholme, Wilk (German) and Gypsy in South Africa.  CI dominated the world market after a short period. 

Over in Hull, new maker Swift had begun making a few tourers a week in 1965. Elddis Caravans were also formed in that year too. Mardon, another Hull maker, began in 1962 along with Ace Caravans (eventually A.B.I. by 1972) . Ironically, Ace would eventually lead to CI’s . GRP had been used on luxury tourers for some years but in 1969 Ace Caravans used GRP on the front and rear of its new Aces. Making them the first “non luxury” maker to take this step.
With the development of new caravan parks with , showers and toilet blocks, most caravanners chose to use these sites. However, caravanners could still stop in lay bys and caravan in areas where today it simply wouldn’t be legal. 

The 1960s had been a time of plenty and most thought it wouldn’t end, however the next decade would see turbulent times... 

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mid 1960's Fairholm