Sprite 400 – A Caravan for the Community
The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu has recently acquired one of the most popular caravans of the 20th Century – a Sprite 400 touring caravan. Built in 1971, the caravan will be used by the Museum’s Learning Team to enable families to step back in time both at the Museum and further afield.
With its original four-berth interior intact, it is undeniably 1970s in style with wood-effect Formica cupboards, sleek cupboard catches, a gas-powered twin-burner hotplate and even its bold Sprite issue curtains. The Museum plans to restore the caravan’s exterior and return it to its former glory with help from a local community group and kindly sponsored in part by the Caravan and Motorhome Club.
Curator of the Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection Angela Willis explains “By the early 1970s the popularity of British caravan holidays had exploded, with Sprite becoming a household name. It’s incredibly exciting that we have been able to acquire this caravan, which will bring back memories for so many of our visitors.”
The Museum’s Learning Manager, Benedick Swann, explains the future plans for the caravan “The idea for a mobile National Motor Museum that can pop-up with ease in and around the local and wider community has been presented in many forms over the years, but none have been so well received as in the form of the Sprite 400. This enigmatic little caravan will allow us reach new audiences in a location close to their homes and help us to create fun and engaging content that connects the lives of these audiences with the ever-evolving story of motoring.”
Originally founded by two brothers under the name of Alperson Products in 1947, the Sprite caravan range quickly developed after Sam Alper OBE (1924 – 2002) identified a gap in the market for affordable touring caravans in the post-war years. Launched in 1960, the compact Sprite 400 model offered ‘comfort, convenience and good value’, forming part of the extensive range offered by industry giant Caravans International (CI).