How Bambi Was Conceived
When the Rascal van went into production in 1986, Iain Macpherson, the chairman of Autohomes, was invited to view it, along with other Motorcaravan manufacturers. He decided that as a panel van, it would be too small to convert. But when he saw the pick-up version, he saw the potential for building a micro-coachbuilt on the chassis. This produced a van 18” wider and two feet longer than the panel van, and was fully insulated - a miniature version of the big brother Highwayman.
Then came the challenge of finding a name. Iain’s daughter suggested Bambino, the Italian for baby. Iain thought “Bambi” would sound even better. To his surprise, Disney allowed the use of the copyrighted name. So Bambi was born, and was soon so popular that there were waiting lists for it for the first 3 years. Then, alas, Autohomes went bankrupt in 1992, and since then, no more Bambis have been made. But 1500 were built, and most are still going strong.
Click here for the Bambi specifications PDF
How Bambi Club Started
This was also Iain’s idea. Veronica Hardy volunteered to arrange an inaugural meeting in August 1988 at Sparsholt College, where the caretaker owned a Bambi. About 35 Bambis and 64 people gathered to form a committee and the club was formed. Autohomes gave a cheque to start the club off, and undertook to produce a Club logo. Veronica became the first secretary, and the club was soon expanding. Within a couple of years, it had four regions, each with its own Secretary, and since then, it has expanded by at least ten per cent every year, even though no Bambis have been made for eight years.
Maybe one day, a Bambi Mark II will appear on our roads. Even if it does not, the present Bambis, some now 15 years old, seem fit and well, and ready to carry on for many years to come.
There are six Regional Secretaries, who organise week-end rallies at attractive sites all over the country. Anyone is very welcome at all other Regions rallies, and many travel long distances to meet old friends, and make new ones. Every year, we organise a total of about forty rallies. All rallies are very informal. There may be morning or evening events organised, but no-one minds if you want to do your “own thing”.
In addition to the week-end rallies, we have arranged a number of very popular and successful Holiday Rallies, lasting a week or ten days. Over the last few years, we have been to the Isle-of-Wight twice, the Lakes, Snowdonia, York and the Cotswolds. We have had five Overseas Expeditions three to Ireland, one to Germany spread across 4 weeks and 5 destinations and one to Brittany with 27 Bambis!. It was quite a sight to see all those Bambis driving onto the ferry in convoy. At the Rallies, you find yourself noticing what improvements and modifications others have made to their Bambis, and no-one minds you cribbing their ideas
We have an excellent little bi-monthly magazine for members. Besides news of coming events and reports of past ones, it has lots of tips on how to improve the quality of life in your Bambi. Many members think it well worth the annual subscription to receive the six issues of the Bambi Tales.
Copyright 2006 Bambi Owners Club
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