But having spent the the week
there, here are a few thoughts on some of the vans I saw there for the first
time, and some vans that just interested me.
It was great to see Vanmaster back in
production. The firm was founded in 1995, and earned a reputation for bespoke,
handcrafted tourers, but sadly fell into administration in the spring.
Fortunately, it was rescued from
administration by new owner Philip Narey, and today the firm is Signature
Caravans trading as Vanmaster, which he runs with his son Michael (pictured).
The Wigan-based company now has a 12-strong
workforce, and it’s worked hard to make sure that the new caravans are made to
an even higher standard than those that attracted a loyal following to
Vanmaster. The owners tell me they expect to produce around 25 caravans per year.
I particularly liked the V640: it’s a top
of the range, twin axle model with a customisable layout. This one had an
island bed model.
It’s priced at £41,950, which is around 5
per cent more expensive than under the previous models. New owner upgrades
include items such as a Tracker, six-year warranty, soft shut doors, smart
Bosch hob, monogrammed towels and luxury crockery. It also gets Alde wet
central heating, plus an extractor fan in the bathroom.
We were pleased to see it picked up an
award for ‘Best Caravan over £30,000’ in the Caravan Club’s Design Awards at
the show, and I wish the new owner and his son all the luck in the world.
Widnes-based firm Eterniti, which only
began building tourers at the start of 2012, rolled out five new floorplans at
the show and I particularly liked the SB4, a four berth single axle tourer, featuring
Eterniti’s trademark slide out section.
Although weights were TBC at the show,
although Eterniti claims it will be towable by a ‘normal family car’ and not a
4×4. Priced at £23,999, I reckon Eterniti’s tourers are getting better and
It was great to see the full line up of
Bailey Pursuit models in the flesh. I rather liked the 560-5 layout, which
features twin lounges front and rear, with a bunk bed that hinges out above the
rear sofas. It’s a layout not offered in any of Bailey’s other ranges.
While I was at the show, it was also a
pleasure to meet up with Shelley Kettle, who won a brand new Bailey Pegasus
GT65 Verona in the photo competition we ran in the mag from April.
Shelley dropped in at the NEC show for the
prize giving, and is pictured here with dad Keith, mum Rita, Bailey’s Simon
Howard and me. We’re sure you’ll join us in wishing her many happy caravanning
adventures in her new van!
The single axle Inos from the Fifth Wheel Company was as smart as I’d hoped, while the TripBuddy (pictured below) and
Dub Box remain interesting, quirky caravans that are worth a look.
Finally, it was great to take a look round the two tiny
Vintage caravans on display: a 1965 Swift Ten (below), which was restored by a
selection of hand-picked Swift employees, and a 1972 Venus caravan from Lunar. They’re
beautifully done, and offer a fabulous snapshot of caravanning back in its
By Rob Ganley, Group editor, Practical Caravan
Saturday 19 October 2013