Gentleman Jack

See other Advice articles filed in ‘Used motorhome buying guides’ written by Gentleman Jack
   
Searching for a new ’van? Bailey motorhomes haven't been around for long, but can make great used buys – check out this six-berth Bailey Approach SE 760

It was just five years ago that Bailey began motorhome production. In the intervening period it has skyrocketed up the sales charts, establishing itself as a major volume manufacturer.

Bailey was already a popular manufacturer of touring caravans when it finally launched its range of coachbuilts. Prior to the launch, Practical Motorhome was invited to observe the company’s detailed development programme and rigorous accelerated wear tests.

Crucially, these included crash-testing at the Millbrook proving ground. As far as we are aware, Bailey remains one of the only UK volume coachbuilt motorhome manufacturers to have achieved this.

The Bailey Approach SE range consisted of three models at launch. The longer 760, that we are looking at here, was aimed at large families or groups that wished to motorcaravan together.

This model offered six sleeping berths and six travel seats, and its tried-and-tested floorplan made optimum use of available space.

’The residential door opens opposite the forwards double Pullman dinette, and is adjacent to the linear kitchen. There is also a large nearside washroom and offside wardrobe. Finally, a big, triple-aspect, U-shaped lounge fills the rear.

All SE range models were powered by Peugeot’s 2.2-litre HDI engine, which was made in Dagenham by Ford. It’s extremely good at providing sufficient power for most users and reasonable economy.

Where the Bailey Approach excels, particularly in this price bracket, is the fact that it runs on Al-Ko independently sprung chassis extensions that provide pin-sharp handling, a lower centre of gravity and an increased payload.

As a pre-owned purchase the 760 (built between 2011 and 2013) is hard to beat – especially considering the way it was built. The big enemy of coachbuilt motorhomes and touring caravans is water ingress, and its devastating effects on what is usually a timber superstructure and wallboard.

Bailey has taken a two-pronged approach to this problem by removing all of the timber from the framework and walls, and replacing it with an immensely strong interlocking aluminium main frame. Substructure battening is of a composite plastic, and only GRP sheeting is used for the inner wall.

Water shouldn’t get in – but if it does (say through a failure of a third-party component, such as a rooflight seal), it can’t do serious damage. Clever, eh?

The essentials

  • Bailey Approach SE 760 on a Peugeot Boxer Al-Ko chassis-cab
  • Built in Bristol, UK, between 2011 and 2013
  • Luton overcab coachbuilt
  • Overall length 7.52m (24’ 8”)
      

What to look for

Seen one of these Bailey ’vans in the used motorhomes for sale pages? Here's what to look for when checking a Bailey Approach SE 760.

Base vehicle

The base vehicle here is normally as sound as a pound, but insist on a full service history and make sure that the Al-Ko chassis has been greased. Most will not have covered suffcient mileage to warrant any serious repairs or replacements.

If buying an early model, budget for quality new boots all round because of age rather than tread wear.

Conversion

That huge Luton overcab wasn’t softened by gently rounding the corners. It’s not in ‘only a mother could love it’ territory, but clearly it prioritises function over form.

Check the operation of all furniture catches, blinds and flyscreens before signing on the dotted line. The fixings on the aluminium superstructure should have had regular checks by a Bailey-approved agent.

Likes

  • It has six berths and six travel seats
  • Bailey’s fantastic value-for-money
  • It has an Al-Ko chassis
  • Its wide body
       

Dislikes

  • There's no automatic transmission option
  • We're not fans of the Luton overcab's clumsy styling
      

What to pay

Most fully warranted examples from dealers should have an asking price of between £35,000 and £40,000.

Some ex-hire examples can make a very canny purchase for those on a budget, and who don’t mind a bit more experience showing on the odometer.

Other options? How about a Swift Esprit 496, a Bessacarr E496 or an Auto-Trail Scout?

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