As we’ve been wandering the halls of the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show at Birmingham NEC, we’ve picked out 10 highlights of the show that you don’t want to miss. Can’t make it to the show, but still want to know what’s going on? We’ve got you covered.
Volkswagen launches the Grand California
Perhaps the biggest event at the show is the launch of the Volkswagen Grand California – the first California on a vehicle other than the Transporter (the Crafter in this case). It’s available in two flavours – the six-metre 600 and the 6.8-metre 680 – but only the former is on display at the show. Despite a price tag higher than we expected – a sales person on the stand said it would likely have “a starting price of £65,000” – it has so far proved hugely popular with showgoers.
Bailey premieres its new 59-2 coachbuilts
Also launched at the show are Bailey’s new 59-2 coachbuilts in its Advance and Alliance ranges – they take centre stage on the Bailey stand. You can read more about both end-kitchen, front-lounge, two-berth ‘vans in our joint review soon.
Three Bridge gets in
Buckingham-based Three Bridge Campers is making its first appearance at the show this February, after a five-year wait to get in. The company, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, is about to move to new larger and purpose-built premises in Milton Keynes. It specialises in VW T6 conversions, with particularly modern and sculpted interiors including induction hobs, as in the Infinity model. The move will provide it with more space to service ‘vans, and possibly move into new base vehicles such as the VW Crafter.
WildAx gets into islands
WildAx has its new Sprinter-based island model the Elara on display. Unusually for a van conversion, it can include an island bed in the rear, albeit without any space to walk around the bed. An alternative layout with fixed single beds is also available, although we found the island bed, with its £800-plus mattress, super-comfortable, and there is still plenty of storage space underneath, as well as a small wardrobe to the side. The £68,995 vehicle also includes two tables to fit in to the L-shaped dinette up front, and an LED-illuminated tap in the kitchen that changes colour according to the temperature of the water.
Danbury brings out a new Surf
Danbury’s stand includes a revamped Surf that now comes with extras including a wireless phone charger and cupholder in the holder – next to the head of the RIB bed when it is pulled out – a Bluetooth connection next to speakers in the kitchen, and a range of individually switched striplights. A wardrobe by the beds is also almost full height. The short wheelbase VW T6 conversion costs from £55,995 OTR.
Wellhouse goes on a Citroën
The Wellhouse stand includes the all-new Martello, a version of its Toyota Proace Matino built on a Citroën instead, and so offering an extra 35cm of length which allows for an extra wardrobe. It costs from £38,000 OTR. Also on display is the Hyundai i-Camper with a new-look exterior for 2019 (from £44,000 OTR) and the new 2019 Trento, built on the Ford Tourneo Custom. This has a much higher spec than the Transit Custom, including a satin black surround to the B-pillars, 17-inch alloy wheels, a chrome surround to the front grille, and rear air conditioning. It costs from £47,000 OTR.
Rolling Homes marks a decade
Rolling Homes is marking its tenth anniversary with a one-off model costing in excess of £110,000. The Edition 10 VW T6 conversion includes a walnut interior with Napa leather upholstery produced to a bespoke design. The dash has been completely redesigned to match the ruby red exterior, while the cab door interiors have been completely redesigned and the cab ceiling kitted out in Alcantara. Other features include a bass speaker under the passenger seat to coordinate with speakers elsewhere and a sink cover in the Corian worktop that could be removed and fitted into a drawer. But the vehicle is unlikely to be for sale: Rolling Homes; founder Mark Cooper said it is intended as a “halo model” to show what could be done.
Also on display is the new Explorer Sport model – similar to the Ford-based Kingsley launched in October only with a more youth-oriented interior made of board rather than wood. It costs from £41,995 OTR.
Adria focuses on split washrooms
Adria’s latest Twin model, unveiled on its stand at the NEC this week, includes a washroom that could be making a more widespread appearance in more Adria models next season. The 5.99m-long Twin Supreme SPB, which missed the 2019 season launch last year, includes an offside central washroom with a moving partition that you slide across to reveal the shower. Adria says that, with shorter vans likely to be included on many of its ranges for the 2020 season, this washroom could be making an appearance in more than just the Twin range.
Kon-tiki Dynamic lights up Brownhills
The new Swift Kon-tiki Dynamic 675 Lounge is prominently on display for all motorsport fans to see on the Brownhills stand. The Nottinghamshire dealer is exclusively selling the model, which also comes in a version with a front Pullman-style dinette. It is based on the Iveco Daily, rather than the Fiat Ducato, a base vehicle Swift has previously used exclusively. This enables it to have an MTPLM of 7200kg, with plenty of room to store and lock up motorbikes in the rear garage, and towing capacity of 3,500kg. It also has a range of other features popular with motor sport regulars, including air suspension, an underfloor mounted 3.5kW generator, a 70-litre underslung gas tank, and 230-litre fresh water tank. Prices start at £146,490 OTR.
Coachman is giving showgoers a taste of a new range of motorhomes that could well be coming our way soon, as it plans to start importing KABE motorhomes from Sweden. The KABE Travel Master x780 LGB comes with a heat exchanger and a Webasto engine heater as well as Alde central heating. But spec could be different when it arrives in the UK.