639 - 649 Springvale Road
Springvale South Vic 3172
Ph (03) 9546-9822 Fx (03) 9547-4803
At Caravan Court in Melbourne's Springvale South shoppers can find a satisfyingly large selection of new vans for viewing and immediate sale. The fact that for very many years this family business has also operated a quiet and exclusive caravan village for permanent residents at the rear of the premises simply attests to the depth of the owners' commitment to caravanning.
Run by Ken Hawkins and his sons Michael and Stephen, Caravan Court sells a small mix of brands, foremost among which is their own well respected Pedigree. Many of Caravan Court's customers are regular migratory travellers who head north to spend the winter months in a warmer climate. This a company that enjoys plenty of repeat business generated by the customer s loyalty to the name. Pedigree owners, nurtured by a caring repair and maintenance service, are perhaps more likely than most to trade up to a new model with the same label.
The kitchen and side door are at the rear of the
Horizon GL, sleeping zone at the front.
Pedigree's current range, the Horizon Series, continues the tradition of sound quality at a reasonable price. The Horizon GL collection, which is at the higher end of the Pedigree range, includes an appealing selection of very comfortable models between 15ft and 18ft 6in in length. Vans with showers are usually custom-built, but the company does offer a couple of standard floorplans containing a separate washroom - no shower, just a toilet and vanity unit.
Comfortable upholstery and bright fabrics create
a plesant interior warmth.
If this seems a little unusual, consider the reasoning behind it. Pedigree owners in the main are caravanners who know exactly where they are heading - often it's a familiar park with immaculate amenities and friendly fellow holidaymakers they've met perhaps many times before. For them, the daily shower routine is not a problem and may even be a pleasant social event. It's that middle of the night trek across to the toilet block that people dread. That, and the horrible public facilities that are often found in country towns en route to the holiday destination.
The Pedigree is well equipped as standard;
fittings include triple-lock security door.
While the majority of modern two-person touring vans have provision for discreet storage of a porta potti, usually in a cupboard under the bed, its use is generally an emergency measure taken by people caught short in the middle of nowhere. The most fastidious couple however can be comfortable using a separate private room in their own caravan if the need arises. The presence of a vanity with an almost domestic sized hand basin, storage facilities and mirror turn this compartment into a charming powder room that's always dry and fresh. A conventional combined toilet and shower cubicle can't provide quite the same level of comfort.
Storage includes a full length wardrobe; the
curved mirrors are a Pedigree signature.
Caravan World looked at one of these Horizon GL models during a recent visit to Caravan Court and was quite impressed by the practical application of this theory. Of course, for those who are prepared to pay extra, the powder room can become a shower with hot water and all the associated paraphernalia, but if you don't need it why buy it?
Kitchen storage aplenty: slide-out pantry,
cupboards and drawers.
Apart from this slightly controversial facility the 18 ft 6 in Horizon GL1876T is a deliciously comfortable van with all the things dedicated caravanners require. Plenty of storage in the form of numerous drawers of all sizes, linen cupboards, ample overheads, under bed access and vast wardrobe space including a full height section for formal attire will suit those vanners who enjoy a busy social life during their extended vacations. Pedigrees are built in the traditional manner; the meranti frame is screwed to the chassis and glued to the interior wall ply, and furniture is screwed to both walls and floor. Roof and walls are fully insulated. The chassis is hot dipped galvanised and the suspension consists of leaf springs and a solid axle. Eight-ply 14 inch light truck tyres are standard.
Powder room vanity basin is a good size;
timber trim is a feature.
Exterior fittings include all the items that are found on most of today's better equipped vans. There's an Electrolux 8300 roll-out awning, a Camec triple lock security door, two 4.5 kg gas cylinders, a bumper bar carrying the spare wheel, an illuminated external door safety handle, and that most recent 'must have' - a tap on the A-frame.
Purpose-built shalf keeps TV clear
of the kitchen bench space.
The layout of this model features a rear side entrance and rear kitchen, with the sleeping area at the front. The distinctive Pedigree style shows in the interior fittings, especially the wooden door handles that match the Tassie oak bench surrounds, and the daintily curved wardrobe mirrors. The seats are comfortably upholstered and the windows clad with bright pleated curtains and removable pelmets set off by the light woodgrain finish of wall panels and furniture. The patterns and textures combine to create a warm and welcoming ambience.
The appliances and fittings are typical of those found in most caravans today, with a well planned kitchen, ample 12 and 240 volt lighting and sufficient power points. The television set is as important as ever and Pedigree has built a special shelf in this caravan to raise the TV to eye level, thus saving precious bench space. There's also a built-in radio/CD player with speakers fitted in the ceiling.
But it's the marvellous storage (and of course the convenient powder room) that really makes this model so user friendly. It is definitely a caravan for people who know how to enjoy life and recognise a good thing when they see it.
Source: Caravan World and Outdoor Life, Nov 2001