Dick ready to dish dirt

Dick Smith is go­ing off road, writesMARKHINCHLIFFE

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

BUY Aus­tralian stal­wart Dick Smith is go­ing ad­ven­tur­ing in a Gold Coast-built mo­torhome. Par­adise Mo­torhomes manag­ing di­rec­tor Colin McLean says Smith or­dered an In­spi­ra­tion mo­torhome which will be ready for de­liv­ery in a cou­ple of months.

Smith’s mo­torhome is based on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 515CDI but with a widened cab sim­i­lar to the pre­mium range for bet­ter stream­lin­ing.

‘‘Ap­par­ently he likes to get off road as well and Par­adise build the un­der­side of their mo­torhomes to cope with those Aus­tralian con­di­tions,’’ he says.

‘‘The war­ranty even cov­ers driv­ing on dirt roads, whereas most man­u­fac­tur­ers’ war­ranties are ter­mi­nated once the driver goes off a sealed road be­cause they’re not strong enough.’’

He also con­firms they are work­ing on a four-wheel-drive ver­sion.

Par­adise Mo­torhomes builds mo­torhomes to or­der and cus­tomers can go to the fac­tory to see their mo­torhome be­ing built.

‘‘I know Dick Smith will be ar­rang­ing a few view­ings while his is in the work­shop,’’ McLean says.

Mod­els in their lower to mid-price range had been a big suc­cess in the past year.

‘‘Though bud­gets have taken a bit of a bat­ter­ing in the eco­nomic down­turn, Aus­tralians aren’t pre­pared to com­pro­mise on taste— they still want top-qual­ity fit­tings, unique fea­tures such as is­land beds which they can walk around and lit­tle lux­u­ries such as satel­lite TV and built-in cof­fee ma­chines,’’ he says.

McLean re­tired from his ca­reer in mo­tor en­gi­neer­ing and de­sign in 2002. He wanted to buy a top-range mo­torhome to go tour­ing in, but couldn’t find any­thing that lived up to his ex­pec­ta­tions.

Af­ter de­cid­ing to build his own lux­ury mo­torhome, he re­alised there was a gap in the mar­ket and set up his fam­ily-run com­pany. His de­signs now range from about $100,000 to $850,000 and won Mo­torhome of the Year in 2004, ’05 and ’06.

Par­adise Mo­torhomes sells about 60 ve­hi­cles a year and has dou­bled its sales since re­lo­cat­ing to a new man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity on the Gold Coast in 2007 and ex­pand­ing into New Zealand with the sign­ing of a dis­tri­bu­tion deal last year.

It has 15 reg­is­tered de­signs and McLean claims it was first to de­sign an is­lan­der bed in a van, the first with a rear slide-out bath­room and the first ve­hi­cle with slide-outs that could be driven on a car li­cence.

‘‘The is­lan­der bed is hugely pop­u­lar be­cause when the bed is wedged up against two walls — like it was in ev­ery model I saw when I was looking to buy a mo­torhome — then one per­son of the cou­ple can’t get into or out of bed without hav­ing to jump over the other one,’’ he says.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.