First look: Bai­ley Pe­ga­sus Grande

Practical Caravan - - Contents - Andy Jenk­in­son

Andy Jenk­in­son dis­cusses the evo­lu­tion and en­durance of the 8ft-wide car­a­van

A FEW YEARS ago, a change in the law meant that con­ven­tional cars could tow 8ft-wide car­a­vans. Among the first man­u­fac­tur­ers to in­tro­duce wider vans were Buc­ca­neer, Eld­dis/com­pass, and Lu­nar, with its Alaria range. Swift re­sponded in early 2018 with the Su­per Sprite and then, for 2019, the Swift Grande. Bai­ley joined in with the new Pe­ga­sus range, all 8ft wide and in­clud­ing our 2019 Tourer of the Year, the Grande Messina. Lu­nar has added a Quasar 8ft-wide model, with more to fol­low, the com­pany says. So is this new trend set to stay? Well, back in the early ’70s, 7ft 6in wide ‘semi-static’ tour­ers were all the rage for some. Back then, 7ft 6in was some­thing, as most tour­ers were 6ft 8in wide. In the ’70s, some brands pro­duced vans up to 8ft wide, but at that time, this meant a larger tow­ing ve­hi­cle was needed. Most of these tour­ers were de­signed for static use and were classed as such. Cir­cus folk and other pro­fes­sion­als were the main buy­ers, al­though some car­a­van­ners opted for them. They fea­tured wrap­around front seat­ing/lounges and side dinettes and kitchens, plus rear bed­rooms with a fixed bed and a small, ba­sic wash­room. The ’80s saw the ap­pear­ance of 7ft-wide vans. But the idea of wider tour­ers went out of fash­ion as more peo­ple opted for static car­a­vans which, in most cases, were at least 9ft 6in wide. Now, the wide tourer is back in vogue and, al­though many will be sited, oth­ers will be used for tour­ing. Most of the time, tow­ing an 8ft-wide van won’t present too many prob­lems, but go down a small side road (curs­ing that sat nav) and it could be a dif­fer­ent story. How long will it be be­fore stor­age sites charge more? And will pitch fees go up, too? Pop an awning on the side and you will find your­self tak­ing up al­most the same space as two con­ven­tional tour­ers. So will it last? Some deal­ers think it will be niche, oth­ers see it as a fad – only time will tell.

1 This model from 1975 was 8ft wide, yet re­mained bal­anced on a sin­gle axle 2 The As­tral Road Ranger from 1975 was con­sid­ered very large at 7ft 6in wide; these vans were de­signed specif­i­cally for semi-static (sea­sonal pitch) use3 They also sported some re­ally clas­sic 70s dé­cor! 4 The G-shaped lounge, fea­tur­ing in Bai­ley’s new Pe­ga­sus range, has been around for a while. Bai­ley used it in 1976 and 1977, as did other mak­ers, such as Cav­a­lier and Boomerang, in the early ’70s

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