First look: Bailey Pegasus Grande
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