Newmar Introduces New Models
Indiana-based Newmar Corporation unveiled its new King Aire Diesel Bus and Grand Star motorhome models during the FMCA convention in Perry, Georgia, in March.
The King Aire is built on a Spartan K3 chassis with an independent front suspension system and powered by a Cummins ISX 600-horsepower engine, coupled with an Allison 4000 MH transmission. The King Aire features the new Comfort Drive steering system, jointly developed by TRW Automotive, Spartan Chassis, and Newmar. It also includes automatic traction control and a 200-gallon fuel tank. The coach is available in five 45-foot quadruple-slide floor plans that have a gross vehicle weight rating of 54,000 pounds and a net carrying capacity of 9,300 pounds.
The stylish and contemporary motorhome comes with a long list of standard features, including a hydronic zone heating system; a 17-cubic-foot four-door Norcold refrigerator with automatic defrost, icemaker, and water dispenser; a 40-inch LCD TV in the bedroom; a video security system; Corian countertops; polished porcelain floor tiles; designer faucets; and high-gloss cabinetry. The manufacturer’s base suggested retail price is $642,196.
The new Grand Star type A motorhome gives customers the choice of a Ford, Workhorse, or Freightliner FRED chassis. The Grand Star joins Newmar’s Bay Star and Canyon Star gasoline-powered motorhomes, which were introduced last year.
The Grand Star is available in five floor plans ranging in length from 33 feet to 37 feet, including a full-wall-slide floor plan and a family floor plan that features bunk beds. The other floor plans have a three-zone living area and a front kitchen.
Amenities include a one-piece bonded windshield, aluminum-skinned baggage doors, 22.5-inch tires and aluminum wheels, a 26-inch LCD TV in the living area, solid-surface countertops, Flexsteel furniture, and stainless-steel kitchen appliances. Three interior décor packages and three Full-Paint Masterpiece finish exterior graphic choices are available.
The manufacturer’s base suggested retail price for the Grand Star ranges from $134,000 to $150,000.
For more information about Newmar products, call (800) 860-0086 or visit www.newmarcorp.com.
Fleetwood RV Delivers Milestone Motorhome
On May 3, 2007, representatives from Fleetwood RV presented the 100,000th diesel motorhome manufactured at its Decatur, Indiana, facility to Lazydays RV SuperCenter in Tampa, Florida.
The milestone coach, a 2008 American Eagle 45H, was presented to John Horton, CEO of Lazydays, by Chuck Wilkinson, general manager of Fleetwood Motor Homes of Indiana; Justin Humphreys, director of sales for American Coach; and Dave Cheney, national director of sales for Fleetwood Motor Homes.
“This is a very special moment for Fleetwood Motor Homes of Indiana, and it is a pleasure to share it with Lazydays,” said Mr. Wilkinson. “Without them, milestones like this wouldn’t be possible, so I would like to thank John Horton and the staff and customers of Lazydays for their continued support of Fleetwood and American Coach year after year. I want to also recognize the 1,200 dedicated associates in Decatur who, since 1971, have worked diligently every day to build quality diesel motorhome products.”
Following the ceremony, Lazydays turned over the keys to the 2008 American Eagle to Mike and Ann Miller, three-time American Coach customers. The American Eagle 45H, which has recently experienced a full life-cycle change, features a quad-slideout floor plan with a midship 40-inch television.
Country Coach Debuts Rhapsody
Country Coach Inc., now in its 34th year, introduced the quad-slideout Rhapsody 900 during FMCA’s March 2007 convention in Perry, Georgia. The 45-foot coach, the latest addition to the company’s line of luxury diesel motorhomes, boasts a long list of features and amenities.
Country Coach and Caterpillar engineers worked closely for more than a year to develop the proper power train for the Rhapsody 900. The coach, which is built on Country Coach’s own DynoMax chassis, is powered by a 15.2-liter, 625-horsepower Caterpillar C15 engine that produces 2,050 pound-feet of torque. For optimal results, it is mated to a newly minted six-speed Caterpillar CX transmission. With a 54,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating, including a 20,000-pound front axle weight rating, and a 20,000-pound towing capacity, the chassis reportedly offers a solid foundation, as well as excellent handling and maneuverability.
The Rhapsody 900 features the new Liquid Spring independent front suspension (IFS), which is said to offer smooth, responsive handling and independent travel of each wheel. In the rear of the coach, just in front of a Ridewell drive axle suspension, is a Weweler steerable tag axle, which reportedly is a first in a luxury motorhome. Imported from the Netherlands, this steerable tag is designed for the tight corners and small parking areas on European roadways. Using forced-steer drive-by-wire technology, a finger’s move by the driver turns the axle with none of the pushback of other systems. According to company literature, the Weweler steerable tag, in tandem with the Liquid Spring IFS, gives this 45-foot motor coach a 36-foot-5-inch turning radius.
The Rhapsody 900 has textured exterior full-body paint, and an entry door with an air-over-center function that moves the door directly out from the opening, then swings it gently to the left for entry. The coach also features wide, turning entry stairs and a completely customized residential suite. By means of a sculpted galley, the floor plan transitions past a half bath and into the bedroom where an angled bed accentuates room space and livability. Beyond the bed and walk-in storage area is the rear full bath, where the ceiling steps up as passengers do for maximum spacious living.
Fewer than 20 Rhapsody 900 motor coaches will be built in 2007, each handcrafted by the same division that produces Country Coach’s Prevost bus conversions.
For more information about the Rhapsody 900 or other Country Coach motorhomes, call (800) 654-0223 or visit www.countrycoach.com.
Winnebago Industries Names New President
Winnebago Industries Inc. announced that Robert J. Olson, who most recently held the title of senior vice president of operations, has been elected president of the company following the retirement of Edwin F. Barker on May 4, 2007.
Mr. Olson, 55, is a 37-year veteran of Winnebago Industries. He began his career with the company in 1969 as an hourly production employee and was promoted to more positions of responsibility in the company’s manufacturing and material management divisions. He served as vice president of manufacturing before becoming the senior vice president of operations in January 2006.
“Bob’s experience with the company and his solid background in manufacturing management will suit him well in his new role as president,” said Winnebago Industries’ chairman and CEO Bruce Hertzke. “Bob has played an integral role in decision-making for the company, as well as overseeing new construction and introducing lean manufacturing. Bob will be a valuable asset in his new leadership position.”
Mr. Barker, 59, who had been the president of the company since May 2005, began his career at Winnebago Industries in April 1969 as a cost accountant and worked in various financial and management positions since that time. During his tenure with the company, he also served as senior vice president, chief financial officer, and controller.
International Truck and Engine Partners with Conquest Motorhomes
International Truck and Engine, a Navistar company, has partnered with Conquest Motorhomes, a division of Gulf Stream Coach, to make International the exclusive cab and chassis provider for all of its type C diesel motorhomes.
Gulf Stream’s initial order is for 625 International DuraStar chassis, with the relationship projected to expand over time. This deal was a direct result of close collaboration between International and Workhorse Custom Chassis, as International sought support and guidance in entering the RV industry. The International chassis also is available on Gulf Stream Coach’s SuperNova and Enduramax’s Gladiator models.
According to Gulf Stream officials, the Class 6 International chassis was chosen because of its superior engineering, and innovative electronics features such as the International Diamond Logic Electrical System and AWARE Vehicle Intelligence, as well as the company’s service and parts network.
Other chassis attributes include a hefty gross vehicle weight capacity; towing capability of up to 13,000 pounds; a roomy cab with ergonomic interior design; the 300-horsepower International VT 365 diesel engine; exterior mirrors that are 42 percent larger than traditional mirrors for enhanced rear visibility; and smooth ride, handling, and maneuverability for drivers and passengers.
International will begin full-scale production in June 2007.
Summer Volunteer Opportunities
The summer travel season allows motorhomers to get out on the road and discover the beauty and natural wonders in North America. It also offers folks the opportunity to help preserve these resources by volunteering through numerous outdoors organizations. Listed below are two groups that are looking for help this summer.
The Continental Divide Trail Alliance (CDTA) is seeking hundreds of volunteers who are willing to spend a few days or longer to help to complete the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail, a national treasure that stretches from Canada to Mexico.
Since its inception in 1995, CDTA’s volunteer trail-building program has involved more than 8,500 volunteers. Last year, volunteers logged 31,225 hours valued at $563,255 in labor costs. This year, nearly 60 projects are planned in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, at elevations ranging from 4,000 feet to 13,000 feet.
Volunteers of all skill levels and backgrounds are needed to build and repair the trail, scout planned routes, or serve as crew chefs (cooks). No prior experience is necessary. While some projects require backcountry experience, many offer vehicle-accessible campsites. Meals are provided on about half of the projects. Though the work can be challenging, CDTA crew leaders ensure that everyone has a fun and rewarding experience.
To learn more about this year’s CDTA volunteer opportunities or to download a copy of the 2007 Volunteer Guide, visit www.cdtrail.org/getinvolved, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (888) 909-2382.
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is looking for folks willing to help clean up and make repairs to Mount Rainier National Park in Washington, which suffered damage due to severe flooding this past November.
SCA, a volunteer conservation force for high school seniors and other outdoor lovers, with roots in the Pacific Northwest, released a preliminary project calendar as Mount Rainier National Park opened for the first time since a late November deluge forced its closure. Park officials appointed SCA to develop and oversee a volunteer response plan earlier this year.
The first phase of the Mount Rainier Recovery volunteer effort will run from May 16 through July 28 and involve hundreds of individuals in small groups focused on debris removal, trail maintenance, and resource protection. Work sites will include Longmire, Paradise Meadows, Sunrise-Berkeley Park, and Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, and White River campgrounds.
Additional projects involving culvert clearing, stone wall brush removal, invasive plant removal, and multiday backcountry trail reconstructions will be scheduled soon. SCA has an online project calendar and volunteer registration form on its Web site, www.thesca.org, where new posts and updates will be added regularly.
Stay In the French Quarter “” In Your Motorhome
French Quarter RV Resort is now open, providing accommodations for RVers just 2 1/2 blocks from the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. The new resort is easily accessed from Interstate 10 and offers upscale amenities with sensitivity to the historic architecture embodied in the “Big Easy.”
The resort’s large camping sites feature attached parking for a towed vehicle, and oversized sites that can accommodate a 45-foot motorhome with an attached trailer or car carrier also are available. Pad services include water, sewer, and 50-amp electric hookups, along with both hardwired and wireless high-speed Internet access, a phone line, and satellite TV.
At the clubhouse, the saltwater pool and spa are bordered by an attractive gazebo bar and pergola grill area. The recreation room features additional food preparation areas and a 100-inch projector screen, perfect for watching movies or sporting events. For dedicated health enthusiasts, the adjacent fitness room is outfitted with modern exercise equipment, free weights, and a flat-screen TV. Inside the main lobby and reception area are a coffee station, a computer lounge with two stand-alone computers, a multipurpose printer/fax machine, and an ATM. The balance of the building is dedicated to private baths and a laundry room. The resort employs a live-in manager who resides above the main office.
With the French Quarter virtually at their doorstep, guests can experience historic New Orleans with the same access enjoyed by the patrons of local luxury hotels. Resort employees are eager to answer guests’ questions and share their experiences “” and swap restaurant reviews “” to add to visitors’ understanding of the city’s unique culture.
There are still many communities that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that have not recovered; however, the historic neighborhoods that compose the heart of New Orleans were relatively unaffected by the storm and are alive and well.
For more information about the French Quarter RV Resort, call (504) 586-3000 or visit www.fqrv.com.