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iMotorhome

50 : Jun 21 2014

magazine

Issue

because getting there is half the fun...

Espritde Cor… Blimey, Dethleffs’ ‘baby’ A-class is a beauty!

Win!

Travel Notebook

Win!

$50 Caltex Fuel Card!

Powering Up!

Our WERKT winner gets his engine upgrade…

Camping with Beasts… Exploring South Australia’s fabulous North!

Corvair Dreaming

A classic or a VW Transporter wannabe?


SLIDEOUT ISLAND BED

SPACIOUS LIVING AREA

TRAKKAWAY 800

seeing australia? take a trakka. >> TRAKKA’s new Trakkaway 800 brilliantly combines the luxury of

>> The Mercedes Benz Sprinter 519 provides the Trakkaway 800 with

space inside without frustration of a large motorhome outside.

140 kW and a massive 440 Nm of torque, making performance under all

>> Using every single cubic centimetre enables luxury features to be

conditions effortless, thanks to a seven speed self-shifting gearbox.

fitted in a size of vehicle which in the past would not have been possible.

>> Visit www.trakka.com or call 1800 TRAKKA to find out why Trakka have

>> A ingenious powered sliding section at the rear enables a full double

been voted “Best of the Best” and before you know it,

island bed, with free and easy access from three sides.

you’ll be seeing Australia in your own TRAKKA.

trakkabout australia


About iMotorhome | 3

iMotorhome eMagazine is published twice monthly and available by free subscription from www.imotorhome.com.au. Your letters and contributions are always welcome! Contributors Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Jess Ciampa, Emily Barker, Elizabeth & Helmut Mueller

Published by iMotorhome

Design and Production

PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2576. Australia.

Design Manager

ABN: 34 142 547 719

E: agnes@imotorhome.com.au

Agnes Nielsen

T: +614 14 604 368 E: info@imotorhome.com.au W: www.imotorhome.com.au Editorial

Advertising Advertising Manager Keith Smyth M: 0408 315 288

Publisher/Managing Editor

T: 03 9579 3079

Richard Robertson

E: advertising@imotorhome.com.au

T: 0414 604 368 E: richard@imotorhome.com.au Roadtest Editor Malcolm Street E: malcolm@imotorhome.com.au

Legal All content of iMotorhome eMagazine and website is copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of content, however no responsibility is accepted for any inconvenience and/or loss arising from reading and/or acting upon information contained within iMotorhome eMagazine or the iMotorhome website.


Relax in Paradise

Australia’s Best Quality Motorhomes • Outstanding value for

money, competitively priced from $158,000.

• Unrivalled Safety including

rollover protection, auto-locking cabinetry and superior appliance mounting systems.

• Industry’s longest & most

comprehensive motorhome warranty.

• Built for Australian conditions. • Models available with or without slide-outs. • Superior finish with stylish new contoured exterior. • Patented moulded bins for maximum storage capacity. • Outstanding road handling & ride comfort. • Genuine island queen beds and huge wardrobes. • Spacious rear ensuites with separate toilet & shower. • Market leading layouts & lifestyle features. • Full living area slide-outs providing superior living space. • Proven reliability of Paradise’s patented slide-outs.

Enjoy the prestige of owning Australia’s best quality motorhome Paradise Motor Homes

www.paradisemotorhomes.com.au

245 Brisbane Road, Biggera Waters, Queensland, 4216

ph (07) 5597 4400 - email info@paradisemotorhomes.com.au Paradise Motor Homes products are protected by registered designs, patents and copyrights ™ © 2013


On my mind | 5

New Developments! As the digital age develops it’s opening new opportunities for small businesses like iMotorhome. While we can’t compete with the established publishing giants in terms of staff and resources the Internet does allow us to play on a surprisingly level playing field when it comes to audience reach and product delivery. What this means is I’ve got some exciting new developments to tell you about, which we’ll be rolling out in the weeks ahead as they are finalised. Firstly, the free iMotorhome app will soon be available – for iPhone, iPad, Android smartphones and tablets, plus the Kindle Fire. With it you’ll be able to download the magazine; browse and download road tests; look through photo galleries of vehicle tests and trips we’ve done; browse or search our online classifieds (now more than 220 vehicles strong!); browse or search our online Marketplace Advertisers; research and book a motorhome holiday to dozens of countries world-wide; subscribe to the magazine; access our Facebook and Twitter pages; contact us and more. We’ll also be able to send you notifications when each new issue of the magazine is ready and even advise on special reader offers, plus things like breaking news if it’s really ‘big.’ As more features and functionality are added to the website they will also become available on the app. I’ll let you know when it’s ready to download! Secondly, we’ll soon have a keywords search facility for our Marketplace Advertisers. Rather than just browsing our advertisers by category you’ll be able to search by keywords as well as your postcode and distance. So if you’re in Brisbane and looking for motorhome dealers within a 50 km radius, for example, the new facility will bring up a list of them plus a Google

map with pins for their locations; from which you’ll be able to get tailored directions to their door. RV Dealers will be pleased to know that many of them can now upload their new and used vehicle inventory to our classifieds automatically. It depends on the dealer management software system they use, but most systems are supported. Contact our hardworking advertising manager Keith Smyth advertising@ imotorhome.com.au for details! That also means if you’re looking for a new or used campervan or motorhome be sure to visit our website (click HERE) to see what’s available.

Finally As I’ve said in previous editorial, the iMotorhome eMagazine and website only exist thanks to support from our advertisers. We’d like to keep them both free for you, but to do so our advertisers need your support where possible. All we ask is that whenever you need something for your campervan, motorhome or other recreational vehicle you visit their websites, take a good look around and if their products suit and are well priced then please choose them. It’s a simple request that benefits all of us. Thanks!

Richard


6 | Content

3

About us

5

On my Mind

8

User Guide

Who we are, where and other legal stuff

Developments!

How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine

11 On your Mind

Share your thoughts for the chance to win a $50 Caltex fuel card!

14

News

22

Day Test: Dethleffs Esprit

What’s happening in the wider RV world - and beyond

Esprit de Cor Blimey! – Dethleffs’ beautiful ‘baby’ A-class in the spotlight

All-class: Dethleffs’ highly desirable Esprit…

Missed a Test? No problem. Click HERE to view the complete list of tests.


Content | 7

34

Feature: Good WERKTs!

44

Reader Review Templates

45

iMotorhome Marketplace

46

Travel: Camping with Beasts

54

Rogues’ Gallery

58

Health

60

Next Issue & Show Calendar

Our winner gets his engine upgrade – and a big smile!

Review your vehicle, a favourite place or whatever for a chance to win a Travel Notebook

The latest Marketplace offers

Evidence of Australia’s megafauna past is evident in these hills

Corvair Dreaming – The VW Transporter wannabe…

Don’t stress – it might be doing you more harm than you think

What’s coming up and what shows are on soon

A blast from the past – Chevrolet’s Corvair Rampside

Missed an Issue? No problem. Click HERE to view the complete list of back issues.


8 | User Guide

How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine Note: This magazine is designed to deliver the best reading experience on an Apple iPad.

General This magazine is published in the Portable Document Format (PDF). This means that once downloaded it is a self-contained document that can be stored on your smartphone, tablet device, e-reader, laptop or desktop computer and read off-line at your convenience. PDFs are clever things that allow a degree of interactivity not possible with a conventional magazine. For example: The front cover and contents pages feature links in their headings that will take you directly to the relevant articles in the magazine. If you are using a laptop or desktop computer you will see the mouse cursor change to a small hand with a pointing finger, which signifies you can click on the link below it All advertisements are ‘live’ and linked to the advertisers’ websites. This means if you touch one (smartphone/tablet) or click on one (laptop/ desktop) you will be taken to the appropriate website automatically if you are connected to the Internet. If you are not connected to the Internet you will be asked if you want to connect, to complete the action Text that is highlighted and/or underlined in blue is also a ‘live’ link that will either take you to the webpage or website of the topic being discussed, or open an email (if appropriate).

iPad and iPhone Users Important: Be sure you have the free iBooks app installed. Books displays a full page at a time and allows you to read the magazine by swiping the pages sideways, just like turning the pages in a printed magazine. iBooks also has a Library function that displays a small thumbnail of the front cover of each issue. You can even create Collections so that you can store each year’s issues separately or by vehicle brand tested, or however you desire.

Using iBooks On downloading each issue of iMotorhome eMagazine on your iPad or iPhone you’ll briefly see a message at the very top of the front cover that says “Open in iBooks.” If you miss it, don’t worry. Just tap the space immediately above the iMotorhome title and it will reappear for a few seconds. When it does, tap it and your issue will be moved to iBooks and reopen. You need to do this with each issue you download. Once open in iBooks you’ll see a number of icons across the very top of the page and a strip of tiny page thumbnails across the very bottom. To get rid of them simply tap the page anywhere there isn't text (touching text will take you to the relevant article). To make the icons reappear just tap anywhere on the page again. To read your copy of iMotorhome eMagazine, swipe the page from right to left. Reverse this to go back a page. To go to the front cover at any time just tap on the page your on and then touch the tiny page icon at the far left, along the very bottom. To leave the issue you’re reading and go back to your Library, tap the page and then touch Library in the top lefthand corner.


User Guide | 9

How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine Laptop/Desktop Computer Users The software that allows you to view a PDF document – Acrobat Reader – has a number of controls at the top of the page. Chief amongst these are two square buttons in the centre; one showing a page with an arrow across it and the other showing a page with arrows across and top-to-bottom. Press these and you can view the page at the full width of your screen, or the whole page fitted to you screen, respectively. For further help or information email info@imotorhome.com.au.

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On your mind | 11

It’s only fitting that since Ed has his say in On My Mind, you should be able to have yours too. If you have anything to say – or ask – just drop a line to letters@imotorhome. com.au and we’ll share it with

our readers. We’ll also reward the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with a $50 Caltex fuel card to help you on your way.

The Scam’s Back… Hi Richard, attached are a couple of photos from the Daily Telegraph of a Fiat Ducato. It says it’s unregistered but a Google search of the phone number shows an ad linked to www.motorssm.com for the same phone number as the Telegraph ad, and the rego is listed as AG87WR. Pics on that website shows a different colour to the scam ad we've seen previously. Further investigation of the phone number links to the following ad at this website: http://www.tradervs.com.au/detail/rvs/ motorhomes/fiat/ducato/206v904

This link seems to match the Daily Telegraph ad photo and the colour of the motorhome, but has a different rego no (AE83US). Regards James. Yes James, they look and sound like the scam vehicles we warned buyers of some issues back. Thanks for keeping an eagle eye out and for your efforts I’m awarding you this issue’s $50 Caltex fuel card. If anyone spots similar too-good-to-be-true ads please let us know. It might help prevent someone losing thousands of hard earned dollars..


12 | On your mind

Newnes Info We received a number of replies to Patti’s letter from last issue regarding two-wheel drive access to the old mining town of Newnes, NSW. Here’s a selection and thanks to all those who contacted us.

tunnels but that's now changed and NPWS states an eight kilometre loop to see the tunnel. There might be an off chance of quizzing NPWS (Blackheath) about any rangerled programs that might make access easier.

Sorry Patti, I think you are going to have a problem. I have taken a 2WD Trakka Torino down into the Wolgan Valley and stayed at the former mining village of Newnes. However, it was some years ago when you could drive through some of the ruins, which is no longer possible. You have to walk and it would not matter if you had a 4WD. Ditto for the Glow Worm Tunnel.

Even so, the Little Capertee campground (accessible by 2WD although last 23 km in is gravel) is a beautiful place to camp, with a backdrop of massive sandstone ramparts. From memory, it's free. The old Newnes Hotel is not licensed, but sells ice creams, etc and is quite interesting, with a bit of a museum attached. It also has a campground as well as toilets/showers, all for a fee of course. And there's 4WD-accessible camping across the river closer to the ruins. Hope this helps out!

From the old mining village it’s about an 11 km walk to the tunnels. Coming in the other way from Lithgow, I think the shortest walking distance is about 1 km along a bush track. If you’d like to see an old shale mining village, the best bet would be Joadja, near Mittagong. Apart from easier access, they do guided tours there and you can be driven around. However, there are no glow worms to be seen. Cheers, Malcolm. Re Patti asking about access to Newnes, I reckon she's out of luck. The shale mine site is on the opposite side of the Wolgan River to the road in, so visitors need to either have a 4WD to ford the river, or to walk across the river – there are stepping stones – but I don't know how you’d go with a walking stick. The river has quite a sandy base at the ford as well. There aren't any well-formed paths around the ruins either, unfortunately, and most of it's built into the side of a hill. Many, many years ago there was vehicular access right to (and through) the glow worm

Cheers, Elizabeth & Helmut. I’m not sure if 4WD access is required, it would help to know what Patti is driving but if 4WD is required and we are available we’ll happily transport her out there. To gain access to Newnes, turn right off the Mudgee Road at Lidsdale and continue past Angus Place Colliery. A brief stop at the top of the Wolgan Gap affords excellent views of Wolgan Valley and the spectacular sandstone escarpments. Follow the road for a further 24 kilometres through to the floor of the Valley, where there are many natural picnic areas alongside the Wolgan River. To reach the ruins of the works, cross the river at the ford by foot or 4WD downstream from the hotel and follow the well-defined path which was the original route of the railway line. Looks like no matter which way you go there is about 1km to walk. Regards, Alan.


14 | News

Mirada Support Group

O

owners of imported Coachman Mirada A-class motorhomes from America can now find helpful information and support through a new community page on Facebook. The plan is to share advice and information on parts and service, so if you’re

an owner or even thinking of buying one, be sure to visit https://www.facebook.com/ CoachmenMirada.

Anyone for Tiffin?

T

iffin Motorhomes is a respected American builder of A-class motorhomes and at least some of its models are now available in Australia – or soon will be – thanks to Alexander Rees-Hyde of Tiffin Motorhomes Australia. Operating from MJR Auto Centre

on Queensland’s Gold Coast, two versions are offered at a drive-away price of A$389,000. For further information contact Alexander on (07) 5563 2559 or check out the Tiffin Motorhomes Australia Facebook page HERE

Handy Tip!

F

ound on Facebook recently, here’s a handy tip to help keep track of the various wires and power cords in your campervan, motorhome or house: Label them

using the plastic clips from bread bags. How simple is that?


WE’VE BROADENED OUR HORIZONS

The Horizon Motorhomes family just got bigger and you’ll love the new additions.

*ELWB

BA

LL

IN 29 A C S 9 R AM OL ive PE D E r R X ba Stre VA CLU llin et N & SI ac , Ba M VEL am ll O Y pe ina TO BY rs. 0 RH co 2 6 OM m 68 E .au 1 C 15 EN 55 TR

Now you can choose from eight Horizon models, all passionately built by master craftsmen using only the finest fixtures and fittings.

E

Introducing the BANKSIA +2 with additional seating and a permanent double bed and the CASUARINA, bringing extra space and flexibility to the Fiat Ducato*


16 | News

Caravan Park Law Review Requested changes, inflated more than sevenfold the number of members it had in an official document filed with the government. Serious concerns have also been raised regarding the credentials of the man behind the association, Gary Martin. His resume states he holds a PhD in political science from the Canterbury Christchurch University, but the Canterbury Christchurch University in Britain and the university of the same name in New Zealand have no record of Mr Martin.

A

ccording to this report in The Australian newspaper on June 7, the NSW opposition has called for a review and overhaul of new caravan park and “manufactured home” laws passed late last year. The Weekend Australian has identified concerns over serious irregularities, with a key group advising the changes. Some residents and retiree groups have complained that the Australian Residential Parks Residents Association , the key body representing the interests of park residents, sided with the NSW government, park operators and developers over the changes and failed to -adequately represent residents’ interests. Tensions are mounting across the country between long-term park residents, many of whom are elderly and have limited income, and property developers and investment funds seeking to redevelop sites. Under changes to the NSW law, park operators are able to charge residents in advance for future park developments and to take a share of the profits in the capital gains of a home when ¬residents leave. The park residents association, which received a $100,000 grant from the NSW government to produce a submission on the legislative

His resume also states he was a soldier in the Australian Army, but a representative from the Defence Department was unable to find any record of him having served in the armed forces. Mr Martin declined to comment when asked about his alleged military service, or where he obtained his PhD, claiming he was unwell. He is a former member of the NSW Young Liberals and has been lavished with praise by NSW MP Anthony Roberts, who oversaw the introduction of the parks bill in his previous role as NSW fair trading minister. Claims have also emerged from the Independent Commission Against Corruption that Norton Whitmont, the man behind park operator lobby group the Camping and Caravan Industry Association, which was instrumental in drafting the new bill had hosted a fundraiser for, and made donations to, Chris Hartcher, who stood down as NSW resources minister in December amid ICAC inquiries. The opposition spokeswoman for fair trading, Tania Mihailuk, called for an overhaul of the legislation in light of the revelations. She said the NSW ALP had last year called for 10 amendments to the bill, all of which were rejected.


18 | News

Presidential Cook-Up?

F

ood lovers should find this unusual cookbook from the Smithsonian Magazine interesting. As the press release says: “Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen is a culinary biography like none other. This 224 page hardcover book shows the everyday life of Abraham Lincoln, through the foods he cooked, served, and ate. Award-winning food historian and chef Rae Katherine Eighmey does some culinary sleuthing to bring the tastes, flavours, and textures of 1820-1865 alive for today’s cooks. This is a side of Lincoln never before examined, and a true taste of history.”

The book includes 52 authentic period recipes for appetisers, main courses, baked goods, desserts and vegetables and is available for US$45.45 delivered to Australia or New Zealand. Click HERE for more information or to order.

The Wirraway 260 SL

With it’s Full Length Slideout Room & Apartment Styled Layout !

From WIRRAWAY, “Australia’s Most Innovative Motorhomes” Wirraway is a dedicated family owned business striving for Motorhome excellence. Our Motorhomes are our passion! Every Wirraway Motorhome is handbuilt and designed by experienced motorhomers who know the importance of making life easier on the road. New to our Range is the brilliant ‘live like a movie star’ Wirraway 260 SL, the latest in our 260 series; our EuroStyle 260 with it’s European styled interior and “The Motorhome of the Year”, the Wirraway 260. Wirraway Motorhomes feature opulence, style and all the legendary design, electrical and construction innovations that are unique to all Wirraways.

Each Wirraway Model is unique! - All are a Must See!

View Our New Website to view All Models, Download Brochures &Virtual RealityTours For details contact: Rob Tonkin - Wirraway Motorhomes, 6 Hynes Court, Mildura Vic 3500

Phone / Fax: (03) 50 230 230 - New Email: info@wirraway.com.au & New Website: www.wirraway.com.au On The Road Wirraway 260SL Slideout Motorhome - 2012 © Rex Willmer


News | 19

Reflecting Style

R

V Parts Express says the days of white kitchen appliances are gone. “Add a bit of glamour to your RV kitchen with the latest SphereTM Mirrored Microwave. It has all the necessities like a large 25-litre capacity, 5 power level settings, a digital control panel and the ever important clock. Beauty isn’t the

only thing this little number has going for it, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The interior is easy to clean and features a dishwasher-safe glass turntable. Available online from RV Parts Express for just $155!

Relocation Specials

i

Moova reckons it’s the perfect time to visit the Top End, with relocations available to Darwin from $1/day. In USA it has just listed RV relocations from Chicago for $1 per night, including $250 free fuel, to San Francisco, Las Vegas or Los Angeles. Nothing planned

for New Zealand school holidays? Campers are available for $5 per day to drive from Christchurch to Auckland, including free ferry for the vehicle. Check out the iMoova website now!

Thinking about a self-drive touring adventure?

Find all the inspiration and information you need for an awesome journey with our ebooks for iPad.

Get your FREE eBOOK for iPad* www.ebooktraveller.com.au * Applies to Touring Victoria’s Kelly Country eBook for iPad


20 | News

Latest Marketplace Advertisers!

T

he iMotorhome website’s Marketplace Advertisers pages are growing. They’re designed to link you with businesses that can help, no matter what you’re looking for. We’d like to welcome the following companies and hope you’ll consider them if and when you’re in need of their specialised services: Ant Communications Spotted an ideal camping place beside the river, pulled on the handbrake, awning out, kettle on and laptop fired up – but no internet or phone coverage? That’s so last year! ANT Communications, now featured in the Communications, Internet, Computers & GPS category of our Marketplace, has a truly

Portable 2 Way Satellite Internet solution. It’s compact, folds away, is easy to store, quick to set up and requires no tools. Check them out today and keep yourself connected while travelling anywhere.


News | 21

Cleaning Up

T

rico Products has a new range of specialist cleaning products is says is ideal for all types of RVs. The new 303® range is said to be easy to apply, never leaves a surface glossy or oily, resists the build-up of dirt and mould and provides overall protection against UV attack. Trico says 303® Protectant™ is a product created for the aviation/aerospace industry to protect rubber and plastics against UV and ozone degradation, but can also be used on a wide-range of surfaces including all types of rubber, vinyl, plastic, fabric and leather materials. Regular use is said to provide 100% prevention against slow-fade caused by UV. It’s also non-toxic, silicone free and biodegradable, providing long term protection.

Other products include 303® Speed Detailer™, for an easy and safe way to clean, brighten and protect all hard surfaces on a vehicle without scratching; 303® Multi Surface Cleaner™ that lifts and suspends oil, grease and dirt so it can then be easily wiped or rinsed away; 303® Spot Cleaner™ for the safe removal of the most difficult stains including, oil, ink, grease, wine, dirt and blood on all water safe surfaces including carpet and fabrics, and 303® Fabric Guard™ for restoring water and stain repellency to factory new levels. The is available from all leading automotive parts outlets, but for more information visit the 303 website at: www.303products.com.au or call 1300 698 742.

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22 | Day Test: Dethleffs Esprit

Esprit de Cor Blimey! Dethleffs ‘baby’ A-class is something to ogle at… Review and images by Malcolm Street


Day Test: Dethleffs Esprit | 23

Small A-class motorhomes are rare in our part of the world, which is a pity as they have much to offer. Although you’d never pick it from the outside, Dethleffs’ Esprit is a Fiat Ducato under the skin, as witnessed by the standard Ducato instrument panel and controls.

A

style of motorhome not built much in either Australia or New Zealand is best described as a small A-class. Sure there are quite a few 9 m (30 ft) and above A-class/ coach conversions on the road, but the smaller units are not readily available. Indeed there's probably only a handful in Australia and only in more recent times, a larger number in New Zealand.

In Europe, however, it's a different matter and a number of manufacturers build 7-8 m (23-26 ft) A-class motorhomes. They are usually built on a cut down chassis (no cab), typically either Mercedes Benz Sprinter or Fiat Ducato. In recent times a number of these from various German manufacturers have been imported into New Zealand. One company doing the importing is Auckland-based


24 | Day Test: Dethleffs Esprit

Custom LED rear lights are well designed, being recessed for protection, as well as functional and good looking. Windowless back wall allows a high mounted bike rack without any issues, too.

Acacia Motorhomes of which proprietor Jonas Ng reckons that Dethleffs – pronounced Detleffs – is a brand to be aspired too; and in particular its Esprit model.

The Vehicle

T

he Esprit I borrowed was based on a Fiat Ducato Multijet 180 bolted to a specialised Al-Ko motorhome chassis, although there are no clues as to the make or model on the outside and only a few on the inside. The Esprit body is built from moulded fibreglass/fibreglass composite sandwich panels and I have to say the end result is a slightly boofy looking motorhome, albeit one with a touch of class. Certainly the black/silver/white external colour scheme is a standout. Like many a German import, this one has its house entry door, and consequently awning, on the offside. The driver doesn't get a ‘cab’ door but the passenger does and it isn't too much of a fiddle getting in and out if the normal entry door is in the traffic. The

entry door itself is one of those tricky moulded items that comes with a rack, pocket and moulded garbage bin. It also has a separate sliding insect screen, but not the security style, unfortunately.

of goodies, including bikes and golf clubs. Very handy, too, are tie-down rings fitted to a rail, which can be slid to wherever they might be required. Two other items of interest in the boot are the space heater duct and mains circuit breaker panel.

Windows are the top-hinged Seitz variety except for the slider behind the entry door. On The Road Dashed clever those Germans n many ways driving the as this means you can have Esprit is just like driving any the window and the door open other Ducato/Al-Ko-based at the same time! Curious how vehicle. I would note that this some manufacturers can’t seem to catch on to that idea. one, unlike a number of other Ducato powered vehicles that One of the assets of the Esprit come out of Britain/Europe, is a very large tunnel boot in comes with the largest and the rear that can hold all kinds most powerful of the

I


Day Test: Dethleffs Esprit | 25

Esprit might look large, but isn't

longer than many B/C-class designs. Ducato engines – the 3.0-litre/132 kW unit. One thing that is slightly odd for those not used to it is the Ducato dashboard, which has a slightly longer extension in front of it. It's not an increase in vehicle length, just that the windscreen is further forward. On that same subject, the windscreen might well be further away

but the view through it is certainly panoramic. A little surprisingly, the driver does not get a door and either has to enter through the house or passenger doors. I suspect this is a hangover from the left-hand drive conversion and it might be an irritation for some. What the driver does get, apart from anything else, is a very good side bin with a hinged lid. As a final on-the-

The passenger’s front door is the driver’s door on left-handdrive models and meets NZ and Australian regulations for vehicle entry from the kerb side. road comment, although the Esprit might look to be a large vehicle, it really isn't any longer than many B/C class designs and isn't a drama to drive. In fact I quite liked it!

Living Inside

O

ne of the major assets of this particular A-class layout, compared to a similar length


26 | Day Test: Dethleffs Esprit Now you see it now you don’t! The over-cab bed folds down neatly from the ceiling, is private thanks to thoughtful design and the same size as the main bed at the rear, making this a true four-berth motorhome.

C-class motorhome with a Luton peak, is that as a four berth motorhome those sleeping up front don’t need to climb a long, skinny ladder to get to bed. Instead, the front bed is simply lowered down – by a clever leverage system with no clunky power drive – and is made up and ready to go. Even better is the fact the curtains around the bed are attached to the bed and come down with it. The only drawback is a short ladder is really required to get into the bed, while both cab seat-backs have to be tilted forward before the bed can be lowered. That leaves the rest of the motorhome for a dining/ lounge area directly behind the driver's cab and, moving aft, the kitchen, a split bathroom and an island bed in the rear. It all fits together very neatly and there are no surprises in the décor


Day Test: Dethleffs Esprit | 27

One of the assets of the Esprit is a very large tunnel boot in the rear that can hold all kinds of goodies, including bikes and golf clubs. It even has adjustable tie downs.


28 | Day Test: Dethleffs Esprit

Interior design is contemporary European without being overly modern. Curved/free-form panels add a sense of style, while the kitchen is typically Euro-small but functional.

department. It has Europe stamped all over it.

Lounging Around

W

ith the front bed retracted into its normal position and both cab seats swivelled around there's plenty of room to relax, either on the offside corner lounge or the nearside inwards facing lounge. The centrally mounted table isn't oversized,

but can be used quite easily from all the seats. When not required it can be pushed to the side so as not to impede access. Overhead lockers are fitted to both sides and there are the usual under-seat areas as well. Above this area a big marine-style hatch allows plenty of natural light and ventilation. By night there are, of course, LED ceiling and reading lights. In the case of the latter they’re


Day Test: Dethleffs Esprit | 29 fitted to a track under the overhead lockers and can not only be moved to the most convenient position but also taken down for maintenance or whatever.

Time to Eat

E

uropeans do seem to love small kitchens and this one is no exception! On the nearside, an L-shaped bench offers a combo three-burner hob and stainless steel sink. Both have hinged glass lids but there's no drainer for the sink. Bench top area is minimal but the L-shape does add a nominal amount. Taking up the under bench space are a grill/oven, large drawer, small cupboard and The tiny L-shaped kitchen has this combined sink/cooker unit with an unusual glass lid arrangement. Bench space is minimal, which won’t suit keen chefs.

slide-out wire basket pantry. Directly under the bench top and well worth noting are all the gas shut off valves: Often these are hidden in a cupboard somewhere and awkward to get at. Above the kitchen bench a good sized set of cupboards offers a shelved storage area. Opposite the kitchen bench and facing the entry door is quite a large cabinet. It not only contains a 190-litre 3-way fridge with lockers above and below, but also a multiple use area with a wine glass cabinet, flat screen TV mounting point and a couple of hinged shoe lockers. It’s very neatly done.


30 | Day Test: Dethleffs Esprit After Hours

I

've already mentioned the front bed, but in the rear the island bed measures 2 m x 1.5 m (6 ft 7 in x 5 ft), which curiously enough is the same as the front bed. The rear bed does sit a fair height off the floor, but that’s mainly to accommodate the rear tunnel boot. For that same reason the bed base cannot be lifted, but at the foot of the bed a roller shutter can be opened to reveal both a large drawer and a small storage area. There is of course the usual bed head area, with side wardrobes, overhead lockers and bedside cabinets. Incidentally, should you ever need to, the tops of the bedside cabinets can be lifted to get to the storage area underneath.

Keeping Clean

O

ne of the more practical features about both the nearside toilet and offside shower cubicles is they are not just square boxes; indeed they have curved roller shutter doors to maximise space. Both features give reasonable walkaround room on the outside and don't require space inside for a hinged door. Neither cubicle is oversize in terms of internal space, but there is still room inside the toilet cubicle for a swivelling cassette toilet, wash basin and a small vanity cabinet. If more privacy is required both the bedroom and bathroom can be closed off by means of sliding door.

What I Think

I

don't reckon it's too hard to see the attraction of a Dethleffs Esprit motorhome. Certainly it’s well put together and it rides on the very familiar and popular Fiat Ducato

Like the front bed the main one, at the rear, is generously sized. The shower cubicle (left) is rounded for space efficiency and uses a sliding roller shutter-style door.


Day Test: Dethleffs Esprit | 31 The shower is quite well proportioned, while bedroom privacy is assured thanks to a sliding door. The loo sits across the aisle in it’s own cubicle, with the vanity unit.

chassis. I have to say that having an A-class motorhome under 8 m (25 ft) is quite appealing, not only from the fact it looks good but also due to the practicalities of the swing down bed front bed and other space efficiencies. Not having a nearside entry door might be a bit of an issue for some, but having driven a few of these around New Zealand I've found it doesn’t take too much getting used to. Also attractive is the price – being well under NZ $180,000 is a bit hard to argue with! Sorry to our interested Australian readers at present, you might have to wait a bit longer and it might just be a bit more expensive when/if it arrives on our shores.

The rear bed does sit a fair height off the floor, but that’s mainly to accommodate the rear tunnel boot.


32 | Day Test: Dethleffs Esprit

Specifications Manufacturer

Dethleffs

Model

Esprit T7010

Base Vehicle

Fiat Ducato Multijet 180 with Al-Ko chassis

Engine

3.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel

Power

132 kW @ 3500 rpm

Torque

400 Nm @ 1400 rpm

Gearbox

Six speed AMT

Brakes

ABS Disc

Tare Weight

3500 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

4250 kg

Towing Capacity

2500 kg

Licence

Car

Approved Seating

4

External Length

7.55 m (24 ft 9 in)

External Width

2.33 m (7 ft 8 in)

External Height

2.87 m (9 ft 5 in)

Internal Height

1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)

Rear Bed Size

2 m x 1.5 m (6 ft 7 in x 5 ft)

Front Cab Bed Size

2 m x 1.5 m (6 ft 7 in x 5 ft)

Cooktop

3 burner with grill/oven

Fridge

Dometic 190-litre

Microwave

Optional

Lighting

12 V LED

Batteries

2 x 95 AH

Gas

2 x 9.5 kg

Heater

Combi 6

Solar Panels

Optional

Air Conditioner

Optional

Hot Water Heater

Truma Combi 6 – 20-litre

Toilet

Thetford Cassette

Shower

Versatile separate cubicle

Fresh Water Tank

125-litre

Grey Water Tank

93-litre

Price (on road NZ)

NZ$176,000

Pros

• • • • • • •

Spacious interior Panoramic view from driver's cab Swing down from bed Comfy lounge/dining area Well sized exterior storage Good looks

Cons

• • • •

Offside entry door Lack of driver's door Small kitchen Microwave optional

Contact

Click for Google Maps

Acacia Motorhomes 16 Drake Street, Howick, Auckland. NZ. 2014 (Phone for appointment) Ph: 0800 112 828 E: info@buycampervan.co.nz W: www.buycampervan.co.nz For more iMotorhome Road Tests click here


Day Test: Dethleffs Esprit | 33

I have to say that having an A-class motorhome under 8 m (25 ft) is quite appealing. Also attractive is the price – being well under NZ $180,000 is a bit hard to argue with.


34 | Feature: WERKT Winner

Good WERKTs!

Our prizewinner gets his engine upgrade at last‌ Story and Images by Richard Robertson


Feature: WERKT Winner | 35

WERKT’s Dom Garfi explains the procedure Noel’s motorhome is about to undergo, while he hooks up a battery charger.

T

here couldn’t be many motorhome owners who don’t wish for extra power, especially if it comes with the possibility of improved fuel economy. This is the enticing promise of an electronic engine power upgrade and what motivated Melbournebased Noel and Mandy Watchorn to enter our recent WERKT promotion. Noel sounded a little bewildered when I phoned to tell him he’d won the prize – valued at $1990 – but didn’t take long to recover. In short order a date was set and WERKT’s Dom Garfi was locked in to deliver the highly anticipated upgrade. “We’ve owned our 2005 model Winnebago Free Spirit for almost exactly three years,” Noel said. “It’s got 101,000 km on the clock, of which we’ve put on about 20,000 km. We had a bad experience with a motel once and


36 | Feature: WERKT Winner

A lap-top is plugged into the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port (OBD). It’s used to take the initial reading and to upload and reprogram the engine’s management computer. decided we’d much rather do our own thing, so within a few weeks we found this at Roberts RV World and have never looked back.” Noel is still working – it’s two years until retirement – so time to escape and use the Free Spirit is limited to weekends and annual holidays. However, it’s left packed and provisioned with basics, so only clothes and fresh food are required to get away at short notice. Noel’s daily driver is a 270 kW Falcon and he admits to being something of a lead-foot. “I haven’t been as slow as I should have been, in the past,” he chuckled. “I’m a little bit more sedate now but I do like my power.” So it’s no wonder he was delighted to win this prize!

Low profile tyres (are) what Auto Trail has used, all in the name of adding to the V-Line 600’s look.


Feature: WERKT Winner | 37

Dom uses a battery charger during the upgrade process to ensure the engine management computer receives even power and doesn’t experience potentially damaging voltage fluctuations. Speaking of power, the Free Spirit rides on a Fiat Ducato 2.8 JTD cab-chassis, which when new produced a creditable 94 kW @ 3600 rpm and 300 Nm @ 1800 rpm, driving through a five-speed manual gearbox. The 2.8-litre turbodiesel is actually an Iveco unit with a single overhead camshaft, eight valves, common-rail fuel injection and was quite state-of-the-art in its day. Crucially, it’s electronically controlled and therefore able to take advantage of the WERKT upgrade. With a fully laden weight of 4.5 tonnes and a body with a big Luton peak to push along it’s easy to understand Noel’s desire for extra power, and improved fuel economy if possible. The Fiat has averaged 14-15 L/100 km with a best in the 13s and the worst in the 17s; time schedule, terrain and weather (wind) accounting for the variations.

How it WERKTs

W

ERKT takes a different approach to the usual electronic engine upgrade, which involves replacing the engine’s management chip with an off-the-shelf solution. The upgrade is achieved though a two-step process that initially involves a consultation to determine you’re desired outcome – pure power or power/economy, for example – plus a reading of the vehicle’s engine computer software via a plug-in cable. This information is sent to head office in the UK, who then construct a custom solution for your vehicle. The second stage, which usually happens the following day, involves uploading the new software to effectively reprogram the operating


38 | Feature: WERKT Winner

The laptop’s software is the heart of the upgrade. It makes a copy of the existing engine software files (in case they need to be restored) and handles all the reprogramming. parameters of the engine. Because it’s software driven the whole process avoids having to physically open or access any part of your vehicle’s electronics, thus eliminating the possibilities of breakage, water/dust leakage or other forms of damage. “After we upload all the software the engine’s baseline operating levels are reset and it has to relearn a lot of its load limiters,” Dom explained. “If those limiters are set, say, at 90 per cent, or the previous owner drove the van quite timidly, the engine won’t perform to its optimum. For the engine to re-learn you need to give it wide open throttle though different gears and not sit on constant speeds for any period of time. You really fluctuate the speed and revs for about 200 to 300 kilometres, like the old fashioned way of


Feature: WERKT Winner | 39

running in an engine. That way you’ll find you’ve got a engine that’s at the absolute optimum of what it can produce. Having said that, there’s an instant improvement anyway because we increase turbo boost.”

Show Time

D

om runs WERKT as a mobile business in Melbourne and had visited Noel and Mandy at home to find out what Noel was hoping to achieve – power predominantly, with better fuel consumption if possible – and take the initial reading. Noel then agreed to meet Dom and me at a workshop close to Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport for the final stage, so

“Not 2 Wury” – Noel and Mandy’s 2005 Winnegabo Free Spirit is neat as a pin.


40 | Feature: WERKT Winner I could drive the Free Spirit pre-and-post upgrade. For the drive session we decided on a loop of mixed freeway and local roads and with Noel watching cautiously from the passenger seat (a wholly unfamiliar position I’m thinking) we set off. It had been a long time since I’d driven a 2.8-litre Ducato and I have to be honest, fully laden performance was pretty ‘soft’. These older Ducatos are honest performers that are easy and pleasant to drive, but it was immediately obvious why Noel was seeking a performance upgrade. Returning to the workshop it couldn’t have taken Dom more than 10 minutes to plug in, upload and send us out again. Without a test track and stop watches any driving comparison was always going to be subjective, but as I reversed down the workshop driveway an immediate improvement in off-idle throttle response was apparent. Though still no ball of fire, throughthe-gears acceleration felt stronger and more eager, while the engine revved more freely and willingly. Underway, in-gear acceleration felt stronger, as did the ability to pull away in top gear when I put my foot down. Halfway through this second loop I swapped places

This model Ducato’s 2.8-litre engine has long been superseded, but that doesn’t mean it won’t/ can’t benefit from an electronic power upgrade.


Feature: WERKT Winner | 41

Although the Free Spirit is quite compact its big Luton peak blunts performance on the open road and increases fuel economy. It will be interesting to see if both improve in the coming months.

with Noel for his impressions and he basically echoed my thoughts.

Pudding Proof

L

ike many motorhome owners Noel keeps meticulous records of all their travels, including fuel figures. In early August he and Mandy are heading for the V8 Supercar race at Ipswich, Queensland, retracing exactly a trip they did two years ago. Noel has promised to keep track of fuel economy as well as general drivability and send me an update when they return. “I’d been looking at buying a power-up chip for our Free Spirit for a while, but could find no satisfactory reports on the likely outcome for what is a considerable purchase,” Noel had remarked during our drive. iMotorhome will be keeping in touch to see how/if the feel of the

engine and its economy improves over the first few weeks – he’s planning a weekend away in early July – and coming months. From our perspective the idea of reprogramming and engine rather than physically tampering with it is appealing, as is the way the solution is tailored to your requirements rather than just being a onesize-fits-all solution. It’s also very quick. The upgrade couldn’t have taken more than about 10 minutes as it all happens via a laptop plugged into the onboard data port (OBD); an industry-standard plug used on all modern vehicles for electronic engine diagnosis. So is Noel a happy camper? You bet. Stay tuned for his real-world updates and to see if it werkts as well as expected. Here’s hoping!


42 | Feature: WERKT Winner

Special Offer! Dom Garfi is a young man with drive and passion. A self-confessed performance car nut, he set up WERKT following his personal experience seeking extra performance from his hot hatch. Dom got the performance he wanted but found the experience wanting in terms of time taken and distance travelled. Deciding he could do much better by using the mobile approach, so he could upgrade clients’ vehicles at home or work when it suited and without them having to travel, WERKT was born. An authorised dealer for Viezu Australia – itself an offshoot of Viezu in the UK – Dom works predominantly on performance cars but sees good potential for motorhomes. “The arrival of modern, electronically controlled turbo-diesels means increased performance is easy to achieve. And when you consider the weights people load their motorhomes and campervans to, and the distances they travel in Australia, it makes sense to invest a bit extra to improve the driving experience as well as fuel economy,” Dom said. “We offer a 30-day money back guarantee, so it really is a risk-free purchase. If a customer’s not happy we just return the engine to its Factory settings. In fact I’d like to make the following offer to the first 100 iMotorhome readers who read this article and mention it when they call: An engine upgrade for $1499 – a saving of $500.” Although the business is Melbourne based WERKT has associates nationally, so location shouldn’t be a problem. For further information and to find out if your vehicle is suitable – there are a few exceptions – call Dom on 1300 551 268 or email him at dgarfi@werkt.com.au.


Feature: WERKT Winner | 43

I’d been looking at buying a power-up chip for our Free Spirit for a while, but could find no satisfactory reports on the likely outcome for what is a considerable purchase.


44 | Reader Review Templates

Win!

Travel Notebook

Share your experience for a chance to win a Travel Notebook!

Y

our fellow iMotorhome readers have told us they want to know all about the rig you drive and those special places you’ve discovered during your travels. To make it easy simply use the appropriate template below!

Copy and paste the template, fill in as much information as you think relevant under each category and email it, along with a maximum of 12 photos, to reviews@imotorhome.com.au. Not only might you see your name in print, you’ll be in the draw for a Travel Notebook! Vehicle Report: My name My email address My location

Special Place Report: My name My email address My location

Vehicle: Type (e.g. camper/motorhome/bus conversion) Factory or Custom built Make & Model Year Bought new/used/dealer/private Mileage when bought Mileage now Length Licence required (car/LR/MR/HR) Base vehicle brand Engine size (litres) Transmission (man/auto) Average fuel economy No of berths No of seatbelt-equipped seats Why did I choose it First vehicle or replacement Options fitted Best features Worst features Warranty issues Dealer support Manufacturer support Recommend to a friend (Yes/No) General comments

Place Location: Name Address State Phone E-mail Website Details: Description Visited (month/year) How I found it Why I visited Was it RV Friendly (parking/dump point/etc) Price range (cheap/average/expensive) What I liked What I didn’t Would I go back General comments


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Camping with Beasts!

46 | Travel: Camping with Beasts!

If only these walls could talk‌ Story by Elizabeth Mueller Images by Helmut Mueller


Travel: Camping with Beasts! | 47

Above: Saltbush plains line the gravel road to Red Banks.

N

ot far out of Burra, in the mid-north of South Australia, is a landscape of tall red cliffs surrounded by saltbush plains. Here, a mere 65,000 or so years ago, a riot of megafauna lumbered through woodlands and savanna plains, happily munching on scrub and herbs. These huge beasts are today an incomprehensible part of history, but the evidence is clear – to a paleontologist at least – that giant wombats, emus and even the odd lion or two once called this place home. The area is now a conservation park appropriately called “Red Banks” and depending on which of Burra’s circuitous

roads travellers take out of town, the park is 14 or 15 kilometres away. The turn-off four or five kilometres south off the Goyder Highway, the main road between Burra and Morgan. The remaining 10 kilometres is well-formed gravel perfectly suitable to two-wheel-drive vehicles, in dry weather at least. No matter the season it’s pretty country in these parts, with rolling hills that dangle their toes toward wide paddocks. Grey-green saltbush is fairly predominant across the plains and that’s a good indicator of being above what’s known as Goyder’s Line: An imaginary border surveyed in 1865 by George W. Goyder to delineate the boundary where reliable rains


48 | Travel: Camping with Beasts!

Top: What’s left of Burra mine gives an inkling of its copper mining history. Bottom left: Could this be…? Probably not, but a location such as this did reveal ancient fossils. Bottom right: Craggy, eroded cliffs line the creek at Red Banks. could fail. The almost-distinct line extends right across South Australia from north of Pinaroo in the east, taking a curve past Burra and stretching to near Ceduna in the west. Despite being ridiculed at the time, Goyder’s Line of Rainfall proved to be remarkably accurate and intensive agriculture above the line was as good as doomed to fail. Saltbush is certainly prolific at Red Banks Conservation Park, although at the campground scattered mallee provides a bit of shade. With Red Banks being one of South Australia’s free parks, camping here costs nothing and travellers have a choice of several slightly segregated sites that are nice and level.

It’s all pretty low-key. The only facilities are toilets, ‘though there is a picnic table or two scattered around. From the campground, a vaguely formal walk explores the landscapes Red Cliffs encompasses, with interpretive signs to add a bit of perspective. There’s also a day-use area that overlooks a sizeable section of the accessible cliffs. Surprisingly, there are a few permanent waterholes in the area – and lots of saltbush. But the main attraction by far is those red-hued cliffs. This is a great place for travellers with a vivid imagination: The towering walls that flank the


Travel: Camping with Beasts! | 49

Top: At the Burra mine site, intricate stonework can be seen in the remains of the dressing tower. Bottom left: A lookout offers a view over Burra township. Bottom right: It’s been many years since the siren has sounded. creek are a changeable panorama of cliffs, sands, gravels and silts layered and eroded into fantastic features. In places, great chasms have been scoured in the walls while in others coloured sediments ooze down in an icing-like coat. Different formations could be creatively named, although in all reality these would likely be transformed when the next thunderstorm sweeps through. Access to see the cliffs is pretty good, ‘though a decent pair of hiking boots makes trudging through the (usually dry) creek bed much easier. There are quite a few sections of the red cliffs where it’s easy to picture fossils slowly being exposed, where harder sediments are

uncovered to leave a skeleton impression. We can only imagine that it was a site such as this where the fossilised remains of a wombatlike diprotodon were found in the late 1800s. Further discoveries were made in ensuing years, much to the delight of academia, and seven fossil sites have been identified in the Burra region. Naturally, Burra is proud of its megafauna past. At the Regional Council office in town is an excellent display that not only firmly puts the “huge” into diprotodon, with life-size fossils, but also provides facts on the where, what and probable whys of the prehistoric past. More info can be found at Burra’s visitor centre. The


50 | Travel: Camping with Beasts!

Top: Burra rotunda, in Market Square. Right: Red Cliffs is full of transient formations, with gullies and chasms cut by water.

centre also sells diprotodon paraphernalia, from replicas of giant “wombat” teeth to statuettes of what was the largest marsupial to ever exist. Burra’s quite an amazing town in its own right. It was once one of the world’s largest copper mines and, although mining ceased many years ago, the town still reflects its 19th century boom. With a streetscape largely free of modernisation it’s easy to picture at least a touch of those glory days, but watch some of those gutters: the tallest have stairs to climb the kerbs! There’s a lot of enjoyment to be had just wandering around, admiring the architecture and the layout of a town once home to 5000 people bent on making a living from mining and its ancillary services. A short drive, past a reconstruction of Peacock’s chimney with the miners’ mascot of Johnny Green dancing on top, takes travellers to a lookout over Burra mine and the water-filled scar of the open-cut. There are also views over the township.


Travel: Camping with Beasts! | 51

Top: Bon Accord mine museum, now a National Trust site. Left: Megafauna on display at the council office

Staff at the visitor centre recommend visitors should take advantage of the Burra Heritage Passport, available at the visitor centre. Along with a guidebook the passport includes a key for access to nine locked sites on an 11 kilometre self-guided trail. There’s an abundance of history to absorb along this trail, including original buildings and a number of museums, certainly enough to fully fill at least a day. As far as fuel and food are concerned, Burra’s got what travellers need and there’s also a pleasant caravan park on Burra Creek, with a few facilities including a dump point. But for quiet days and even quieter nights head out to Red Banks Conservation Park, safe in the knowledge that mega head-high wombats are highly unlikely to come knocking on your motorhome door…


52 | Travel: Camping with Beasts!

Fact file • Burra is about 160km from Adelaide • Red Banks Conservation Park is about 15km from Burra, SA • The last 10 km into the park is gravel road suitable for 2WD vehicles • There is no vehicle entry fee and camping here is free. For more details about Red

Banks Conservation Park contact National Parks SA on (08) 8841 3400 or visit www.environment.sa.gov.au • Burra Visitor Centre is at 2 Market Square. The Burra Heritage Passport costs $25 per adult ($20 concession). Phone (08) 8892 2154 or visit www.visitburra.com

Some Red Banks formations are like a scene from Central Australia.


Travel: Camping with Beasts! | 53

At the Burra mine site, intricate stonework can be seen in the remains of the dressing tower.


54 | Rogues' Gallery

Corvair Dreaming! 1960s America’s answer to the VW Transporter had a short life but is fondly remembered‌

By Corvanatics


Rogues' Gallery | 55 The air-cooled flat sixcylinder engine sat beneath a slightly raised floor section at the rear of the cargo tray. Below: This camper conversion appears home made, but fits the Corvair nicely. Note the engine air vents above the rear wheel.

I

n post-war America anything seemed possible. In automotive terms that lead to many futuristic experiments as well as a local take on the rear-mounted air cooled engine concept pioneered by Volkswagen. The Chevrolet Corvair was a controversial car that quickly developed a reputation as a killer, due to ill-sorted suspension and the weight distribution of its rear engine. However, the van version – the Rampside – had a brief time in the sun and is still fondly remembered. Some were even converted to campers, like the subject of

this Rogues’ gallery, but here’s a brief look at the history of what was essential the American VW Transporter. The Chevrolet Corvair 95 Rampside (Model 1254) was one of the most innovative vehicles in GM history. Like all vehicles in the Corvair line the Rampside had a rear-mounted, horizontally-opposed six cylinder, air-cooled engine that delivered 80 hp (60 kW) and 128 ft-lbs (174 Nm) of torque from 145 cu-in (2.4 L) of displacement. But, like all Corvair 95 models,


56 | Rogues' Gallery

Another camper conversion, this time of a van, and one that features an unusual, clear-sided pop-top roof. Far left: the Rampside’s loading ramp in action. the aft floor was elevated to accommodate the engine – the "flat-six" engine was just not flat enough. This inconvenience was partially compensated by the forward deep cargo area. The Rampside's namesake was the unique swing-down panel on the right side across which heavy cargo could easily be loaded into the midsection at a gentle 22o inclination. The ramp had the same rigid double-walled construction as the other side walls and a load

capacity of 1000 lbs (454 kg). A full length hinge was located on the bottom, which became an issue if congested with payload debris, and there was a rubber guard at the top. Like all Corvair 95 models the Rampside surpassed the competition with superior construction, styling and payload. The payload of the Rampside was a full 3/4 ton (750 kg) with an intended market of local fleet


Rogues' Gallery | 57 delivery, including construction contractors, dairies, farmers, appliance dealers, landscape contractors, newspaper delivery, ranchers and public utilities. After a decent initial reception (almost 11,000 delivered in 1961), sales waned and 1964 was the final production year. Why did the Rampside not do better? A number of issues – competition with similar vehicles from Ford

and VW, and with Chevy's own C10 pickup, limitations of the non-level cargo bed and bad publicity from the Corvair cars, although none of these alone were likely fatal. But when coupled with public discomfort with an unfamiliar pickup design and fleet sales smaller than expected, the Rampside did not remain profitable.

In post-war America anything seemed possible.


58 | Health

Stress Management – a big fat problem Stress might be doing you more harm than you realise‌ by Emily Barker


Health | 59

S

tress is most often associated with career people and those with younger families. But stress affects us our whole life through and retirees – or those close to retiring – are far from immune to its effects. Financial concerns, health and family issues can all be stressful, but did you know stress might have a direct correlation to your body shape and size? We all know too much stress is no good for our health. The links associated with cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure are commonly known. But what happens to our weight when we are stressed and are we really prone to gaining it? Recent studies have concluded that for some people there is indeed a link between experiencing consistent low level psychological stress and

weight gain. The reasons for this are both behavioural and physiological, but the good news is that by addressing and lowering our stress levels we can minimise the potential harmful effects.

Pre-Programmed

I

n our busy lives we are exposed to a multitude of potential stressful situations, both environmental and psychological. These can include things like work, traffic, relationships, extended family, finances and even social and global concerns; issues we generally have little or no control over. Our bodies, however, kick in with the ‘fight or flight’ response as our sympathetic nervous system prepares us to flee or confront the sources of our stress. This is handy when running from a


60 | Health

bear, but not so good dealing with peak hour traffic, deadlines, rebellious teens or a daunting mortgage.

released by the body to sustain reactions and replenish energy stores burnt during the initial response. Unfortunately for us, appetite stimulation and accelerated storage of extra Short term we can handle stressful episodes nutrients as fat is also a significant part of and the associated hormonal and physiological this process, which might also slow our responses without sustaining harm. Our hearts metabolism and trigger cravings for salty and might beat faster, our hands tremble a little and sweet foods. Having elevated cortisol levels we start to sweat at the peak of our encounter, in the blood for prolonged periods has been but we rarely have such dramatic stressful directly linked with weight gain around the experiences. More common is the series of abdomen (belly). Known as visceral fat it is daily mild and constant stressors. The result particularly dangerous; being associated with of these, however, is that our bodies are like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and a motor at idle and we hum along with our even breast cancer. hormones designed for action. This is what is generally known as chronic stress – and it’s the When leading a busy life healthy eating can problems lie. often be hard to maintain. Compounding the problem of stress and weight gain, convenience foods are usually high in The Culprit simple carbohydrates, sugars, fats and/or ortisol is an essential hormone required salt, but become customary simply for their convenience. Finding the time to prepare for normal daily functions. However, meals and actually sit and enjoy them can be as part of the stress response it is

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Health | 61

too be difficult, which makes eating takeaway even more common – and a growing part of the problem. Stress can also lead to ‘emotional eating,’ eating absentmindedly or binging on sugary foods in a misguided attempt to sooth anxiety or restlessness. Our feelings directly affect our behaviours, so recognising this and providing healthy food options where possible will ultimately assist in controlling excessive weight gain.

Reduce, Reduce, Reduce...

S

tress reduction should definitely be an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and taken into consideration when developing any weight loss program. Exercise is one of the best ways to naturally lower cortisol levels in the blood and relieve general anxiety and tension. Deep breathing activities such as yoga and tai chi are especially

beneficial, whereas a competitive game of tennis may have the reverse effect despite being an excellent cardiopulmonary workout. Simply walking with a companion – four legged or two – might indeed be enough to calm our overactive instincts. If you feel you are suffering excessively from stress, anxiety or depression please consult your doctor or healthcare professional. To read more about stress and its effects on our health please click on one or both of these links: DoctorOz or Oxford Journals.


62 | Next Issue

Plus 2's Company…

have friends over for dinner, it can double as transport for them as well.

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alcolm’s been busy, popping up to Ballina to take a close look at Horizon Motor Homes’ new Banksia +2, a versatile van conversion of Fiat’s popular Ducato. With comfortable seating for four this two-berth motorhome not only let’s you

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From NZ he’s also bringing us a review of a British-built, Auto-Sleepers’ Malvern – a stylish B-class coachbuilt on a Mercedes Benz Sprinter that’s set-up for two but can sleep four when required. It’s a nice looking rig with a real Euro feel that’s well worth investigating. The next issue is out on Saturday 5 July, so until then why not join our more than and Twitter followers for Facebook news, updates and more than a few laughs?

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Mid North Coast Caravan & Camping Show

Border RV & Camping Show

Penrith Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo

Wauchope Showground, Beechwood Rd, Wauchope. NSW. • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Not specified. • Adults: $15 • Seniors: $11 • Kids: U16 Free with adult

Wodonga Racecourse, Thomas Mitchell Drive, Wodonga. VIC. • Open 9:30-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free. • Adults: $12 • Seniors: $10 • Kids: U15 Free with adult

Penrith Panthers, Mulgoa Rd, Penrith. NSW. • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $10 • Seniors: $6 • Kids: U16 Free with adult

CLICK HERE Click for Google Maps

CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE

Click for Google Maps

Click for Google Maps

Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at info@imotorhome.com.au and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.

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Profile for iMotorhome Magazine

iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 50 - 21 June 2014  

Get a FREE subscription at www.imotorhome.com.au

iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 50 - 21 June 2014  

Get a FREE subscription at www.imotorhome.com.au

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