squob | RVs | travel trailers | expedition vehicles » Toy haulers http://squob.com Thu, 29 Aug 2013 04:12:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.15 Volkner: Dude, where’s my car? http://squob.com/motorhomes/volkner-mobil-dude-wheres-my-car/ http://squob.com/motorhomes/volkner-mobil-dude-wheres-my-car/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2008 11:03:12 +0000 http://squob.com/?p=1073 Volkner Mobil Performance
Dude, it’s under the floor. The ‘Performance’ motorhome from high-end German RV manufacturer Volkner Mobil has a garage between the wheels that’s big enough to hold a swanky Maserati Quattroporte.

Yes, they do things differently in Europe. Forget the usual rear-entry toy hauler arrangement: Volkner Mobil has created space between the axles and equipped its RV with a car-sized hydraulic platform that lowers itself to the ground.

You drive your car onto the platform, press a few buttons, and watch it disappear into the warm, metallic underbelly of the coach. It’s neat and it’s clever. If you’d feel foolish towing a Saturn Vue behind your Class A, this baby is for you.

The smallest model is 35 feet (10.5m) long, but only has enough room for a Mini Cooper. Go up a couple of feet to the next size, and you’ve got room for a Mercedes SLK or Audi TT.

The biggest 40-foot model (12.3m) model has three axles, and gives you considerably more flexibility. Volkner Mobil suggests a Porsche 911, a Jaguar XK8 or BMW 6-Series convertible, or that Maserati Quattroporte. By our calculations, a Chevy Volt will fit too—if GM is still operating in two years.

The other stats are equally impressive. The engine pumps out 338 KW (460 bhp)—and it’s a pusher, as with most US-built Class A motorhomes. Water capacity is an incredible thousand liters, some of which feeds the massage showers in the luxurious bathroom. (There’s underfloor heating, of course.)

Talking of floors, you can specify parquet floors in wenge wood with maple inserts. Or marble floors with granite inserts. Other options include a slide-out external grill and a remote-controlled generator, which is totally enclosed for soundproofing.

It’s all very high tech. So, fortunately, the heart of this RV is the Volkner Brainpilot system. It’s a computer connected by fiber optics to modules scattered around the vehicle, putting everything from the heating systems to the solar panels under your control.

Even before Top Gear happened across this RV, Volkner Mobil was famous in Europe for producing crazy motorhomes for racing teams. Check out the Racing Car Truck: it’s based on a Mercedes Travego coach, and comes with a crane at the back to lift the car into a mini-garage.

But if you haven’t heard of Volkner Mobil, that’s perfectly understandable. It’s a relatively young company, based in the picturesque town of Wuppertal, near the German-French border. It started out building custom trucks for the garbage and construction industries in the 70s, but has since moved on to bigger things.

The price? Don’t ask. Volkner Mobil builds each Performance RV to order. If you’re serious, drop company boss Gerhard a line. Otherwise, enjoy the pictures …

See also:
If you need to haul vehicles in style, check out Airstream’s recent PanAmerica. Open the gullwing door at the back and you’ll find an 11-foot garage with wheel clamps and tie-downs for motorcycles, kayaks and mountain bikes. With a sticker price of $85,000, it’s a little cheaper than the Volkner too.
Volkner Mobil Performance
Volkner Mobil Performance
Volkner Mobil Performance
Volkner Mobil Performance
Volkner Mobil Performance
Volkner Mobil Performance
Volkner Mobil Performance

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Airstream PanAmerica: first look! http://squob.com/toy_haulers/airstream-panamerica-first-look/ http://squob.com/toy_haulers/airstream-panamerica-first-look/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2008 11:59:32 +0000 http://squob.com/?p=499 Airstream PanAmerica
Meet Airstream’s shiny new “crossover” trailer. Open the gullwing door at the back and you’ll find an 11-foot garage with wheel clamps and tie-downs for motorcycles, kayaks and mountain bikes.

There’s been a remarkable lack of fanfare around the launch of the PanAmerica. (Last time we looked, it wasn’t even mentioned on Airstream’s own website.) Which suggests that Airstream is either tightening its marketing belt, or dipping its toes carefully into the toy hauler market.

It’s not a ground-up new design, but that’s a good move. The PanAmerica has the familiar Airstream aluminum monocoque shell, which reportedly gives 20-percent better fuel economy than a standard box trailer.

The real news is at the back. Here you’ll find a a garage with lockers, a bulkhead door leading to the living space, and a fold-down loading ramp. For one moment, we were excited by the thought of driving a 10-foot long Fiat 500 up that ramp. But the entrance is too narrow, at just 52 inches wide. Still, the garage is plenty big enough for even an Ultra Classic Electra Glide, all 889 lbs of it.

The PanAmerica is 34 feet long and tips the scales ‘dry’ at 7,500 lbs. But the GVWR is a hefty 11,500 lbs: that’s at the top end of the scale for Airstream trailers, and the same as the Classic Limited models. For towing, you’ll need a Class V hitch to handle the 1,400 lbs hitch weight, and a truck like a Ford F-250/350. (Especially if you’re carrying anything heavier than surfboards in the garage.)

The four-berth interior lives up to Airstream’s usual high spec. The aesthetics aren’t as good as the International CCD models but they’re still far better than most toy haulers: you get flush cabinetry, indirect lighting, stainless steel appliances and touches of leather here and there.

The door between the garage and the living space is good news for wheelchair owners. Airstream has already started looking at modifying the layout for Mobility Challenged travelers; as customer feedback comes in, the factory will offer customizable PanAmerica packages.

The price? Around $85,000. Not cheap, but then again, Airstreams never are. They’re built to last, resale values are up there with the best, and the styling doesn’t date. If you like your toys but don’t want to sacrifice style, this one’s for you.

Update
Airstream’s other new trailers for 2009 include the Flying Cloud range in 19- to 28-foot lengths. There’s also a new interior for the Sport, which is probably the most forward-thinking model in the line-up and the one with the brightest future. It’s six inches narrower than other Airstreams, has a more aerodynamic exterior and a lower center of gravity—which makes it the most fuel-efficient trailer in the Airstream line.

Airstream PanAmerica
Airstream PanAmerica
Airstream PanAmerica
Airstream PanAmerica
Airstream PanAmerica
Airstream PanAmerica
Airstream PanAmerica
Airstream PanAmerica

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SylvanSport: Transformer trailer http://squob.com/travel_trailers/sylvansport-go-the-transformer-of-trailers/ http://squob.com/travel_trailers/sylvansport-go-the-transformer-of-trailers/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2008 23:50:49 +0000 http://squob.com/?p=255 SylvanSport Go, a rather cool miniature camping trailer that weighs just 800 lbs and could probably be pulled by a Honda Gold Wing.]]> SylvanSport Go camping trailerJust when you think you’ve seen it all, something completely different comes along. Like the $8,000 SylvanSport Go, a rather cool miniature camping trailer that weighs just 800 lbs and could probably be pulled by a Honda Gold Wing.

We reckon that most owners would just use the Kelty tent structure and ample storage space for weekend mini-vacations. But the Go also ‘hauls, stores and organizes all of your toys, from boats, to bikes, to moto-machines and even tools and garden gear.’

We’re not so taken with the styling, which comes from the Dyson school of brightly colored plastics. And the open design means that stuff might get dirty on the road. But the engineering that has gone into this camping trailer is seriously impressive: SylvanSport calls the Go ‘hyper-engineered’ and we’re not going to argue with that.

The Control-Tilt™ cargo bed has hydraulic dampening, and the rack system is compatible with both Thule and Yakima accessories. There are waterproof, lockable gear storage areas and the Go is even suitable for use as a small boat trailer, complete with waterproof electrical system.

It’s hard to see how the Go could be improved. After all, the Cedar Mountain, NC company has won several awards for the design, including a Gold at IDEA 2008 and a “Best of Adventure Gear 08” gong from National Geographic Adventure.

But you could start with SylvanSport’s small accessory list, which includes an awning and bed/table/seat panels. If it was down to us, we’d go luxe and also add a Faema E61 Legend espresso machine and a high performance Galileo satellite internet system—even if it doubled the weight of the trailer.

But let’s take it easy: before you go all Harley Davidson and start customizing the heck out of it, you’d best get down to a dealer and check it out the Go for yourself.

SylvanSport Go camping trailer
SylvanSport Go camping trailer
SylvanSport Go camping trailer
SylvanSport Go camping trailer

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Knaus Yat: hide your V-Rod http://squob.com/travel_trailers/knaus-yat-somewhere-to-stash-the-v-rod/ http://squob.com/travel_trailers/knaus-yat-somewhere-to-stash-the-v-rod/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2008 01:26:49 +0000 http://www.squob.com/?p=27 Knaut Yat travel trailer and toy haulerThe hardest decision on many a roadtrip has just been solved. No longer do you have to decide on whether to travel light and take the bike, or load up the trailer. Airstream’s Basecamp has been getting a lot of attention, but we prefer the earlier and more hardcore Yat from German maker Knaus.

Created by Munich consultancy Naumann Design, the ‘Young Activity Trailer’ is designed to hold two motorbikes and quickly picked up a stash of design awards after its launch. It’s one of a new breed of trailers that are part caravan, part toy hauler, and all fun. And it can be yours for between €10,970 and €15,500, depending on configuration, which is roughly US$16,300 to US$23,000.

Knaus’ other travel trailers are relatively conventional, but its ‘fully integrated’ motorhomes are worth investigating: Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay gave the company a huge PR boost in the UK when he bought a C Liner a couple of years ago. That model is no longer made, but the new V Liner and S Liner models are a step above the usual euro motorhome.

Unfortunately, Knaus products aren’t available outside Europe and Japan. Which may explain the very dodgy jacket worn by the Harley rider in the media shots. His Yat might be cool, but he wouldn’t last five minutes at Sturgis.

Update, 11 October 2008: As widely predicted, Knaus Tabbert has gone bankrupt. Its application for a €12m ($16.2m) bridging loan to see it through the quiet winter months was rejected by banks, and a liquidator has been appointed. The German state of Bavaria is working to secure the company’s future.

See also:
US company SylvanSport offers an equally innovative trailer for carrying motorbikes and ATVs: the $8,000 Go.

Knaut Yat travel trailer and toy hauler
Knaut Yat travel trailer and toy hauler
Knaut Yat travel trailer and toy hauler

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