Caravans from mainland Europe have always been a little more stylish than those from the UK. While British families were pottering around in angular little Sprites, continentals were zooming down the autobahn with rounded fiberglass creations that looked more like space pods than portacabins. It’s no wonder Jeremy Clarkson hates caravans so much.
The manufacturers that personified the continental look were Holland’s Biod and Germany’s Eriba, maker of the Puck and the charmingly named Troll (pictured below). The styling was distinctive: the French have a word for it, jolie laid, which roughly translates to ‘beautiful ugly’.
Today, Eribas are made by Hymer. And to celebrate the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the company unveiled the 4-berth ‘Forever Young’ touring caravan at the CMT 2008 camping and caravanning exhibition in Stuttgart.
The Forever Young is a special edition that harks back to the original Troll, the first caravan built by Erwin Hymer in Bad Waldsee 50 years ago. In reality, it’s a lightly-refreshed current-model Troll GT530, with changes to the front and rear exterior styling and the pop-top. And at 1200 kg (2,645 lbs) it can be comfortably towed, believe it or not, by a 2.0 litre Hyundai Elantra.
If you live in Europe, you can adopt a Troll for around €17,800, which is roughly £14,000 or US$27,000. Your investment should last a while: a corrosion-resistant, self-supporting steel tube structure has been used in Trolls for 50 years, and the Forever Young sticks with it. The chassis boasts independent suspension, and the body is a solid 29mm thick in the wall area. Winter camping is catered for with double-glazed windows and the large pop-top comes with 26mm of insulation.
Inside, there’s 1.95m of headroom—well over six feet—and furniture crafted from Tuscan cherry wood. We’re informed that the ‘cream-colored elements on the linen cupboard and overhead storage cupboards at the rear form a harmonious synthesis, with high-quality upholstery fabrics and curtains adding subtle touches of color.’
In that case, it’s a good job the seat coverings have Teflon stain protection.
Tabbert offers even more luxury with its avant garde, bad-ass Paganini model. Even bigger is the gorgeous Swedish-built Polar Glacier, a luxurious 40-footer with three rooms, including a sauna.