The Rangefinders will be towed by identical Toyota LandCruiser GXL 200 Series V8 turbodiesel models driven by a team of Australian and UK media, including CW's Michael Browning.
The new fully-featured Bailey Rangefinder caravans have been developed in Australia by adapting the lightweight body construction patented by Britain’s largest caravan and RV builder, Bailey of Bristol, with an Australian-built lightweight chassis and proven suspension.
As a result, these Bailey Rangefinder models will have the body strength and ground clearance of a tough, offroad capable Australian caravan, yet will weigh up to 700kg less than a local van of similar length and features.
Bailey claims the unique ‘West2East Challenge’, crossing the girth of the Australian continent from its most westerly caravan-accessible point of Denham, WA, to the most easterly at Byron Bay, NSW, is the most demanding test ever imposed on a new model by an Australian caravan manufacturer.
The two prototype Rangefinders will be a 21ft 7in family van and a 22ft 6in touring model, each fitted with a full complement of luxury features including reverse-cycle air-conditioning, a microwave and optional gas central heating. An ‘Outback-Pack’ option will also be available upon launch, featuring a well-known and proven local independent suspension system. Bailey will also be offering the same 10 year body shell integrity and water ingress warranty as it does on its imported range.
Toyota has been chosen as the partner for the West2East Challenge because of its proven strength and suitability for tough Australian outback conditions, with the LandCruiser 200 Series being the tow vehicle of choice for a large number of inland adventure travellers.
Bailey Australia is confident that despite their largely on-road touring specs, the new Rangefinders will be fully up to the West2East Challenge. This is based on a week-long program of ‘destruction testing’ carried out at the Australian Automotive Research Centre (AARC) near Anglesea, Vic, in May.
There, a disguised Rangefinder prototype covered the equivalent of 10,000km of sustained extreme outback use – the approximate distance that the two pre-production Rangefinders will travel on and off road across their continent crossing in August.
Following the West2East Challenge, the new Bailey Rangefinder models will make their public debut at Melbourne’s Leisurefest from October 8-11.