Evernew Caravans custom E900 Series

Malcolm Street — 8 December 2013

A FEW YEARS AGO I was staying at Brownhill Creek Caravan Park in the Adelaide foothills when I met a lady named Betty. The proud owner of a new Evernew caravan, Betty cornered me for 45 minutes and went on about how great her van was. So when editor Max asked if I wanted to take a close-up look at a new Evernew - and meet the owners - I was excited to see what Betty was talking about.
The Evernew in question was a 900 Series and the owners were Ross and Fay Tolliday, from Lilydale, Vic. We caught up with them at the end of the Great Ocean Road, around 200km west of Melbourne.
Seeing the Evernew was a good opportunity to look at a new van that had been well run-in, and have a chat with the owners. Ross and Fay took delivery last year and gave the van a solid workout with a 16,500km, four-month trip to Darwin, down the WA coast and across the Nullarbor.

Stepping inside the van's rear door, you immediately notice the Tollidays' design features. The bathroom sits at the front, next to the bedroom, which can be sealed off from the kitchen and dinette in the other half of the van. The light oak finish gives a clean, modern look and plenty of windows and skylights give the van a light and airy feel. Windows open on gas struts and come with attractive pelmets and drapes, and vertically-adjustable Dometic flyscreens and blinds.
The washing machine sits inside the door next to the club lounge in the offside corner. The radio/CD player is overhead and has four speakers, two in the lounge and two in the bedroom. The green leather lounge has high back cushions for some extra comfort, and the dining table can adjust to form a single bed.
The deep-cycle battery (connected to the 80W solar panel on the roof) and hot water service sit under the lounge. Both are accessible from outside.
Next to the offside lounge sits a set of deep drawers, perfect for holding larger kitchen items, and a good sized bench. The 19in TV offers comfortable viewing from the lounge. A pantry and two-door fridge sit next door. All the electrics for fuses, hot water and water capacity are nicely tucked away in an overhead cupboard above the fridge.
A number of large overhead cupboards are housed all around the kitchen and lounge. More storage cupboards sit next to the full oven and four-burner cooktop and beneath the nearside angled sink (which has a dual cartridge water filter system). The microwave is at a good height above the sink and there is plenty of bench space in attractive Guthega Stone Laminex.
A large Seitz roof hatch in the kitchen lets plenty of light in. A small pantry next to the oven and a triangular cupboard below the sink are nice additions, perfect for those little kitchen bits and pieces. All cupboards are screwed into the wall framing, which is then screwed into the cupboards for greater strength. The cupboard plywood is 3.6mm, rather than the standard 2.7mm.
A concertina door separates the kitchen from the bedroom where the east-west double bed allows for excellent storage space. The bed, measuring 1.88x1.38m (6ft 2in x 4ft 6in), might not be suitable for taller people, but it works perfectly in this van. There is no chance of bumping into the wheel arch at the end of the bed and, unlike some vans with a north-south queen bed, the cupboard space either side is not squishy.
There is a large window at the foot of the bed and another large Four Seasons hatch above. Two wire basket drawers are under the rear of the bed and the rest of the under-bed storage is accessed from outside.
Another concertina door closes off the bathroom, which has the shower on the nearside and Thetford toilet on the offside, with the sink in between. There are hatches in the shower cubicle and above the toilet, plus a window.
Because the washing machine is at the other end of the van, the bathroom has more space than usual. There are two deep cupboards for linen and a massive amount of bench space. A built-in laundry basket makes good use of the space above the generator storage area.
There are two lights under the awning, plus a third on the offside wall. A large opening gives access to the storage area under the bed and the drop-down table is near the gas bayonet point. Ross also cleverly slid two large sponges onto the centre awning pole to reduce flapping.
Construction-wise, there is the usual aluminium-clad meranti for the walls and sides, but Evernew uses oregon on the roof for increased strength. Fibreglass bats are installed in the roof instead of polystyrene insulation, making the van quieter, particularly when it's raining or the air-conditioner is on.
There are LED lights all-round, as well as a reversing camera and two spare tyres at the rear. There is offside access to the generator, hot water and battery box, and the big vents behind the fridge can be opened to tilt out on hot days.
Up front, there is a storage tray under the A-frame which carries a fresh water tap and two 9kg gas cylinders. There are a couple of "Ross patents" here, as well: rubber guards on the front drop-down legs to keep mud out; and a wooden board installed along the back wall of the boot, perfect for screwing in small storage attachments. This all makes for one very tidy boot. Two gas cylinders and adjoining jerry can holder have a strong protective cover with Velcro flaps so the gas can be turned on without removing the cover.
Underneath, the two 95L water tanks sit behind the 1600kg beam axles with parallel bearings. The 15in wheels are on alloy rims and it all sits on a 6in SupaGal chassis with 2in risers.
Ross has Rock Tamers behind the back wheels and C-Mor mirrors on the bull bar. He picked up the mirrors in Perth and reckons they are sturdier than the door-mounted options. He also swears by the Hayman Reese Friction Sway Control on his hitch.
It's great to see a van where everything works as designed and the owners are happy. It is nicely set up for lengthy stays with the annexe attached, and can easily handle some bush camping, making use of the solar panel and generator.
This is a very attractive and comfortable rig, inside and out, and Ross and Fay Tolliday have got everything just the way they want it for many years of comfortable retirement travelling.

Source: Caravan World Jun 2011.


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Malcolm Street