The Olympus and Pegasus use Bailey's new Alu-Tech platform
Tuesday, 27, Jul 2010 02:00
Innovators of the Alu-Tech bodyshell used in the Pegasus and Olympus
Bailey of Bristol is one of the oldest and best known names in the British caravanning industry. The remarkable story of the firm begins in 1948 when Martin Bailey embarked on his small caravan business. A former sheet metal worker with Bristol Aircraft Co in the war years, Martin turned to cabinet making in the aftermath of conflict.
And it was after a friend asked Martin to source some plywood for him to build a caravan that he realised there was a potential business in waiting. Using his furniture and metal skills he created a successful prototype, with the first Bailey model (the Maestro) following soon after. Costing less that £300 and just over 13 foot in length it was eventually followed by larger models intended for both holiday and domestic use.
Even back in 1950 with the advent of the Maison model range, Bailey were gaining a reputation as innovators in caravan construction. While most manufacturers used hardboard as standard for exterior panelling, Bailey chose aluminium for its durability and long life, a choice that resonates today with their new Alu-Tech platform.
A growing reputation
Expanding to a five-model lineup in the 1960s Bailey continued to expand, entering the two-berth market with the compact Mikado. Packed with equipment yet offered at an affordable price, it was a strong example of the principles of founder Martin Bailey. And despite the challenge of the 1970s fuel crisis Bailey continued to thrive by concentrating on producing innovative touring platforms. The Mikouri was its first twin-axle model and one of the largest caravans on the road. The first manufacturer to fit 12-volt electrics as standard, Bailey also ensured it was not neglecting those on a budget by introducing a smaller range called the Prima.
Modern classics such as the Bailey Pageant and the Bailey Senator (a replacement for the Corsair) still continue in some form today, decades after their introduction. Having expanded to four ranges in the 1990s with the addition of the Discovery and Beachcomber models, it was the redesign of the latter which saw Bailey create a sales phenomenon. The well-equipped Bailey Ranger sold over a thousand units in its first year and is still popular today.
A talent for innovation
Having developed a loyal following over decades, Bailey has always looked at ways of improving the caravan for its customer. Back in the late 1970s the firm designed its own lightweight aluminium chassis used in its Prima, M and Clifton ranges. The emphasis on light weight without sacrificing interior quality continued with models such as the Discovery and the immensely popular Senator series. Yet at the end of the last decade Bailey made their most radical step forward in this arena.
Today's new models are led by the Alu-Tech range, a new Bailey construction method designed to combat the problems of water ingress. First model the Bailey Pegasus had an instant impact in 2009, becoming Bailey's biggest seller of the year. This template was then imported to the second Alu-Tech model the Bailey Olympus, a smaller Pageant-sized caravan that was launched in 2010.
Later that year, Bailey raised the bar with its class-leading Unicorn model, which replaced the outgoing Senator range. To keep pace with the various innovations on offer, the Pegasus was relaunched in January 2011 as the Bailey Pegasus Series II. The following month, Bailey introduced an entry-level tourer, the Orion, at the 2011 Boat and Caravan Show at the Birmingham NEC. The Bailey Olympus II, was unveiled in July 2011, bringing a range of enhancements to this mid-range collection.
The most recent addition to the Alu-Tech collection is the Bailey Unicorn Series II, which was launched in July 2012. With bold new exterior styling, lower MTPLM weights than its predecessor, and a host of premium features, this range promises to be a big hit with the caravanning public when it goes on display at the 2012 NCC Motorhome and Caravan Show in October.
The latest Alu-Tech ranges offer a six-year bodyshell integrity guarantee along with a three-year manufacturer's warranty, and potential purchasers can be reassured by a strong dealer support network.
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