639 - 649 Springvale Road

Springvale South   Vic   3172

Ph (03) 9546-9822   Fx (03) 9547-4803


This article which appeared in the magazine "Caravan & Motorhome" was written by John Rooth and is reproduced with permission of John Rooth and the publisher, Express Publications Pty Ltd.   The material is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without the prior permission of the author and publisher.

There's only one place you can buy a new Pedigree caravan and that's direct from the manufacturers - Caravan Court on Springvale Road in Melbourne. There they have a range of vans ready for inspection and of course, are always willing to discuss their client's individual needs so they can custom build a caravan to suit. But unlike some caravan sales people, you don't get rushed at Pedigree. In fact, if anything, the atmosphere is very low key. There's no pressure and no rush evident. Just a solid belief that they're making and selling good caravans.
Maybe it's this backbone of caravanning that's influenced Pedigree design over the years or maybe it's just the result of more than 30 years of caravan production but whatever the reason, there's something very special about the Pedigree product.

It hasn't always been that way though. Years ago the Pedigree name was associated with good quality but low budget caravans, built to a modest price. Luxuries were few and far between and not really the market that Pedigree sought. With their noses entrenched in the caravan market, it was hard for the Hawkins brothers not to realise that caravanning was changing. More and more people were looking for a level of convenience and comfort well beyond the expectations of vanners from the past and prepared to pay for it too. And so they pursued that goal themselves by creating the Elite range, of which this l8ft6in solid roof tandem is an example of one of their most popular models, the top of the line Elite GLX.

Construction of the Pedigree Elite shows the company's reputation for solid, good value workmanship at its best. Starting with a heavy duty all steel chassis with extra cross supports built in, Pedigree then add a 15mm bonded plywood floor that's waterproof and both glued and screwed to the chassis for extra strength. The A-frame extends all the way to the front spring hangers so you're towing the whole caravan, not just the gas bottle! Pedigree utilise conventional leaf springs and this tandem set up looks as solid and reliable as we've come to expect. The axles are situated further back to allow for the weight bias of a rear door caravan and there are boxed wind-down jacks for levelling on all four corners although this van had the hydraulically operated jacks offered as an option. Electric brakes and eight ply truck tyres mounted on Delta rims complete the rolling chassis. The wheel arch walls are clad with aluminium to keep them from corroding and in a typically thorough Pedigree touch there are big rubber mud flaps on each rear wheel.

Right: The vanity

sits in the corner of

the bedroom which

can be closed off

with a sliding












Below: The

kitchen area

offers good bench

space and in the

bedroom, the bed

slides across to

give access from

either side

Wall construction utilises the industry favourite, Meranti. The roof section is insulated as standard on all Elite models and they're all pre-wired for solar generating systems making this option one that's easy to fit later on if required. Pedigree offer a range of electrical options with the Deluxe kit offering twin 100am p/hour deep cycle batteries, a battery charger to keep them topped up from the mains, individual fuse blades protecting each circuit and a trailer plug charging circuit to keep the batteries topped up from the car's alternator. The batteries are stored in a sealed (from the inside) compartment that's accessed from the outside through a lockable door. When battery servicing is required the batteries slide out on a roller bearing runner equipped shelf making the job a piece of cake.


At the rear of this van, the

comfortable high density

foam cushions are very

comfortable for relaxing



Plenty of storage space

in this timbered kitchen,

complete with fluorescent

light over the sink and

mains pressure water



A feature of the Elite is the

good capacity fridge,

excellent for those longer

stays away.   The fridge

controls, very conveniently,

are at the top.


For remote operation Pedigree offer a solar panel kit featuring an 80 watt panel that is usually fitted to the roof (unless you want to keep it portable), a smart charge regulator that can handle a couple of panels if required, battery voltage and solar panel current meters. The system is well thought-out and proven to work and Pedigree include an additional socket so you can plug in another solar panel if required. They might be Victorians but they still know about the sun...
The big double bed has a hinged top controlled by two gas struts to utilise the extra space for storage and the whole unit slides sideways to allow more room in front of the shower/toilet and full-length wardrobe. This is a true bedroom that would be easy to live with for the long run thanks to the convenience of that ensuite shower/toilet and the sliding divider that closes off the front of the caravan. Like the walls, all the cabinet and furniture framing is made from Meranti with polished timber-edged bench tops and window pelmets of Tasmanian Oak. The bed comes complete with a quilted bedspread and a pair of overhead cupboards to add more closet space. There's also twin reading lights and even dual speakers for the stereo/radio unit. A full 'cuddle' style lounge features high density foam cushions with light fittings and cupboard space all seemingly kept at a maximum yet kept from competing from the useable space too. The lounge is upholstered in a very luxurious material distinctive to the GLX model that's also tough and long wearing. All the windows are fitted with both heavy curtains and roll down blinds so that privacy is ensured.

Placing the kitchenette area in between the lounge and bedroom area gives both an air of separation while removing the 'poky' feel some caravan kitchens have. The fridge is an Electrolux 103 litre three-way model with top mounted controls that'll save you bending over. A Chef four-burner stove, oven and grill is large enough to cook that Christmas lunch for the troops in comfort in this location but there's a microwave oven, too, for those quickie heat-ups. You can tell that a lot of thought has gone into making the most of the kitchen area with nice touches like the standard sink cover, a high spout mains pressure tap and a 240 volt fluorescent light over the sink itself. Naturally there's a ton of storage space, with a roll-out pantry and a large pot drawer too. All the drawers work smoothly and will stay that way thanks to twin side runners supporting the weight.

Shower and toilet equipped Pedigrees, like the one featured, run a dual water system using both mains pressure (when you're connected in a caravan park or at home) and an electric pump to back it up on the road. The pump draws from twin water tanks located underneath the caravan and a Moreflow gas hot water system delivers hot water to the shower, sink and vanity basin too. The cassette toilet has an electrical flush and there's a much appreciated hatch over the shower cabinet housing an exhaust fan. The shower door is the glass screen type and it's interesting to note that Pedigree - no doubt from practical experience of caravan parks - have plumbed their waste water outlet to the side of the caravan.

Astute readers will have noticed that this Pedigree GLX has a couple of excellent features housed on top of the caravan. The Winegard antenna is operated by a handle allowing it to be retracted, when the time comes, simply and easily. In front of the aerial we can see the air conditioner unit which must rate as one of the best 'optional extras' money can buy for Australian conditions. Pedigree offer many more options such as a fold-up draw bar, a slide out barbecue, fold-out table extension, a water tank gauge, halogen lights, TV or TV/VCR units and virtually anything else you can think of.

So it's easy to see that from humble beginnings and a love of caravanning, Pedigree have matured into one of the most sensible buying options on the Australian caravan market. They offer comfort and quality at an affordable price and 35 years of satisfied customers willing to sing their praises is proof of that indeed.    

Source: Caravan & Motorhome Vol 2 No 4