639 - 649 Springvale Road

Springvale South   Vic   3172

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Initially determined on another brand, the Coxes were won over by Pedigree's product and service. By Peter Lawson-Hanscombe

Having started with a 6.7-metre Millard, way back when, Cle and Geoff Cox from Canberra know exactly what they want from caravanning. As Cle told CW "We lived in Canberra and had five children, and the best and most economical way to enjoy holidays was by caravanning."

Cle and Geoff getting to know their dream van,

the Pedigree Frontier.

Husband Geoff chimed in, "We towed the Millard with a Fairlane and had a wonderful time. It was in the days before seatbelts, and during this time we developed our taste for caravanning and seeing Australia."

"As the children grew up our lifestyle changed and the Millard went onto a site on the south coast of New South Wales where it served us well as a holiday home," Cle continued.


The pair's careers proceeded and a while back, as youthful retirees, they decided to get back into serious caravanning. Their quest had some interesting moments.

"We were set on getting a particular brand of van, and we planned to visit the Sydney Caravan Show to chase it up," Geoff explained.

"Unfortunately I had an indisposition which prevented us going to the show, so we called a Sydney dealer of our chosen product. He never called back so we thought, blow that, let's go and see the dealer in Melbourne.

We turned up at the Melbourne Show and talked to the dealer, and sadly we found him to be less than enthusiastic. We were pretty disappointed - but then we met the Pedigree people."

The couple had their hearts set on a particular style of caravan as well as brand, and they found the service and attention they received from Pedigree's Stephen and Michael Hawkins was excellent, so they decided to 'Go Pedigree'.

"I had told Geoff that if we were to go caravanning when we retired that was fine, but I had to have a motel on wheels for accommodation," said Cle.

"With this in mind we settled on a Pedigree GXL - I had my motel and Geoff had all the fun of caravanning and travel in a unit that suited us both."

Geoff added, "We were also delighted by the product support of the Hawkins family and the people at Pedigree - nothing was too much trouble."

Pedigree is by no means a large producer of vans. Fitting the mould of a boutique builder, the company has, nonetheless, a strong following, and the small outfit turns out a number of caravans for serious vanners every year.

The Frontier's well-

equipped kitchen.

Behind their large sales yard in Melbourne's south eastern suburbs, the Hawkins also run Caravan Court, a well set up and carefully tended suburban residential cara-park, where CW caught up with the Coxes.

After 40,000 km the pair had decided they were ready for the caravan of their dreams.   CW found Cle and Geoff in their faithful and, we might add, immaculate Pedigree GXL 6.4-metre shower van, waiting to take delivery of a brand spanking new Pedigree Frontier 7.3-metre unit.

The delivery sequence, as told by Michael Hawkins, is a story in itself. "When we sell a new caravan we like the customer to come to Caravan Court and, on delivery, we take them through the caravan until they are totally familiar with all its features," he explained.

"There's no rush to this process and our customers appreciate the opportunity to get to know their new acquisition in comfort and with our support."

Cle and Geoff Cox are keen to get to more remote areas and have specified their big new Pedigree Frontier to do this job well. The couple aren't into off-road caravanning, but they wanted a unit that could withstand the vagaries of unmade roads in comfort and safety.

"We like to get to out-of-the-way places and that calls for travelling on a lot of unmade roads," said Geoff.

The computer's workstation fits

neatly into the bedroom

"No matter how good a caravan is, for travelling to places such as we intend it has to be protected from dust entering - and, of course, have protection for the undercarriage."

The big Pedigree is a superb example of self-sufficient accommodation. On entering there's a big lounge/dinette, the first surprise of this custom-built wonder. The seating and the upholstery are of benchmark design.

"Of all of the things you do in a caravan, sitting is what you do most, and with this in mind we ordered the seating and upholstery to be of a certain build and quality," said Geoff.

Seat build and quality was

a special consideration

The Coxes came up with an ideal solution to 'tired' seating in a caravan. The seat bases are fitted with high quality sprung webbing for suspension and the seat cushions are made from Dunlop Endurofoam. Additionally, the cushions are cleverly made to be reversible.

Fittings include a new flat-screened 34 cm Sony TV securely anchored on its swivel, as specified. The TV and its VCR work through the JVC radio and CD player with one remote control working both TV and VCR and another remote working the CD.

To suck in the TV signal, there's a Winegard antenna, with the addition of an external socket for connection in caravan parks where a TV cable is provided.

The couple chose the state-of-the-art Panasonic microwave oven with variable power heating and, for conventional cooking, a marine range Smev cooktop with a flush mounting lid, oven and grill.

Geoff is a enthusiast of Asian cooking but is forbidden from carrying out his pursuits inside the van. To accommodate his skills the couple had another Smev cooktop fitted on an external slide out - a handy solution. There's a Wemo 240/12-volt 118-litre compressor fridge, and just in case Geoff ever manages to get inside the van to use the internal cooktop there's a 240/12-volt rangehood.

A Coleman air-conditioner is mounted in the roof and in the ventilation department the Coxes have opted for a pair of 12-volt Fan-tastic roof hatches, complete with rain sensors.

The 2 Fan-tastic roof hatches

have rain sensors

There are two water tanks, one for drinking and the other for showers, and a Moreflow gas hot water service is contained in a dustproof and insulated cabinet.

As Geoff likes to explore unmade roads the Pedigree is fitted with 0.7 mm galvanised guards, and enough space has been provided between the guard and the tanks to prevent damage by abrasion. Across the front of the water tanks there's a hefty steel cross member to prevent damage underneath by big hits such as gibbers and kangaroos.

Plenty of hanging

space in the robes.

While the Pedigree is big on size and has all the stuff to render it bulletproof it also abounds in space and luxury. The bedroom is full-on, with masses of drawer and cupboard space. The Coxes insist most of their clothing must hang - even T-shirts! Alongside the robes, there's the computer's workstation. In the front of the caravan, special cupboard space has been designed for the Coxes
Easycook turbo-oven and Geoff's bread-making machine.

Hydraulic jack controls

mounted on the A-frame.

There is no doubt that this fortunate couple from Canberra have geared themselves for long distance comfortable travel in a big way! Wanting for nothing, the Pedigree also features a Coleman Faulkner awning and labour-saving hydraulic jacks.

When last seen, Cle and Geoff were getting to know their custom-built Pedigree before heading off to Canberra to do a bit of planning for their big one, away from it all.

All Powered Up
The Pedigree Frontier is full bottle on 12-volt self-sufficiency, with slide-out dual deep cycle batteries and an 80-watt solar panel system with provision for connecting a portable solar panel. The system also includes a 25-amp fully automatic battery charger with cooling fan.
The big van's batteries are charged from four power sources including the solar panel, the 25-amp 240-volt battery charger, via a hot wire in the seven-pin plug on the A-frame, usually on pin number two, or via separate heavy duty wiring on the A-frame which connects to the tow vehicle's dual battery charging system. A fully automatic Selectronic 12 to 240-volt inverter is connected to the batteries and the output of this setup runs three 240-volt points via a changeover switch.
The changeover switch allows the three power points to easily connect to the external 240-volt power inlet or to the 240-volt inverter that runs the batteries. Two of the three power points are used to run the TV, the VCR and the caravan's personal computer at its workstation in the bedroom. The third is a spare and can be used for limited work such as a shaver or charging a mobile.

Source: Caravan World and Outdoor Life March 2000

This article which appeared in the magazine "Caravan World and Outdoor Life" was written by Peter Lawson-Hanscombe and is reproduced with permission of Peter Lawson-Hanscombe and the publisher, ACP Publishing Pty Ltd.   The material is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without the prior permission of the author and publisher.