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Royale Party

Words by Anthony Kilner - Photography by Michael Ellem
Reprinted courtesy Caravan World

 

Wish it a happy birthday and watch it blow out the candles. Windsor has just turned 30 - we take a look at the 30th Anniversary Edition Statesman Royale


Looking at the Statesman Royale from a distance makes one a little nostalgic for the past. The Statesman doesn't break any design rules, sticking to the tried and true formula of clean sharp lines that Windsor vans have become famous for. There are a couple of little things here and there, but nothing that'll jump out and slap you in the face. That's why we love it.

Looking at the drawbar, which is either the front or back of the caravan depending on how you see things, are the usual items - a 9 kg gas bottle, a tap and a dual position 6 inch jockey wheel mount. By having a dual position jockey wheel mount, the jockey wheel can be left on the drawbar without having to be detached. The drawbar is mounted onto the chassis and terminates just in front of the wheels. This provides added strength and rigidity for towing.

The DuraGal chassis has seven members running lengthways under the van with seven cross members and extra bracing in the walk areas of the van. Windsor has made sure that this van is strong enough to handle virtually all road conditions.

The front of the van is padded against stone damage and two grab handles have been mounted on the front. Also mounted on the drawbar is the Break-Away safety braking system.

The Statesman's boot houses the battery and such electricals as the charging system and the earth leakage switch. The boot is large enough to house quite a bit of gear and the lock worked smoothly. On the Driver's side of the van is where things start to heat up. Here, Windsor has placed specially designed decals for the limited edition Statesman - looks pretty shmick too.

Rounding off this side of the van is the aerial for the radio, the lockable water filler cap (which leads to a 60 litre water tank) and the 240 volt inlet socket.

 

At the back of the van, or the front - here's the dilemma again - there are several major changes There's a new moulded fibreglass centre section with tricky new moulded lights and high mount stoplight, twin grab handles and rear wheel carrier bumper bar combination with colour coded ends and chequer plate centre. A limited edition spare wheel cover rounds off the back.

The offside of the van has an Electrolux 8300 13 ft awning that, once you get the hang of, is as easy as pie to erect. It's a bit iffy with one person and, as with most things, becomes much easier with two. There's also a power outlet socket, a grab handle light and a light mounted on the outside wall. Just remember to keep the Aeroguard handy - with thus much light, the bugs are bound to come from miles around.

The Statesman's frame is manufactured from Meranti timber with polystyrene insulation throughout. The body of the van is mounted directly onto the chassis for strength.

The poptop is made up of a one piece fibreglass roof and is integrated into the body of the van providing improved aerodynamics. A heavy duty vinyl is used in the construction of the poptop with four windows for ventilation. Once the catches are released on the outside of the van, it's very simple to lock the poptop into place.

Underneath the van is the coil over shocker, independent trailing arm suspension system, electric brakes, 14 inch wheels, mudflaps and new dual catch wind down stabiliser legs. This involves using a catch system to raise and lower the legs, it's then a case of giving them a bit of a turn to lock them into place.

 

This caravan is all about class - but it's a class that harkens back to the early days of Windsor and the Statesman. It might have all the mod cons and be up-to-date with the latest interior design techniques for vans, but there's something about it that we just can't describe.

Stepping into the Statesman over the limited edition door mat, one gets a sensation of craftsmanship, whether it's the post form bench tops, timber frames all round the wood grain panelling or the gold clicker release buttons everywhere. The doorway leads straight into the kitchen, a sink, rangehood and four burner cook top and grill are on the left. To our amazement, we discovered hat water in the Statesman is cold only and is pumped via a foot pump. It might seem snobby but we expected a van of this ilk to have a hot water service.

That aside, the kitchen is a functional affair. There's plenty of storage space around the kitchen and dinette and like most new vans, it has a slide out pantry.

The Champagne has been flowing at Windsor. And it's well deserved. After knocking out corker caravan after corker caravan for the last 30 years, the lads are finally able to kick up their heels.

In that time, we've seen some of the most recognisable brands in caravanning disappear, such as Viscount and Gazal, leaving nothing behind but the second hand remnants of once mighty brands. But Windsor has kicked on. Now, it's hoping to consolidate its position as a builder of quality vans by making 2002 a year of celebration. The first cab off the rank is the Statesman Royale - a dependable van at the best of times, the Windsor boffins have had out the slide rule and the photo albums.

After months in a dank basement away from prying eyes, Windsor has created a van that has all the olde-worlde charm of the original Statesman but the looks of a modern van.

Like the list at an exclusive Oscars after party in Hollywood, the punters will have to be quick to get their hands on one of these vans. Only 24 are being made - it makes them much more special.

 
 
To remind the punters that they're holidaying in a piece of Aussie caravanning history, Windsor has place a limited edition plaque and clock on the wall of the van. On the far wall is the microwave and under that, more bench space. There's also a lift out basket for vegies and the like. The 90 litre fridge is mounted under here.
 

Next to the fridge, so you don't have to go far for a coldie, is a small two seater double lounge and a cupboard where the TV can be mounted. There are two aerial junction boxes for the TV so it can be mounted in the kitchen as well. This is a great idea as many caravans only have the one socket, and it's usually in the most inconvenient place possible.

Opposite this area is the L shaped dinette and table. All the lounge chairs have pillow style cushioning. This style of cushioning is becoming increasingly popular, thankfully.

Like most vans, the kitchen and dinette floor have been covered in vinyl,it looks good and due to the reasonably limited use it'll get, it shouldn't wear out too quickly. The bedroom has been carpeted to give hat cosy feeling underfoot.

The test model Statesman came with two single beds but Windsor is offering a double bed for those who want it - numbers are limited though. Under each bed is more storage space and also a wire basket.

With a dressing table-cum-wardrobe dividing the two beds, the boudoir area is sorted for storage space. This his-and-hers wardrobe has external mirrors on each door. Below this is a sliding shelf, and underneath that is a cupboard large enough to hold a cassette toilet.

The Statesman comes with the usual standard extras - smoke detector, fire extinguisher,12 volt halogen lighting and Galaxy windows.

In keeping with the Statesman theme, we opted for a V8 Holden Statesman to handle the towing duties. And handle them it did - it was almost as if the van wasn't there. Stay tuned for a full tow test with the Holden Statesman.

The Royale sat well on the road and was particularly stable on the rougher sections of blacktop. This is expected from a single axle, independent suspension system where each wheel soaks up the bumps it hits.

 

 

Worth Buying?

While the Royale's fit and finish was excellent we did have a few reservations about the bed size. We'd probably opt for the extendable double bed. As far as interior space goes, the Statesman is bang on - it has plenty.

On the other hand, the club lounge is going to be a right squeeze for two larger sized people, but it is comfortable enough for two smaller individuals.

If you're after a van that is unique and bound to become a piece of vanning history, then the Windsor is worth taking a look at. Mind you with only 24 being built, it might all be academic.


Fact File 
Manufacturer
Windsor Caravans
Model
30th Anniversary Statesman Royale
Length (external)
17 ft 11.5 inches (5.21 metres)
Travel height
7 ft 2.5 inches (2.19 metres)
Pop top down
Nameplate tare weight
1395 kg
Ball weight
155 kg
Chassis
Duragal
Suspension type
Safety Tow Independent (coil over shocker on trailing arm)
Frame
Meranti with fibreglass roof, polystyrene insulation
Water tank capacity
60 litres
Door height

5 ft 8 inches (1.76 metres)

Interior height
6 ft 6.75 inches (2 metres) - Pop top open
Bed
6 ft 5 inches x 2 ft 6.25 inches (198 x 79 cm)
Roll out awning
Electrolux 8300 13 ft (3.96 metre)
Warranty
12 months - unlimited kilometres
Options
Extendable double bed
Extra 30th Anniversary features
Jensen CD player/radio - Dometic split system air conditioning - Orion 14 inch TV with two ports - New rear lights - New rear mouldings in fibreglass - New bumper with spare wheel - New wind up jacks

Where it all began
 

Established in 1972, the Company's current Managing directors, Sam Ieraci and Joe Milo, started as factory manager and sales manager respectively.

In those days, Windsor concentrated on producing whopping great big vans that would put most modern motorhomes to shame. They were 30 ft long and satin tri-axle set-ups.

As the Windsor motto is "Leading the Way", the company decided big wasn't always better, and in 1974, it released its first poptop. Because it was smaller, lighter and more aerodynamic when it hit the streets, van sales went through the proverbial poptop.

The next revelation was the introduction of independent suspension in 1978, which offered punters a more comfortable ride when towing. The original suspension system was similar to the rear end of a Jaguar.

Another first for Windsor was the introduction of a combination of 240 volt and 12 volt lighting and power systems into their range of vans. This meant that people could tow their van and stay virtually anywhere without the need for 240 volt power. Again, this move was warmly received by travellers looking to head off the beaten track away from van parks.

Windsor produces several vans catering for all price ranges in the market place. All Windsor's vans are structured around price and features so it can supply a van that will suit virtually everyone in the market for a practical, user friendly van.

The Kratzmann Team are proud to offer you
the Windsor Statesman Royale



You're welcome to visit our showrooms
1768 Sandgate Road,
Virginia Qld 4014

Phone
(07) 3265 2477
Fax (07) 3865 2477
2-4 Brewers Street
(Cnr Eastern Service Road)
Burpengary Qld
Phone (07) 3888 2755
Fax (07) 3888 7566
Both showrooms are open Monday-Friday – 8 am to 5 pm and Saturday 8am to 4pm

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