It’s fair to say that owning American RVs in Europe is a fairly specialist hobby. There are plenty of good reasons for this, starting with the gargantuan dimensions of these machines, especially their width.
Running a close second is their their thirst for fuel and high purchase costs. Although the biggest RVs are often ‘diesel pushers’ – essentially large coaches converted to motorhomes – many are based on large American-style pickup trucks and as such have large, thirsty petrol engines – this Allegro Bay A-Class RV has a 7.5l petrol engine, for example.
On the other hand, these vehicles truly are a home-from-home, with huge water and waste tanks, proper-sized furniture and lots of storage and living space. If you spend most of your time on motorways and major roads, their size shouldn’t be a problem. Anyone who spends a lot of time away at exhibitions or motorsports events, for example, probably won’t have a problem. Just don’t imagine that you can tour the backroads of Europe – there is a reason why most RV owners tow a small car or have motorbikes on board – that’s the only way they can really explore the areas they visit.
Lest you think I am prejudiced against RVs, I am not – but when compared to large European motorhomes they do seem to be inefficient with both space and fuel and often quite dated in style, to my eyes.
Without further ado, here are a few juicy, left-hand drive US imports that are currently for sale on that bubbling cauldron of website goodness we know as eBay:
- This Chevrolet Coachman RV is relatively modest in size (8m) and has an attractive layout, unlike some larger RVs it’s under 7,500kg too, meaning anyone who passed their car test before 01/01/1997 can drive it on a car licence
- This old Chevy is being sold as a “winter project”. It’s a coachbuilt model with a large luton – a familiar shape in Europe. It’s also nearly 30 years old and definitely needs some TLC, but it is a runner (just), according to the seller. Here’s a similar example but in better (usable) condition.
- Moving up in size and value, this 2009 Four Winds A-class RV is 35ft long and has a lot of extras, including 4 flat screen TVs… It sleeps 7 and has an 8.2l petrol engine!
- No discussion of American RVs would be complete without a Winnebago – so here is a 1996 30ft Winnebago Itasco Passage for your delectation.
We’ll finish off with two smaller models, albeit both wider than their European equivalents. The first is a Winnebago Warrior – a coachbuilt motorhome with a big luton built onto a relatively small pickup chassis. This one is (I think, can’t see from the pictures) on a Toyota base vehicle with a 3l petrol engine with LPG conversion – fuel costs should be quite manageable, especially if you don’t rush too much.
The second smaller vehicle is even smaller and, in the US world, hardly even qualifies as a motorhome. It’s a Chevrolet Astro van in ‘day van’ configuration. It has travel seats for 7 and can sleep 2 on seats that convert to a bed. It also has some kind of “camper kit” for washing/cooking that apparently “fold away” when not in use, according to the listing.
Here endeth today’s look at American motorhomes in the UK. They are quite different to European motorhomes – some people swear by them and some people swear at them. The only way to find out whether they are right for you is to view, and possibly use, them.