So we were left with a decision, and that was keep what we had and continue dealing with the layout and upgrading it as required, or look at other makes. We considered a few different ideas, going smaller, lighter, we even thought about going back to an Ultimate Camper and just using it a few weeks at a time .. but after having the comfort of a full height van with shower & toilet ... we discounted that idea, though I would still love to have one in the shed for those quick get-aways (roughing) it ... anyway I digress ..
We knew what we wanted, we didn’t want a wood frame van nor a wood floor, composite materials were on our mind and vans like ZoneRV were on our list, so was VisionRV but we discounted both on the costs and some personal reviews we read. We liked Elross, a WA built and we visited the factory, this was a van we considered but I did not like the use of marine ply for the floor, and the optioned prices we looked at were beyond what we expected or wanted to spend.
So what did we buy?
A Masterpiece Optimum, who or what are they ? They are a box on wheels like the majority, the History of the company or at least the owner of the company involves another well known manufacturer, JB Caravans. Both partners went there own way and Masterpiece was born, my bro in law has a JB Scorpion and it has survived the roads of the Gibb River & Cape York, and it’s a wooden framed van, but it’s not 15 years old .. so my thoughts still stand on that.
The older Masterpiece vans were built the same way but recently they have joined the modern age of composite materials, in fact the framing is unique in the industry being neither wood, nor alloy, nor freezer panels that some use, they use a product called Fibroplast, it’s extremely strong, light and rot proof. Cut with a CNC machine it’s precisely built. The floors are made of a one piece composite sheet from Germany and between the inner and outer walls is proper air cell insulation, not just polystyrene.
So how it was built was important to us, we chucked away the idea of smaller & lighter and stayed with a similar size to the BT but a different layout with full En-suite and Cafe lounge and Island Bed. What also sold me was everything was going to be new ... 2022 new! meaning nothing needed upgrading, with quality Victron management system looking after the 440ahr Lithium battery system, 600w solar & 3000w Inverter along with the latest in 12v compressor fridge, A/C, fan forced over, microwave, etc etc ... the electrical systems specifications left out nothing.
Underneath the van which should be more important is a Cruisemaster 4.1T AT Freestyle independent suspension, potable & non potable water tanks, and a grey water tank. The list goes on and on, it’s easier to look at the Masterpiece website for the full specifications that try and make sense of my ramblings.
If there is a negative it’s the time we wait before we can hitch up and tow it away, but it could be a lot worse as the build times for new vans are out to 14 months or longer, ours is a display van .. Yes, we loved what we saw and chose it, everything about it is as we would have had it built, except for maybe some shelves in the skinny wardrobes, that is something easily changed.
We have to wait until October until new display stock arrives and we can take delivery, until then we will continue to use our BushTracker, we have a trip planned to Ningaloo and beyond which will fill in a few months, then we will have time to empty it and get it cleaned and ready to sell.
EDIT: well some good news, our pick up date has been bought forward to late July early August, plus we have taken a deposit on the sale of the Bushtracker.
Exciting times, we both feel a new van will renew our enthusiasm for caravan travel and look forward to the years ahead, I will include some photos of our van, some maybe taken by myself, others by the maker
Full specification can be seen here on the Masterpiece website