Even though Al Yoder Jr. retired in 1994 as president of Jayco Inc., he didn’t leave the RV industry completely. A popular industry veteran, he’s been known to frequent business social events.
Now Yoder as a consumer has played a role in designing a unique 2010 model for Leisure Travel Vans Ltd. 24-foot B-plus style Unity Class C built on an imported Sprinter chassis.
”He custom-designed it,” said Leisure Travel Vans President Ryan Elias. ”The concept came all from him.”
”I wanted an open floorplan and different things that they probably aren’t even going to offer as an option,”’ said Yoder, who joined Jayco in 1969, a year after the company was founded by Lloyd Bontrager in Middlebury, Ind.
Yoder, 82, will use the specially equipped Leisure Travel’s minimotorhome as his personal RV, while the Canadian manufacturer added Yoder’s floorplan to the new 2010 Unity lineup.
Among the more innovative motorhomes displayed at the 2009 Louisville Show, Unity is equipped with a Murphy bed built into a streetside slideout. The Unity setup allows access from both sides of the bed, rather than only one side with the bed tucked in a rear corner.
Leisure Travel showed the coach in December in Louisville and the floorplan will go into production this month (January).
Yoder who still lives in Middlebury, where Jayco is headquartered, approached Leisure Travel’s Canadian parent, Triple E RV, Winkler, Manitoba, about buying the company’s Class C front and rear caps to customize a minimotorhome that he wanted to build.
”I liked their transition pieces,” said Yoder. ”They said they wanted to redesign their Class C. I had a floorplan that I’d designed and between phone calls, faxes and e-mail, I laid out the design and they built what I wanted,” Yoder said. ”They did some engineering to incorporate the open floorplan and access to the bed from both sides that I wanted.”
Yoder’s unit, which he plans to drive through Texas and California starting in mid-February, contains no generator or propane but is equipped a heavy battery with converters and inverters to manage the unit’s power systems.
Yoder’s Unity also is equipped with a combination water heater/space heater and a macerating pump that liquefies all of the gray and black water so that tanks can be emptied with a garden hose.
”That big black hose you use to empty your holding tanks is something that older people aren’t too enthused about,” Yoder said.
To accommodate the Murphy bed that sits opposite the entry door, Leisure Travel added a pair of recliners that fold down at the push of a button to become the bed’s pedestal.
While Yoder and the RV builder passed a slew of information back and forth electronically, Yoder also spent 1 1/2 days at Leisure Travel Vans’ factory in Morden, Manitoba.
”I didn’t see the completed unit until I got to Louisville,” Yoder said. ”I was not disappointed.”