When Shasta RV decided to release a true-to-the-original update of the 1961 Airflyte, company leaders figured it would go over well.
“I thought it would be popular, I thought there would be a lot of people who would think, ‘That’s cool,'” said Mark Lucas, president of the Forest River Inc. subsidiary. “We thought it would be good, but we never anticipated that it would do this. A lot of the people who are calling us retailwise don’t even own a camper.”
Indeed, it’s struck a chord with people. In the two weeks since dealership Mount Comfort RV of Greenfield, Ind., posted a video of Lucas showing off the new retro trailer, it’s had more than 21,000 views. Sites like retrorenovation.com and smalltrailerenthusiast.com have latched onto the news. As Lucas said, “It’s gone completely crazy. The New York Times has been in touch with us, too,” he said. “I don’t remember the last time a product launch has made this kind of national news.”
Shasta announced the pricing of the trailer Aug. 12; by Aug. 15, they’d signed 721 orders of the limited-edition run of 1,941 Airflytes — in honor of the year Shasta started, 1941.
The way the 2015 Shasta came about involves a little serendipity. “”I’m a car guy and I bought a 1960 Cadillac convertible,” Lucas said. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to get a 1960s Shasta to pull behind it?'” He found a 1971 trailer, but it just wasn’t the right style to go with the car, so he found a 1961.
It needed some rehabilitation, so he brought it into the factory. “Two days later they took it down to a bare frame. I said, ‘I don’t want a new Shasta, I want a ’61.'”
The rehab project generated some excitement in the plant. Original suppliers dusted off tooling and made replacement parts, and the idea of duplicating it grew out of that. “It’s exciting top to bottom. It’s neat when a guy from the floor department comes and asks, ‘How are sales going?’,” Lucas said.
“The suppliers have been fantastic. It really has created an excitement and a passion that I’ve never seen,” Lucas explained.
While it meets modern codes and adds new features hidden inside — a wet bath, a bluetooth stereo, a microwave instead of an oven — the finished product looks like the original, right down to the whitewall tires. “It looks the right way, it feels the right way, it tows the right way,” Lucas said.
There are only two options: Color and length. There’s a 16-foot length or a 19-foot length, complete with an L-style gaucho with a canvas-style hammock above it. They come in three color combos, all with “Polo White” on top, and the choice of “Matador Red,” “Sea Foam Green” or “Buttercup Yelow,” with interiors to match.
Despite the wild popularity, Shasta will stop production at 1,941 units, he said. “They’ll be collectors editions,” he said.
And while Shasta may try retro looks in the future, “this probably is the sweet spot, this canned-ham style. If we were to do anything going forward, I don’t know that we’d be as authentic as we are for the ’61,” he said. “The production process is completely different,” he explained.
Lucas figures the first 1,200 to 1,300 will go right away, but he doesn’t expect to sell out until Elkhart RV Open House (Sept. 16-18), which is also the official unveiling of the green and yellow models.
Shasta RV, a division of Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River Inc., announced the launch of its all-new Phoenix mid-profile and “super-mid profile” fifth-wheels during the recently completed Elkhart County RV Open House. According to a press release, Shasta is securing a 55,000 square-foot production facility to meet demand for the product and anticipates the hiring of 75 new employees by year’s end.
“The Phoenix is a uniquely constructed, value-added-fifth wheel,” said Product Manager Chadd Johnson, previously of CrossRoads RV who is overseeing sales in Canada for the Phoenix brand. “We have instilled a creative thinking process in our team, and have invested the extra effort to be inventive and attentive to details.”
Johnson noted that Daric Fail will handle sales in the southern U.S. while Kris Lash covers the northwestern states. The Phoenix will also be on display during this week’s the Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association’s (RVDA) Convention/Expo in Las Vegas.
“The response to the product at the Open House was unbelievable,” reported Mark Lucas, president of Shasta RV. “We had dealers standing three and four deep just to get inside. Dealers made positive comments and complimented the overall unique look and feel, as well as the commitment to our value added design and construction method.”
The Phoenix utilizes a mechanically-fastened, 16-inch on center, six-sided aluminum cage for its construction. Tongue-and-groove plywood covers the floor structure, while a rolled-edge roof caps off the modern colored, hung fiberglass exterior. “This product will compete directly with the current mid-profile products on the market, but we’ve integrated features and eye appeal normally found at much higher price points,” said Lucas.
Standard features include wide-body construction, unique wall treatments, leather-style furniture and a “designer-inspired” bathroom. Phoenix fifth-wheels will range from 27- to 34-feet in length with MSRP’s starting around $30,000.
“Most people inherently want to feel they have something unique and special. We deliver that wish, and then some, without asking them to pay $60,000 to do so,” said Johnson. “Most products in the mid-profile segment all look the same and are all built the same. We instead, invest time and expense in the best possible construction, and pair that with a contemporary interior and class-leading exterior design. This Phoenix fifth-wheel is sure to have a broad appeal.”
For more information, available territories or details on the Phoenix, call (574) 825-7178.
Shasta RV, a division of Forest River Inc., today (March 7) announced that Mark Lucas has been appointed the new president and general manager, according to a press release.
“Mark brings a wealth of product knowledge, customer relations, as well as sales and operational experience to Shasta,” said Michael Terlep, who oversees Forest River’s Coachmen RV division. “Mark is capable of assessing organizational needs and devising, implementing and executing strategies to facilitate sustainable growth. One of his strengths is the ability to translate ideas into rapid action and introduce products and solutions built around the needs of the customer.”
Lucas served as president and general manger of Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary CrossRoads RV from 2002 through 2010. Prior to joining CrossRoads RV, Lucas started his career in the RV industry as a regional sales manager for Shasta Travel Trailers in February of 2001.
Lucas will work out of the Shasta complex in Middlebury, Ind.
“We look forward to Mark’s leadership and influence as we lead Shasta RV toward its mission of outstanding growth and profitability,” Terlep said.
Middlebury, Ind.-based Shasta RV, a division of Forest River Inc., will be unveiling its new Oasis travel trailer during Elkhart County’s 4th Anuual RV Open House Week, running Sept. 19-23.
According to a press release, the unit will be on display at Forest River’s expansive display at its Dynamax campus in east Elkhart.
Shasta RV said the new Oasis offers RV enthusiasts an upscale, modern interior and floorplans ranging in length from 19 to 30 feet, two of which also feature outside kitchens.
“We went with a very rich, modern-looking interior,” said Brad Whitehead, Shasta president. “It has cinnamon maple cabinetry, Beauflor residential-style vinyl flooring with a bright tile pattern, and a lot of contrasting wall vinyls that combine to offer a warm, comfortable living area.
“We’ve also incorporated some manufacturing techniques into this product that really have helped it to be extremely competitive in its segment,” Whitehead added. “It’s very light and priced right — but it doesn’t look the part. A lot of times, people think lightweight and low price means that the good looks have to go away. That’s not the case here.”
Designed to meet the towing limits of an array of lighter vehicles, the Oasis tips the scales at approximately 4,600 pounds for a 25-foot unit without a slideout and about 4,700 pounds for the same model with a single slide.
With an approximate retail MSRP beginning in the range of $11,000, the Oasis also is available in a “black package” that features all exterior accessories — from its awning arms to the LP-gas bottle cover, fender skirts and aluminum rims — in black.
After only seven full months of production, Middlebury, Ind.-based Shasta RV reached a major milestone Wednesday (Aug. 3) as its 1,000th Revere travel trailer rolled down the production line.
“It’s really a testament to the quality of the product,” noted Shasta President Brad Whitehead. “It’s a solid, feature-rich unit — and dealers have been extremely responsive.” The conventional stick-and-tin trailer is available in lengths from 21 to 32 feet, and offers consumers a choice of 17 floorplans.
Forest River Inc., Elkhart, Ind., acquired the iconic Shasta brand when it purchased Coachmen Industries RV Group in 2008. It resurrected the out-of-production nameplate last August, and Shasta began full production in January.
In addition to the Revere, Shasta also builds the Freeport, a fiberglass-laminated lightweight travel trailer, and Class C minimotorhomes under the Cynara brand.
Shasta RV recently introduced a new line of ultra-lightweight travel trailers under the Freeport brand name.
“Freeport provides our customers with a product that looks and feels like an upper mid-line travel trailer, while positioning it at an entry level price point,” Brad Whitehead, president of Middlebury, Ind.-based Shasta, stated in a news release. “Freeport is priced right, positioned right and weighs light, and these floorplans will appeal to everyone.”
Freeport features a walkable, tapered roof that’s covered with one-piece seamless EPDM rubber. Laminated walls consist of welded aluminum framing with R-9 insulation and are skinned with fiberglass. Underneath, it’s protected by a wrapped vapor barrier and heated/enclosed underbelly.
Inside, custom-designed decors add eye appeal and long life. Freeport boasts pocket bore screwed cabinetry and glazed, arched cathedral cabinet doors throughout, as well as solid wood drawer fronts and large overhead cabinets. An auto-ignition furnace with wall thermostat and dual-ducted roof air provide residential comfort. A convertible sofa, 23-inch LED HDTV and large panoramic windows complete the interior.
Freeport’s kitchens include a three-burner cooktop with high-output front burner and electronic ignition, a large oven, carousel microwave and a double-door refrigerator. Laminated countertops, cabinets with ball bearing drawer guides, a stainless steel 50/50 deep-well sink with high-rise faucet, comfortable dinettes and a skylight with pleated shade complete the kitchen. Bedrooms offer a deluxe innerspring queen mattress with bedspread, and full-length shirt wardrobes, along with stereo speakers and cable TV hookup. Baths feature a vanity with large sink, medicine cabinet with mirror and foot-flush toilet, as well as an ABS tub/shower surround.
Optional equipment includes a residential hide-a-bed sleeper sofa, free-standing dinette with four chairs, deluxe power awning, a rear dinette in place of a lower bunk, aluminum rims and an air conditioner upgrade, as well as Premium Camping and Lightweight Luxury packages.
Shasta is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2011. For more information, call (574) 825-7178.