At £30,000-plus, the twin-axle Bessacarr Cameo 645 is right at the top of the mainstream caravan price spectrum. For buyers seeking a transverse-bed, twin-axle caravan with a mixture of techy extras and luxuriant looks, the Cameo 645 is worth a long look. With rooflights that close automatically at the onset of rain, an “eye” at the back so that you can manoeuvre into pitches by watching an image on your dashboard, and a sophisticated, yet modern fabric scheme, the 645 is a stunning creation.
Bessacarr caravans are special editions of the Swift Elegance range made by the Swift Group for Coupland Caravans in Lincolnshire. Among a long list of extra equipment that distinguishes Bessacarrs from Elegance models is a rear-view camera and rooflights that detect rain and close automatically.
The Bessacarr caravan brand has for half a century been synonymous with the best in caravans; a luxury finish and a high level of equipment. Bessacarr was launched in 1955, later becoming part of the Swift Group which established the brand as a high-specification tourer to which buyers aspired.
When Swift discontinued the Bessacarr range in 2008, Couplands Caravans seized the opportunity to continue the brand, as its own.
Bessacarrs are still made by the Swift Group, now to the exclusive specification of Lincolnshire retailer Coupland, at Louth and sister company Brayford Leisure in Lincoln.
They are based on the Swift Elegance range, which is built using Swift’s new Smart HT construction method. The floor and the walls are timberless; the floor is made of a five-layer sandwich with insulating Styrofoam at the core, clad with a rigid honeycomb matrix and covered in GRP with a woven glass structure that gives the floor an impervious finish.
The luxurious looks and high spec on which the Bessacarr name has gathered its solid following over many years continue for 2015; the prices of the seven caravans in the Bessacarr Cameo by Design range give a good indication of that.
Prices start at £24,989 for the £495 and rise to £30,450 for the 625 and 645; all are plus the normal retailer delivery fee of £545.
The Bessacarr range won the Best Dealer Special Caravan award in the 2015 Caravan Club Caravan Design Awards. The model which took the title is the two-berth, end shower room 495. The accolade, though, recognises the quality, high level of spec and exclusivity of the whole range.
We picked the twin-axle, transverse island-bed 645 for this review, principally because it’s a best-seller in the range.
Here’s how the added value works out: The package of extra equipment that turns the Swift Elegance 645 into a Cameo 645 amounts in value to £3400. The Elegance 645’s price is £28,125. The fully-loaded Cameo’s price is £2325 more than the Elegance. So Cameo purchasers get £1075-worth of equipment free of charge.
The extras include impressive high-tech items. There’s a rear view camera, neatly mounted close to the top of the back panel of the caravan, to aid reversing into a pitch. And there are two remote-control rain-sensing rooflights that closes automatically when it rains.
If you were to purchase the two rain-sensing rooflights that are fitted to the 645, separately on a standard caravan, it would cost you £2154. The rear view camera system, separately, would cost you £378.
Other extras include a safe, bolted to the floor, a second awning light, on the offside; an automatic gas cylinder change-over system and a Truma Water-Line connector for use on pitches equipped with a mains water supply.
The impressive list of equipment goes on, to include small items such as winter fridge vent covers, an additional oven shelf and lighting within exterior lockers.
The Cameo’s audio system allows you to channel the sound from your television through the caravan’s Blaupunkt radio/CD speaker system. There are speakers in the shower room, too; these can be faded up or down to suit requirements. There’s additional lighting in the washroom, plus a Roman-style blind in the bedroom, and a lovely quality touch in the form of two crystal wine glasses.
The bed cover set that you see in one of our images is an optional extra (quilt cover, two pillowcases and a crushed velvet throw) which can be purchased for £275. If you’re splashing out over £30,000 on a really special caravan, who wouldn’t spend a little extra to have the bed dressed in fabrics that match those in the lounge?
The Bessacarr range’s exclusive soft furnishings scheme (which accounts for £345 of the extra-value package) combines soft, velvety-feel, stain-resistant Impala fabric with cream leather inset panels and scatter cushions that have stripes of crushed velvet on plain cream. It’s a sophisticated, luxurious look that’s also very modern, teamed with the bright white of the kitchen furniture and the gloss finish of the woodgrain top lockers.
The 645 is the transverse bed model; the bed construction incorporates a mechanism than enables it to be shortened or lengthened, to create more corridor space on the way to the shower room, or a longer bed.
The kitchen surface gives you a size option, too; an extension hinges up to give you more space.
* Find out about our great Caravan magazine digital subscription offers by clicking here.
* New to caravanning and want a wealth of advice on buying, owning and enjoying your caravan? Order your digital copy of Your First Caravan here.