Les: Not building over the rails impacts our design in the bathroom area somewhat, and our dinette sits up of the floor twelve inches, but our camper does sit much lower on the truck by eight to twelve inches.
TCM: We will wait until the camper is completed before diving further into this new model. When can we expect the 1172 to debut at Lance dealers and RV shows across the country?
Les: It will probably be ready in early September. We have finished the cabinets and plumbing and the walls are being built. We’ll have the walls on the prototype in the next week or so. Then we need to fine tune anything interior wise.
The prototype will probably be finished in late July. Then we’ll build a production prototype and run it down the production line to work out any production details. Then they’ll do a mini run of four campers, followed by the orders that have been taken. We have dealers that are already have ordered the 1172.
2013 LANCE CHANGES
TCM: Let’s move on to the Lance changes for 2013. Are there any Lance models that are being dropped for 2013?
Les: The dropped models for 2013 are the Lance 830, Lance 950, and Lance 1050. These models were a very small percentage of our total builds for last year.
The Lance 830 was a different unit with very unique parts. For example, we were ordering one hundred curved bath doors at a time. These types of unique items are expensive and not practical to do. The 830 was based off the campers they build in Europe. The biggest issue with that camper is that it didn’t have onboard generator capability, which took a lot of people out of that particular unit. It was also more expensive because we put the European windows and interior hardware.
With the 950 and 1050, once we had the slide-out versions, the slide-out versions dominated. The 1050 was basically an East Coast camper. At the end of the model year we review how the models did and we’ll drop units that did not perform well. Then, we will develop something new to replace it.
Above: This 2013 Lance 950S with Rainforest interior is currently at Arizona Campers and Trailers in Phoenix, AZ.
TCM: The one 2013 change at Lance that’s likely to catch everyone’s eye is the new one-piece molded front nose cap. Front nose caps have been available from Lance’s competitors for over a decade. What finally led Lance to decide to make a front nose cap for its truck campers?
Les: The team has really wanted to do a front nose cap, especially Jack Cole, Lance Camper’s President. We started looking at nose caps about four years ago. When the market slowed up in 2008, we had to move our focus to travel trailers. Nose caps got moved to the back burner.
There were lots of opinions here at Lance about what a front nose cap should look like. A couple of times this conversation pushed us past our drop dead date for changes, so it got pushed back again to the following year.
TCM: Tell us about the design and development of the front nose cap; especially its material and shape.
Les: We mocked up the front nose in foam to come up with the conceptual design. Then we modeled it in SolidWorks and made revisions. Following that process, we presented three concepts to our Product Group and they decided on the one we currently have for 2013.
TCM: Is it truly aerodynamic?
Les: We put an aerodynamic air dam on the bottom of the nose cap. It has the effect of deflecting air downward and helps to keep bugs off the front camper wall. The front nose cap also features a radius around the outside edge and a bubble in the middle to help move the air outward. Anything that’s curved is going to be more aerodynamic than something that’s flat.
TCM: What material is the front nose cap made of?
Les: It is made out of high impact scratch resistant high gloss TPO, or thermoplastic polyolefin. It’s the same material that car bumpers are being made out of. It’s a different kind of TPO than the TPO used on our roofs. It is also much lighter than fiberglass and does not crack in different climates.
Above: This 2013 Lance 992 with Rainforest interior is currently at Princess Craft Campers in Round Rock, TX.