Above: Computer renderings of the Lance 975 – click to enlarge
TCM: Again, at first blush, the dinette, dry bath, and cabover bedroom look nearly identical to the same features on the 1172.
Gary: The 1172 and the 975 have the same dry bath. The full-wall slide-out in the 975 is basically the same from the 1172, but a little shorter.
The forward dry bath and the rear window in the slide-out really open up the camper. We also made sure the cabover was accessible when the slide-out is in. The additional five inches of floor length allowed us to add the pantry and drawers in the galley.
Above: The Lance Locker is on the rear of the camper – great for holding snow boards, fishing poles, and more
Randy: We designed the 975 slide-out shorter in length to create room for the rear storage compartment. The rear storage compartment is designed for storing of taller items like snow boards, fishing poles, as well as chairs, and more.
TCM: Can you get into the bathroom with the slide-out in?
Gary: No, you cannot access the bathroom when the slide-out is in. The cabover is accessible, but it’s not a straight walk-through. Once you get around the dinette, you can step in front of the refrigerator on the full-wall slide floor and reach the cabover.
TCM: After the first prototype was completed, were there any adjustments made before it was production ready?
Jack: As part of our product planning, we put a lot of eyes on the 975 floor plan as it was being developed. When the prototype was physically built, the camper had a whole new look.
I kept asking, “How can we get more room in the galley?” It turned out that there was a small space under the propane compartment and a small space on top of the propane compartment. I asked Randy if he could move the two small spaces together to create one larger space. He elevated the propane tanks and built an exterior storage compartment with the resulting space.
Above: An 12”x26”x22” exterior storage area is under the propane compartment
Afterwards I kept going to the design team, looking at the 975, and asking, “Where are the walls?” Well, they had to make new walls to accommodate my request. That’s what happens when you start making changes. It takes time to build the parts, and rebuild the camper.
I made some changes to the 975 fairly late in the design state. I know that made an impression on the design team. The next model they will work on they will pay even more attention about how the camper is laid out. They will learn from this experience and produce an even better design.
I often say to our design and production teams, “You may only be in there for half an hour, but the customer will be in there for many years. Take the time to move the plumbing back, look for more storage opportunities, and make sure those spaces are not violated by fixtures or plumbing”. It’s important to think of the end user, and how they will use our campers.
Gary: There were some cosmetic and storage changes, but the prototype was essentially right. We showed the 975 prototype at a Lance Owners of America event this past weekend and it was very well received.
The rear window in the slide really adds a lot. You can sit in the dinette and look outside instead of at a bare wall. We had a window like this in our slide-outs years ago, but we got rid of it in favor of bunks in the slide-outs.