Bowlus christens new yacht-like travel trailer – Are you ready to buy?

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By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Cross a travel trailer with a yacht, and the outcome is? By the reckoning of the Bowlus Road Chief promoters, it’s their Endless Highways Wave Bespoke edition.


In case you Rip Van Winkled in the 1930s and just woke up today, we’ll bring you up to speed. You may remember William Hawley Bowlus as a designer, aerospace engineer, and the builder of the flying bird, Spirit of St. Louis. In the mid-1930s, Bowlus, with his engineering background and a thing for beauty, fashioned what may be considered the classic teardrop travel trailer. For the few short years he built them, Bowlus turned out some 80 of these things of beauty but, alas, only about half of the originals survive down to this day.

Bowlus Road ChiefBut speed forward, Rip. While you were snoozing, back in 2013, Bowlus manufacturing was revived. Still a thing of beauty, Bowlus Road Chiefs have added a lot of modern technology. But production is limited, and prices high. Nevertheless, they practically fly out the doors of their Oxnard, California, design and manufacturing – strike that – creation facility.

A few days ago the company released a new model, available for pre-purchase: their latest creation. We’ll spare you the hyped-up superlatives the company included in their press release, and try and hold it down to the facts.

Imagine, if you will, a streamlined, 26-foot yacht-on-wheels. Like all high-class yachts, the Wave Bespoke has plenty of wood in her cabin – walnut and birch. But don’t focus on those woody-colors. Keeping the nautical motif in mind, imagine “Marina Del Rey Blue and Main Sail White,” colors contrasting with the woods. OK – we’re trying to cut the superlatives. The upholstery material isn’t leather, it’s not vinyl; oh no, rather it’s “organic, vegan material” – whatever that means.

Accenting the “go out to sea in your RV” idea, the company has provided customers with fancy weather instruments, ones like you might have spotted in boats designed to go to sea. And a log book. Well, you won’t need to get out your sextant and figure your location, it’s simply mounted on a wall where you can scribe your travel tales. Of course, the cover is inscribed with the Bolus Chief logo. Should you tire out, simply step into the sleeping area and lay thyself down between the Oyster and Bastion Blue linen blankets.

Of course, every good captain must be concerned with the nitty-gritty of the trip. Should you be a boondocker (is that an appropriate term for the sheik-camping class?), optional solar panels pump electricity to your vessel’s 4-KW lithium-ion-phosphate batteries, which in turn, can power those necessary “shore power” appliances via a 2,000-watt inverter. When “in port,” with shore power availability, an 80-amp-hour fast charger will bring those depleted batteries back up to charge. All of this is controlled by Bluetooth.

And outside, what would a Road Chief be without the classic shiny aluminum sides and aerodynamic tail? All there, but with an oddity: The wheels, although aluminum, do not match the sleek body lines of the Wave Bespoke. To give the appearance of your new rig “floating” above the roadway, those wheels are black.

Are you ready to order your own? Sorry! You’ll have to wait for the “pre-loved” market to offer you one. Bowlus says the pre-order for this limited edition of classic trailers sold out just days after the offer opened. At a mere $225,000 starting price, whyever not?

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Scott Gitlin

Bespoke – a word that seems to have popped up out of nowhere. Meaning? You will pay more . . . much more.