Editor’s Note: The following article, authored by Bob Zagami for the September 2014 issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine, offers an inside look at the Holiday Rambler Ambassador Class. The magazine is published by Cincinnati-based Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA).
A few iconic RV brands have stood the test of time, survived the economic ups and downs, and weathered many storms through their corporate existence. One of those is Holiday Rambler. Founded as a trailer company in 1953 by Richard Klingler in Wakarusa, Indiana, Holiday Rambler has been connected to recognizable companies in its 61 years, among them Harley-Davidson, Monaco Coach Corporation, and Navistar International. In 2013 Allied Specialty Vehicles (ASV) purchased the Holiday Rambler brand, plus Monaco, Beaver, and Safari, from Navistar Inc.
ASV created Allied Recreation Group to focus on its RV brands, and manufacturing now takes place in Decatur, Indiana. Once again, Holiday Ramblers are rolling down the assembly line and on their way to dealers across the country.
Recently I had an opportunity to catch up with Gary McLain, regional sales manager for the Holiday Rambler brand, at the Boat N RV Warehouse in West Coxsackie, New York, for a sneak peek at the all-new 2015 Holiday Rambler Ambassador diesel pusher.
The first thing I noticed when I began to inspect the 2015 Ambassador was a feature that many experienced RVers seem to appreciate: a mid-coach entry door. I’m surprised that more companies don’t offer this item in their diesel-pusher motorhomes, so I was happy to see it included in the new Ambassador.
The Ambassador’s entry door features mechanisms at the top and bottom that prevent it from opening more than 90 degrees; this protects the door from potential damage caused by the curb-side slideout.
If I appear to be spending a great deal of time talking about a door, I have a valid reason. When a company has been building quality RVs such as Holiday Rambler for more than 60 years, it has a legacy that next-generation RVers may not be aware of. Holiday Rambler designed the aluminum framing that led to lighter, stronger, more durable RVs. It also was the first company to offer built-in refrigerators and holding tanks. When Holiday Rambler began building motorhomes, company designers incorporated creativity and functionality that improved the lifestyle dramatically, including tag axles and the very kitchen slideout that changed the way designers looked at the interiors of motorhomes. The Holiday Rambler name stands for creativity to many, and I predict that veteran RVers who own this brand will want to upgrade to the new generation of Holiday Rambler motorhomes — produced by a new company — which will display that “HR” symbol on the front and rear caps.
The coach rides down the highway on a Roadmaster B340 chassis, a bridge-style construction using the Freightliner XCS Series chassis. The “340” represents the horsepower of the Cummins ISB 6.7-liter diesel engine and will be reflected in each Roadmaster chassis for easy identification of the power plant. The engine offers 700 pound-feet torque at 1,600 rpm. It is matched with the road-proven, well-respected Allison 2500 MH six-speed transmission with an electric shifter.
While we are on the outside of this sharp-looking coach, let’s talk about two other features that you usually see on more expensive motorhomes. All of the Ambassador’s basement storage units have side-swinging doors and lighted, molded rotocast bay liners for easy access. While most motorhomes at this price point come with steel wheels, the Holiday Rambler lineup comes standard with 22.5-inch polished aluminum wheels. This upgrade contributes to a more expensive look for this competitively priced motorhome, which will carry a manufacturer’s suggested retail price starting at $206,000.
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