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Motorhome chassis supplier Spartan Motors Inc. will introduce a redesigned version of its midengine Me2 chassis at the RV industry’s National Trade Show in Louisville Dec. 3-5, Spartan CEO John Sztykiel announced today (Oct. 17).
Spartan first introduced the Me2, which has the diesel engine located at the middle of the chassis, at the Louisville show at the end of 2000. But since then Spartan has redesigned the frames so the chassis will be easier for the engineering departments of motorhome OEMs to use, Sztykiel believes.
Spartan is working with an ad agency about possibly renaming the midengine chassis, he said.
One motorhome builder will exhibit a coach at Louisville built on Spartan’s redesigned midengine chassis. Sztykiel said he is not free to reveal the name of the manufacturer.
Additionally, the Me2 chassis-mounted Desert Fox motorhome, built by the now-defunct MHC Group Inc., also will be available as a “ride and drive demo coach” at the Louisville show, Sztykiel said.
MHC, which had its factory in Southern California, shut down in the summer of 2001, when the motorhome sector was in a slump.
Midengine-mounted chassis are used on a number of fire trucks, including some of those built by Spartan.
The attractiveness of a midengine chassis over a conventional rear-mounted “diesel pusher” chassis is that a midengine design allows for the storage of large items such as a motorcycle, kayak, all-terrain vehicle, or even a small automobile, in the rear “garage” compartment, according to Sztykiel.
Certain European motorhome manufacturers also use Volvo midengine chassis to offer the rear garage compartment floorplan.
The midengine configuration improves the weight distribution so the motorhome will handle better, he said.
Sztykiel said he was not disappointed that Spartan’s midengine motorhome chassis did not become popular immediately. He cited the slideout for comparison. It was first introduced in 1990, but did not become popular until 1995, so, Sztykiel said, it is clear that sometimes it takes years before an innovation is accepted.
Indeed, Sztykiel believes midengine chassis could have as big an impact on the motorhome sector as the slideout has had on the RV industry in general.