While going through the many brochures in my mail box in the press room one of the enclosures was an invitation to attend a new product unveiling at the Spartan Chassis Inc. display. I was thinking this has got to be something special so I put it in my mind to attend the event scheduled for 2:00pm. While walking around the hall my path took me right past the Spartan display. Located in the center of the floor was a chassis with a huge black drape over it that was illuminated by overhead spot lights.
My mind immediately put 2 and 2 together in guessing that this wasn’t going to be just a new chassis but something a little different. Chassis alone don’t get to be 9 feet tall. I walked away for the moment to attend other appointments.
Slightly before 2:00pm I went over to the Spartan display and began my walk around. Curious is that the entire chassis wasn’t covered, just the front of vehicle. Simply guessing that the front of the vehicle was going to be the big focal point of the announcement was an understatement. The crowd of people began filing in and taking up all the seating room that was there and a crowd of people some 4 or five rows deep gathered on each side of the vehicle.
By the time the floor space became crowded, I had walked out to the front of the display. I saw Dan Snyder from Ford and we began to converse about what this thing could be. The next thing you know the unveiling was over and I didn’t even see it. I turned and there it was and no sooner did I see the vehicle smoke was coming up from under the nose. I thought for sure there would have been some type of fanfare or production made of this event after all you don’t roll out a New Class of RV chassis everyday but no. Before I could blink an eye it was over and smoke was coming out from under the nose of the rig. So – Not only did I miss the unveiling and I was standing right there, but now I’m getting the impression that the thing is on fire! Oh well maybe the next “unveiling” will be a little more exciting but here’s what this New Class is all about.
In Spartan’s research they have concluded the following keywords in their announcement, crossover, smaller, green, multi-function, visually attractive, electronics, Internet, time management /ease of acquisition and the “Wow” factor in regard to performance.
In 2009 Class A and C shipments were almost one to one, apparently a consumer market shift. This being a fact, Spartan decided to capitalize on the opportunity with the New Class.
Spartan actually has given this chassis the designation of NGP or Next Generation Platform. What the benefit of this new chassis to the industry is that it enables an OEM to enter the motorized segment or a particular niche with speed and flexibility at a reduced investment of time and money. Why is this so? Because the “automotive” part of the vehicle is complete and all the OEM needs to do is integrate their coach body to the B pillar and floor. What we’ve seen all a long is that RV manufacturers have been able to utilize to their advantage van cutaway chassis combination products which reduced the cost making the vehicle integration to the coach body so much easier. The NGP is expected to provide a chassis product for the Class A market by using the practicality enjoyed for so many years by using the key component of the Class C market, the cutaway chassis principal.
The NGP is an RDP configuration that features the Cummins 6.7L Electronic Turbocharged diesel engine with a diesel particulate filter. The engine produces 340HP at 2400 RPM and 660 lbs/ft of torque at 1600 RPM. The engine is mated to an Allison generation IV 2500MH 6 Speed. The Hendrickson designed rear suspension features the use air bags, Bilstein shock absorbers with a leveling feature. The front suspension is a Tuthill designed unit with IFS, Bilstein shocks and a leveling feature. The vehicle comes equipped with Air Brakes.
The engine has a 170 Amp, Leece-Neville alternator and 2 Group 31 – 950 CCA batteries provide the starting power. The cooling system is filled with extended life coolant. The NGP has a 100 gallon fuel tank transversely mounted with dual fill capabilities. The final drive ration is 4.88 with its focus on economy.
Michelin XZA2 tires are used all around however the fronts are 275/70R 22.5 and the rears are 295/60R 22.5s. Rotating tires on the NGP isn’t going to be practical due to the dissimilar tire sizes. The cut angle is 55° and the wheelbase is 204 inches. The GAWRF is 12,000 lbs and the GAWRR is 16,000 lbs. The GVW was not stated however one cannot simply add the ratings together to arrive at a GVW of 28,000 lbs. since those numbers may not reflect what the actual GVW is. I can only surmise that 28,000 lbs. might be the GVW. With that number in mind, getting a 204” wheelbase vehicle to weigh that much would be something. The GCWR is listed at 33,000 lbs.
The vehicle is delivered with seats, all instruments, console controls, cup holders, power windows heating and AC units, adjustable pedals, dome lights and courtesy lights. This vehicle was specifically designed for the RV market however it would appear that Spartan can configure the NGP for practically any configuration.
For more information see the website at: Spartan Chassis Inc.