Franklin Iconic: Review
A bit of the old with the best of the new mix perfectly in the revamped Franklin Iconic.
When Concept Caravans decided to build a contemporary version of the iconic Franklin Caravan, they fittingly decided to call it the Franklin Iconic. The Franklin’s original rounded shape was copied faithfully and has been done so well that it triggered a flashback to my family camping holidays in the 1970s when I first saw it at the Brisbane show.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
Underpinning the Iconic is a G&S DuraGal chassis with 75x50mm (3x2in) rails. This might be surprising to some vanners used to the larger 150x50mm (6x2in) chassis that are so common these days, but that’s the way the caravan industry used to build them, folks. The chassis is constructed in the familiar box-section style, with the drawbar rails running back to the front suspension mounts. The suspension has stayed true to form with a simple leaf spring setup and the single water tank is mounted behind the axle.
The drawbar hosts the usual items – ball coupling, handbrake, jockey wheel and a 9kg gas cylinder, as well as a spare wheel mounted at a 45° angle. The spare wheel is certainly not something that the manufacturers of yesteryear provided. I vividly remember visiting a car wrecking yard in order to obtain a spare for our family Viscount.
One other item of interest is the brakes. While there’s nothing out of the ordinary on the Iconic, which has standard electric brakes, older readers may remember the mechanical or, in the case of this old Franklin, hydraulic, brakes that worked purely on mechanical forces to operate when braking. An additional feature was the little lever that had to be moved across when reversing so the mechanical/hydraulic brake did not operate.
Aluminium remains the cladding of choice for the Iconic, although it is nicely finished in silver with black decals – a bit different to the earlier model with the time-honoured white ribbed cladding. The windows have changed a bit – the originals were an aluminium frame with glass, while the new-gen Franklin has bubble-style tinted acrylics with black frames. Long gone is the simple aluminium door with a window, instead, the Iconic comes with a Camec security door.
It’s interesting to note that the old Franklin has no external bin storage – its rounded shape didn’t allow for a front boot. However, the Iconic comes with a front nearside bin and a rear offside bin. Neither is particularly large, but they’re certainly better than nothing.
The simple cafe-style dinette with a table that can be folded down has been retained in the Iconic. The difference between old and new lies in the fit and finish. The Iconic’s seat backs and cushions are nicely contoured to give a more comfortable seat and the table has a chamfered corner on the kitchen side to make things a bit easier.
HITS & MISSES
- Great to see what happens when an older caravan is re-imagined
- Lightweight van for towing
- Good ‘weekender’ caravan
- Easy to set up
- 12V lighting
- External bins on new model
- Generous windows
- No splash panels at ends of kitchen bench
- Small external bins
- Conventional awning won’t fit
FRANKLIN ICONIC SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 5.08m (16ft 8in)
- External body length 3.86m (12ft 8in)
- External body width 2.13m (7ft)
- Travel height 2.46m (8ft 1in)
- Internal height 1.89-1.77m
- (6ft 3in-5ft 10in)
- Tare 1027kg
- ATM 1327kg
- Ball weight 154kg
- Frame Timber
- Cladding Aluminium
- Chassis DuraGal 75x50mm (3x2in)
- Suspension Single-axle leaf spring
- Brakes 10in electric
- Wheels 14in alloy
- Water 60L
- Battery 100Ah
- Solar No
- Air-conditioner Truma Saphir
- Gas 1x9kg
- Sway control No
- Cooking Thetford three-burner
- Fridge Dometic RM 2356 90L
- Microwave LG
- Toilet No
- Shower No
- Lighting 12V
- Hot water No
Price as shown
- $36,490 (on-road, Qld)
The full test appears in Caravan World #542 October 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!