Fleetwood Caravans was founded in 1966 in Chadwell Heath, London before moving to Colchester in Essex, and then finally to Long Melford, Suffolk, in 1976.
In the early 1980s Fleetwood made caravans for rival manufurer Cavalier Caravans who were based in Felixstowe. Eventually though Cavalier became a Fleetwood range, sitting below the Colchester range.
In 1987 Fleetwood was bought by KABE of Sweden. Some Crystal models were made at Long Melford and sold in Sweden as the KABE Crystal. UK Crystal models were sold in the KABE ‘house’ colours of red and white at the same time as the Swedish models.
In 2003, KABE sold 50% of their shares in Fleetwood to Adria of Solvenia. The following year Adria bought the remaining 50% of the company, with Adria Concessionaires moving to Long Melford, where they remained until 2013 when they moved to Sudbury, Suffolk.
For 2005 the Fleetwood Sonata range was made in Slovenia, based on the Adria Adora range. Other models were still made in Long Melford though.
On 6th January 2009 however, accountants KPMG were appointed administrators for the company. David Standish, a KPMG accountant said efforts to save the company were ongoing. He said “Following careful consideration of all of the options available it became clear the Fleetwood Caravans Ltd had no alternative other than to be placed in administration”.
The closure of the Slovenian owned company, which had a turnover of £7 million a year was blamed on the recession and falling orders. Fleetwood used to produce 600 caravans a year at Long Melford.
It was rumored that Fleetwood caravans would be made in Slovenia by Adria, however that didn’t happen and it was the end of Fleetwood after over 40 years of trading.
Here is selection of Fleetwood caravans over the years.
Colchester De-Luxe 1300
KABE Crystal 560
Colchester Diadem 1500-2
Cavendish, 30th anniversary model
Countryside 500 EK
Heritage 600 EB
Vanlander SE 500-4
Sonata Concerto, made in Slovenia
Heritage 640 CB, Caravan Industry ‘Tourer of the Year’
Some innovative Fleetwood ideas.
Battery storage locker in A-frame
Unusual table storage locker
First UK caravan with a Heki 2 rooflight
Movable front chest
Movable front chest
Spinflo ‘Range’ cooker
Fold down double bed.
Later Fleetwood motto, ‘Libero Visitor’, Free Traveller.
© DB MMIXX