For manufacturers, Open House is the prime time to introduce new model years. But for Black Series, the design process is iterative and continuous.
“From one trailer to the next, we’ll look at improvements,” said Jeff Willard, a Los Angeles-based sales representative for Black Series. He clarified how the improvement to, say, the shower door or a rivet won’t take a full year to make. There is one model and it’s constantly renovated based on customer input. “Little things here and there, but we don’t really have a version No. 1 or No. 2. We listen to our customers as best we can, and we do it a lot when we have an issue.”
The Australian manufacturer launched in the U.S. about 12 years ago with its flagship travel trailer, the HQ19. The unit offers an overall luxurious and rugged experience. From the diamond plated exterior and surrounding rock guard bar built into the chassis (for overlanding) to the stylish, high-grade marine leather seats, the HQ19 encompasses the appeal of Black Series.
One of the changes coming to its production line borrows from the company’s smaller HQ15 model, utilizing a wrap-around, accordion-style bathroom door instead of a folding door. Another change the manufacturer that’ll be incorporated soon is a connected gray and black tank hose. Originally, the Black Series was designed for the Australian Outback, so finding an area for dumping gray water was easier.
“Not everyone is going into an environment where they can do that, right?” said Willard.
So, to win over an American market where RVers go off grid and stay in RV parks, combining the two into one hose spoke to more customers.
To those unfamiliar, the HQ19 is something of a marvel. For one, instead of fuses, Black Series uses breakers should any appliances rattle offline. Displayed on a very tactile control panel, the push-button breakers blend nicely with the digital displays for all water tank levels. Additionally, the independent suspension is load-tested at 40,000 pounds per control arm with all-terrain tires and wheels that have a powder-coated finish. Paired with a 2,000-watt, pure sine wave inverter; solar panels that deliver 300 watts in total; and a slide-out kitchenette in addition to the interior kitchen, and it becomes very apparent how a fully loaded trailer manufactured in Australia feels.
“The whole idea of camping is to be outside,” Jim Buck, a Black Series sales rep. “That’s why, in some cases, people are not particularly happy with us because they ask, ‘Where’s the couch? Where do I sit when I want to hang out?’ And they get mad. They want us to turn this bed into a Murphy bed.”
But Black Series manages that balancing act between luxury and ruggedness, equipping things like a porcelain vanity you’d find at Lowe’s, as well as a one-piece, galvanized chassis meant to handle the roughest terrain.