Challenger's birth like you were there

Interview with Jean-Paul FASSINOTTI, Trigano VDL's General Director, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Challenger

February 25, 1985, it's 10 a.m: In the prestigeous Pavillon Dauphine event, taking place in Paris, a very young team receives the French press and some distributors, mostly from GRUAU distribution network.

The moment is solemn : the aim is to launch a new motorhomes brand, called CHALLENGER, as a successor of GRUAU MOTORHOME.

As its name doesn't necessarily tell us, it's a French brand, manufactured in Tournon sur Rhône which is located in the Ardèche area.

Concerning the launching, the 1985 range includes 2 models only ! Both of them arrived at night and 3 members of the sales team worked very hard just to be ready in time.

The curtains finally opens and the guests can find out 2 cabover motorhomes (at this time, profiles are infrequents), CHALLENGER 340 and 350.



Challenger - 30 ans d'expériences

2 utlra-compact motorhomes, of 5.53m of long on the reference carrier of that time, the PEUGEOT J5  gas or diesel.

The car body is constructed in hammered aluminium sheeting, exterior colors are beige shaded with dark brown lower body frames and orange linings: a fashionable look… at the time !

Te only one magazine existing at the time "CAMPING CAR" (which will become" CAMPING-CAR MAGAZINE") will offer a flattering welcome to CHALLENGER since its birth and will even make of it its cover in May, 1985

In 1985, the camper van market is dedicated to a rather elitist customer and manufacturers ain't numerous.

CHALLENGER challenges the market: inventing a motorhome sophisticated at an affordable price : The 340 one, available from 133 000 francs (about 20 000€) will be the first step, the first step to eventually generalize the camper van.

30 years later, CHALLENGER became the french market leader and more than 50 000 camper van users fly our brand's colors beyond national borders.

30 years later, it is with its beginning intact values that CHALLENGER still innovates and constantly dream up the tomorrow motorhome, for all these passionates users, as proves us the latest limited edition of spring 2015:  GRAPHITE EDITION

Challenger - 30 ans d'expériences
Challenger - 30 ans d'expériences


Here is the front cover of CHALLENGER 1985 catolog. This photo has been taken only a few kilometers from Tournon sur Rhône's factory. The driver will actually reveal that this motorhome needed to be handled with great care because it was the first prototyp for the design studies...