EDITOR’S NOTE: The arrival of the Prevost era signaled the beginning of the end of Liberty’s “one-coach-at-a-time” approach to production. Reprinted here is the story of the company’s first standardized floorplan, the Fort Myers Edition, excerpted from the September 1981 cover article of Family Motor Coaching magazine.
Until recently, each of the floorplans used in Liberty’s coaches was identified only by the individual owners. The layouts showed a striking similarity, modified only to update equipment or change fabrics or colors, and everyone who approached the Konigseders asked for the floorplan they had seen in an earlier coach. Although the company was formed to custom-tailor each coach, the succession of similar layouts produced a stereotyped image of Liberty Coach as a single floorplan producer, an image which proved uncomfortable for the Konigseders.
Their solution was to break the mold with the Fort Myers edition, a dramatic departure in floorplan – and in attitude. As mentioned earlier, the only identification of a particular coach was by its owner; following the three months or so of intensive involvement with the coach, the staff at Liberty Coach knew which one it was. The Fort Myers coach, though, started a new concept for the company by being named for the FMCA convention site at which it was introduced. Designed as a showcase for the artistry and craftsmanship of the company, the Fort Myers was built specifically for display at the 1981 winter convention in Florida and for subsequent sale.
The Fort Myers features a rear bedroom with bookcases backed by mirrors and a queen-size bed that has become a Liberty Coach trademark. The mattress is designed and constructed to Liberty Coach specifications and consists of three densities of foam laminated together to provide the support of an innerspring mattress. It is also rounded at two corners to provide better clearance in walking around the bed.
One corner of the bedroom features a lighted vanity with dressing mirror and sink; the other corner includes some of the closets, cabinets and drawers of the coach’s extensive storage system. In the bath – which stretches almost the full width of the coach – a shower stall dominates one corner. A home-size vanity occupies the forward wall and a marine toilet is located between the vanity and shower. The entrance to the hallway leading to the front of the coach is at the extreme curbside of the unit, which marks one of the major changes from previous floorplans.
An L-shaped kitchen hooks around the convertible dinette and opens into the living area at the front of the coach. Designed to be aesthetically pleasing as well as highly practical, the kitchen features a number of luxury features, starting with a burn and scratch resistant Corian countertop with an oversized sink modeled into its surface. A ceramic cooking surface is at one end of the counter; at the other, behind concealing cabinetry, is a built-in can opener, toaster, paper towel holder and coffee service.
Over the stove is a space-saver microwave oven, with a conventional oven below. An unusual mirror treatment – custom-fitted for this coach – adorns the doors of the 10-cubic foot Norcold refrigerator. The drawers and cabinets in the kitchen also help point out the attention to detail and craftsmanship in Liberty coaches: each drawer and cabinet door is trimmed in bamboo – all vertical and horizontal lines are unwavering across the face of the cabinetry, and each knuckle in the bamboo is aligned with another.
Why such attention to detail? During its three-month gestation period, each coach acquires a personality all its own, thanks to the undivided attention of the Konigseders and their staff. There is a great deal of personal pride evident whenever Frank and Jeanne speak of the materials or workmanship or features of their coaches, or of the expertise and experience of their staff. They also own a Liberty Coach of their own and travel up to 25,000 miles per year, all while managing to operate both of their businesses and continue as active participants in FMCA.
Roughly 2,000 years ago the Roman philosopher Seneca first observed that “it is quality rather than quantity that matters.” The only question that remains unanswered about his truism is how he managed to see a Liberty Coach so far in the past.