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Old 09-07-2006, 07:35 PM   #1
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After a frustrating couple of months looking at vintage Airstreams, which are either over priced or utterly trashed, the wife and are leaning towards a Spartan. There appears to be quite a few available and they're large enough to scare off the timid -- anyone out there have any experience with them?
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Old 09-07-2006, 07:49 PM   #2
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Don't overlook those little vintage Shastas, with the wings if you are looking for small and vintage! As for more recent makes, I think the Casita is a terrific little trailer. We've seen several 30'+ Spartans on trips in Wyoming and Montana-they look impressive to us. Good luck in your search. ~G
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxandgeorgia
Don't overlook those little vintage Shastas, with the wings if you are looking for small and vintage! ~G
Canned hams. Have seen a few restored - magnificent.
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Old 09-07-2006, 09:24 PM   #4
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Actually we are looking for something larger, 26-30+ feet, and my wife is stuck on the 50's era trailers. She has certainly locked me into a fairly small grouping on airstreams, but the Spartans are appealing to her, at least on the web, with a greater sense of openness and room.
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Old 09-08-2006, 05:03 AM   #5
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asta2,

Here is a link to the best Spartan website I have found. There is also a place in Lima, Ohio that sells a lot of different vintage trailers, but I can't find the link There is a Spartan in a salvage yard near my house, but my wife would kill me if I even stopped to look at it

Edit: Here is the link to Vintage Campers

Aaron
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Old 09-08-2006, 05:49 AM   #6
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Asta,
When dealing with Airstreams, a long term picture is sometimes easier to swallow. The fact that after your purchase, IF you make any and all changes quality work, then you have a 99% chance of making money instead of loosing any; parts are fairly easy to come by, but the most important is that you have the Airstream that, deep in your heart, you really want. That's akin to marrying someone on the rebound instead of the one you really want
If it is still there, I saw a very good looking Avion on EBAY earlier this week. If you've elected to go to a back up, I personally think Avion is the bestter choice.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1987-...25891284QQrdZ1

I could not locate the 30' I saw earlier this week. It probably sold already.
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Old 09-08-2006, 06:05 AM   #7
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Another one

Here's another; it appears to be a classic. Notice, the floor plans on each are almost like an Airstream.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1958-...spagenameZWDVW
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Old 09-08-2006, 06:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wahoonc
asta2,

Here is a link to the best Spartan website I have found. There is also a place in Lima, Ohio that sells a lot of different vintage trailers, but I can't find the link There is a Spartan in a salvage yard near my house, but my wife would kill me if I even stopped to look at it

Edit: Here is the link to Vintage Campers

Aaron
Aaron, wife found both of those sites over the last week, you're right they are good, but I've not actually seen one in person, so I'm unsure whether I'm evaluating the sizes well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steelbird312
Asta,
When dealing with Airstreams, a long term picture is sometimes easier to swallow. The fact that after your purchase, IF you make any and all changes quality work, then you have a 99% chance of making money instead of loosing any; parts are fairly easy to come by, but the most important is that you have the Airstream that, deep in your heart, you really want. That's akin to marrying someone on the rebound instead of the one you really want
If it is still there, I saw a very good looking Avion on EBAY earlier this week. If you've elected to go to a back up, I personally think Avion is the bestter choice.
Steel, We're actually not overly concerned with resale value, because we intend to do a complete refit to make it a keeper. My biggest concerns are; 1) not getting so small that we out grow it, 2) finding one my wife likes. She was really in love with the OL in Carrolton, GA (we drove out and looked at it last Fri) that you and I were both bidding on , but it just went too high for the work it needed. I've had her look at newer AS, but she wants 13 panels...

She started on the Spartans after we watched The Long, Long Trailer last weekend, and I have to admit they appear to have a lot of potential -- the hunt continues...

Sean
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Old 09-08-2006, 07:56 AM   #9
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13 panels and length is a hard combination to come up with. Overlanders of that era are rare. It will require a new floor and frame repair unless it has already been done and done well. Then you add in being in good shape and inexpensive. You will not find this on ebay as the demand would push the price. Do you want to wait 2-3 years before you can use it or are you willing to use it in disrepair and systems not working or breaking down.
You are more likly to find an Avion. You don't save money rehabing a trailer. The only people who make money on redoing an Airstream are the people you pay to do the work. Forget resale. Anyone who has been down this road knows you get less than you put into it financially.
Like any romantic relationship they are high maintance relationships.
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Old 09-08-2006, 05:20 PM   #10
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Over59,

My guide has been http://vintageairstream.com/rr_topic...ition.html#SSS and I'll use my most recent experience as an example. The '56 Overlander on eBay that both steelbird and I were bidding on, I was able to physically inspect, as it was about 40 miles from here. It was better than what I expected as it had not been used in several years, but still needed framework, a new floor and lots of TLC. In my mind that put it somewhere between "As Found" and "Average". So being generous and putting it at the low end of Average its value is around $3500 -- it sold for $5100.

I expect to replace the frame and floor on what ever I buy, but don't think I should pay $5K+ for something that will require that level of work -- am I being unreasonable?

As I said before, I want a keeper and do not care about resale.
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Old 09-08-2006, 05:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by asta2
Over59,
So being generous and putting it at the low end of Average its value is around $3500 -- it sold for $5100.

I expect to replace the frame and floor on what ever I buy, but don't think I should pay $5K+ for something that will require that level of work -- am I being unreasonable?

As I said before, I want a keeper and do not care about resale.
No, you are not being unreasonable. However, if you do a complete refit, that particular $1600 extra will be a trivial factor in the overall completed price.

Mark
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Old 09-08-2006, 06:06 PM   #12
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Sean,

I have always thought of the Spartans as a trailer that was designed for limited travel. Even the shorter ones seem tall and bulky, with barn like aerodynamics. Now, don't get me wrong, I do think they are absolutely beautiful, and as cool as it gets.
My neighbor at work has a Spartanette in "as found" condition that has me drooling every time I see it. ( MEL trailers) The cool and 50's factor is almost over the top....
But for real life towing and camping, I'd take an Airstream hands down. My 63 is such a good pal, so easy to handle and tow, that I can't imagine it getting any better. Tandem Axles, 26ft, near perfect body lines, makes for something for everybody to oogle at. I am referring to the matching panels/window sheets when I refer to the body lines. It is a joy to own and tow, and even better to stay in while out of town on business or camping. ( I have done both for extended time.)
I guess what I am getting at is that if you're planning on going places, the Airstream or Avion etc, is hard to beat. The Spartan has definitely more charm and ambiance, no question. But Airstreams will satisfy in the long run for those that like to travel. Hence - travel trailer.
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Old 09-08-2006, 06:14 PM   #13
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Money

We paid little for the trailer, I believe something like $ 1500.00. It was a mess. My thread "a 63 for me..." documents the changes.
It cost me total about $ 2000.00 to get it home from Seattle.
The purchase price is actually of little consequence, if you plan on doing the restoration "right". That's what I found out.
I am fortunate that I can do many things, like welding and wood work, myself. But still, restoring a trailer even somewhat nice, is a money pit that beats the band.
Having said that, paying $ 5k for a wreck is not such a good thing either, but don't let a grand up or down keep you from getting the exact trailer you want.
remember that they are getting rarer by the day! However, take your time and hold out for what you really want. It's worth it - I can attest to that.
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Old 09-08-2006, 07:09 PM   #14
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Uwe,

You've hit on exactly what I'm worried about - the areodynamics and "travelability" of the Spartans.

I've been thru most all of the thread on your '63, found it very valuable (but also very long) and will probably be reaching back to it as I start my own project. I also am not afraid of the work involved, but don't have the luxury of your warehouse for the off-frame restoration. Right now I'm thinking that once I have a trailer, I'll have a frame made, put a floor on it, and then shift the shell over.

If I could find a 26'-30' AS with 2 axles (I see a single axle as a nightmare in the making) and a straight skin, I'd be very pleased. However, I'm seeing trailers (at premium prices) that have had the interior restored and skins polished, which are sitting on rotten floors and questionable frames. It's like buying a beautiful home knowing it has termites, a timebomb.

I guess I'm just frustrated and in need of another infusion of patience...sigh

thanks,
Sean
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