I have a weakness for vintage campers. My jam is over Variety of U-Haul fiberglass trailers, but that didn’t stop a trailer on Bring a Trailer from stopping me dead. This 1953 Spartan Royal Spartanette has the jaw to the ground with its curves and shiny polished aluminum. And as of now, this is actually one of the more affordable Bring A Trailer auctions.
The magnificent sprawling trailer Across your screen is the product of Spartan Aircraft Company of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Spartan was founded in 1928 after, according to Resource Spartan Trailer, William G Skelly used his 1920s oil fortune to fund his aviation interests. The company started with an aeronautic school and built biplanes.
The airline appeared on oil mogul Jean Paul Getty’s radar, and he acquired both the oil company from Skelly and Spartan. Getty is perhaps best known today for refusal to pay the ransom of her kidnapped grandson before paying only what was tax deductible, or Getty Images of her son.
Spartan built innovative planes until the late 1930s and World War II, when its factory expanded to support the war effort. But when the war ended, Getty decided to take Spartan in a new direction to build something with even more appeal to the masses than airplanes. Engineers were already working on a car and a motorhome. The company went ahead with motorhomes because the cost of retooling to build cars was too high.
Spartan’s trailers used a design similar to that of its planes, using a semi-unibody construction where the hull is a stressed member that used spars for support. His main piece was a modern design for the time.
By the time this Spartan Royal Spartanette was made, the company had a bunch of trailer lines. Some were more towable than others, with lengths up to 57 feet and widths up to 10 feet. The Spartanette was at the most towable end measuring 35 feet. It also featured a curvy design. This one reportedly spent his life in Vermont, and the salesman had him two years ago before he did a ton of work for him, from BaT:
Subsequent work would have included the replacement of the water heater and water pipes, toilets, faucets, floors, wheels and tires.
The seller says they spent 200 hours polishing the riveted aluminum shell to give it the shine you see here.
You get all the amenities of a period home, including comfortable beds and a full kitchen.
Spartan was determined to make these houses on wheels, literally, Remarks the Stressless Camping blog, and it shows here. Much of the trailer appears to be original, but some elements have been added like period lighting, furniture, and curtains.
Now you all know that I gladly ignore red flags; that’s why my fleet is full of maintenance nightmares.
But it’s hard to ignore a few statements in the ad. He notes that the exterior lighting has not been tested and that the condition of the hubs and axles is unknown. The salesperson invested 200 hours in the varnish but couldn’t find the time to turn on a switch? It’s a similar story with the untested oven. It doesn’t take long to find out if it works.
The frame is noted to be strong and the hitch has been reinforced due to rust, but it is not known exactly how much rust remains. Two windows do not open either. The seller also doesn’t say how much he weighs, but the Spartan trailer suggests he weighs 6,960 pounds.
Still, while it does need a bit of axle work, this thing is a work of art you won’t often see on the road. These were around $ 5,274 ($ 54,387 today) at a time when $ 8,000 ($ 82,499 today) got you an entire house. It is $ 10,500 on Bring a Trailer with three days to go.