Arizona | Lot 214
1951 Spartan Royal Mansion
The Torque Collection
$351,500 USD | Sold
| Phoenix, Arizona
18 January 2019
- Offered from the Torque Collection
- Rare and highly desirable vintage travel trailer
- Aircraft-style construction; the “Cadillac” of the industry
- Modern fixtures and top-grade materials
- Fully restored by master craftsmen
After the Second World War, Americans just wanted to get away from it all, and the recreational trailer industry, which was born in the 1920s, really took off. Numerous manufacturers offered towable products ranging from tiny “teardrop” camping trailers to large “road homes” that could comfortably sleep the whole family on extended vacation trips. While today the name Spartan is unfamiliar to most, in the late 1940s and through the 1950s its products were widely acknowledged to be the best-built and most lavishly equipped on the market.
The Spartan Trailer Company was launched in 1945 by wealthy industrialist J. Paul Getty, who had acquired its predecessor, Spartan Aircraft, 10 years earlier. Spartan Aircraft built a high-quality, all-metal, multi-seat twin-engined “Executive” model in the 1930s. These monocoque-construction airplanes were framed and skinned in riveted aluminum, making them both light and very strong. With the end of the conflict and facing greater competition from other private aircraft makers, Getty searched for new markets where those advanced manufacturing techniques could be applied. He converted the Spartan Aircraft factory in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to build high-end travel trailers for wealthy clients. Under the new name of Spartan Manor, the company launched its first product, the Royal Mansion, in 1948. It soon earned a reputation as the “Cadillac” of the industry, and its price tag – often as much as the cost of a small conventional house – reflected the quality of its materials and construction.
Offered is a fully restored, top-of-the-line dual-axle 1951 Spartan Royal Mansion. Its original retail base price was in excess of $4,700. This completely restored example had no detail spared, down to the embroidered pillow cases, and accompanied lawn furniture. Even its original mid-century interior furnishings were restored to their original glory. This one, as were all Spartans, is built of aircraft-grade aluminum on steel rails. Restoration was completed by master craftsmen in the Madison, Wisconsin, area with top-quality materials, and it is truly “a home away from home.” The suspension features an Air-lift Gen IV system with remote control, and there are level-sensors. Braking is by electro-magnetic drums on all four wheels, which are shod with 25/75-R15 Goodyear tires on steel wheels.
The insulated and undercoated “fuselage” is smooth and highly polished. The roomy interior features cork floors, beechwood and black walnut paneling, and top-grade upholstery materials. The kitchenette and bathroom have Corian countertops and fixtures by Grohe and Kohler. The shower has a Corian floor and acrylic walls. There are twin 60-gallon fresh-water tanks, a 30-gallon quick-recovery water heater, and a pair of 30-gallon grey-water and black-water holding tanks. It is fitted with a Miele propane stove, Domestic refrigerator, and a pair of Suburban heaters powered by a pair of 30-lb. LP tanks. The Miele microwave oven, air conditioning, and other small appliances are fed by a 30-amp/110-volt electrical system, and there is a 3,600-watt Onon generator with remote start. The entertainment system consists of a Bose Cinemate, Sony Blu-Ray DVD player, Toshiba LED flat-screen TV, and an iPod dock. There are three remote-control Fan-Tastic ceiling ventilators, sliding and wind-out side windows and a roll-down bedroom window, folding steps for both porthole-equipped doors, and a Zip-Dee 22-ft. fold-out awning.
Supplied with extensive documentation, this magnificent and rare Spartan Royal Mansion is ready for one’s next cross-country adventure . . . in exceptional style.