The thought of giving the Spartan a new “home” is comforting to my wife and I. She (the trailer) has been a work of love. A project that started around “circle the wagons concept” but ended as ART.
Here is her background:
1. I acquired her about 16 yrs. ago from a retired couple.
2. They had her parked in a trailer court in Apache Junction for over 15 yrs. They lived in Durango CO and wintered in AZ.
3. They in turn had bought the trailer in that same court from another couple w/ similar living arrangements who had owned her for about the same time.
So, she has “lived” approx. 45 yrs in rust-free AZ, had 3 owners and been moved once; Her first decade is not known.
She was nearly “stock”, had some of the original future; the kitchen and bathroom were “showroom.”
The original floor plan was a 2 bedroom. As a bachelor at this time I had no use for a second bedroom, and the kitchen, though large, was poorly laid out (2 full-sized original ovens). And as usual there was water damage under the shower.
Soooooooo, I decided to have the old girl gutted and start over.
1st step carefully remove all cabinets, closets and the entire bathroom.
Next, the floor was completely removed down to the C-channel frame. On top of this was installed 1″ marine grade ply wood with a 2nd layer running perpendicular. This second layer was glued & screwed to the first then sanded to produce a flat surface to lay period correct linoleum. It was difficult to obtain, special ordered from a 50’s restoration supplier and pricey.
Next came the floor plan:
I only needed 1 bedroom, wanted more closet space and a larger bathroom.
The bedroom now has a full sized bed at present and will accommodate a queen.
Some of the original kitchen cabinets were moved into the original 2nd bedroom to create a dressing room w/ much needed closet space.
And last but far from least the bathroom was enlarged to except a full-sized shower w/ sliding glass doors.
The original toilet was a neat porcelain job, but replacement parts were not available, so I decided to have a marine toilet installed which is extremely water efficient. The rest of the bathroom is as original (and working) as possible; one other change is the chroming of the exhaust vent to match the original radiant space heater.
I like to cook and knew I needed more counter space so I had an additional, curved counter built. I had both the counters and the area around the stove tiled. Plate glass mirrors and halogen lighting were also installed to give the area a more grand appearance and a greater sense of space. All of these kitchen upgrades were completed for about $3000.
This was part of a “circle the wagon” project and was intended to operate on solar so I wanted all of the appliances (stove, fridge & hot water heater) to run on propane. The refrigerator is a Canadian model that is made under license from Servel. It is extremely efficient and very effective. The stove was a different matter. After the original kitchen was removed, I wanted to put something back in that was period correct yet up to 21st century standards. We found a firm in Tucson that refurbishes stoves from that era and bought one. It’s been re-porcelained, re-insulated and had pilot lights installed. The stove and fridge together were approximately $3000.
Finally, I moved to the front of the trailer which was originally the living room–or as Spartan refers to it, the “observation platform.”
Like I said before I was single at the time, but loved to have friends over so wanted something that seated 8. After days of deliberating how to put eight people in that space I decided on a ’50’s style diner booth. It was costume built around an oval inlaid pecan table. Aside from phenomenal seating it was also designed to offer vast hidden storage under the seats. You well know that one cannot have too much storage!
So that’s a quick overview of what was done to the Imperial Mansion. I never kept close records but I would say that I had about $25K-$28K into it. We lived in it for many years and it is ‘move-in ready’ now with all systems working. I have seen tweaked Spartans that were not nearly as nice for as much as $60K; of course that was before the downturn. Nonetheless, these things have value.
Updated on April 6, 2012 at 12:00 am
Vintage Spartan Trailer For Sale
Vintage Spartan Trailer For Sale