Cadillac of Campers: 1951 Spartan Royal Mansion

Classic motorhomes have tempted many restorers over the years, as it’s always enticing to think about life on the open road with a luxuriously-appointed vintage travel trailer behind you. While many of these old-school trailers were built for a life of comfort on the road, very few of them have been kept in the sort of condition that make them anywhere near hospitable years later. This is a 1951 Spartan Royal Mansion that the seller claims has been a local landmark in Georgia for years as it sat stagnant in a vacant lot, and after finally acquiring it, a cancer diagnosis is forcing him to sell it on as a major project. Find it here on eBay with bidding at $1,000 and the reserve unmet.

There’s a Buy-It-Now of $4,800 on the listing, but the distance between that and the current bid amount suggests it may not find a buyer this go-round. Take a look at where the trailer is sitting, and note the basketcase Jaguar XJS convertible next to it – that’s a decently desirable collector car if it were in better shape. But back to the trailer, this is a major undertaking, no matter if it was once called “The Cadillac of Campers.” After trying to sell a similar old-school travel trailer like this (and succeeding, ultimately), I can confirm it takes a special kind of buyer to see the potential of such a project and not just the untold thousands of dollars it will require to be revived.

The seller notes that there are a few soft spots in the floor, and that it will require a total gut renovation. That much is clear, based on the photos. I can recall when selling the one I had listed (also in Georgia, ironically), you could see how ornate the original design once was, and how it clearly must have been an enjoyable way to see the U.S.A. when new. However, as these trailers pass on to subsequent owners who seek to put their own signature on the design, renovations occur that don’t always respect the original layout, leading to water intrusion or other issues that cause the trailer to slowly unravel over time, becoming the severely neglected 28-foot rig like you see here.

But here’s the thing: the Royal Mansion was truly a cut above other travel trailers. The company had it roots in aircraft, and was launched by a well-known industrialist, J. Paul Getty. There was serious money behind the company and creations like the Royal Mansion. Take, for example, this fully restored model that sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 2019 for $351,000 – that’s crazy money for one of these, but it shows that there’s a potential upside if you were to restore this project-grade offering to the same level as that six-figure gem of a trailer. If nothing else, it reveals that travel trailer enthusiasts see a Royal Mansion as being worthy of the investment, so hopefully this one gets the revival it deserves soon.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    While it is pretty sad and destined for the next monster truck show ( got to be paying couple hundred bucks for props) years ago, I could see my old man taking on a project like this. He would buy travel trailers unfinished, and complete them himself. ( with me begrudgingly helping while all the other kids played baseball, doc,,oops, sorry, where was I?) But many materials were supplied by his housing projects, and cost a fortune today. Cost of a sheet of marine plywood, that should be used, is over $100 bucks a sheet!!!
    “Our next entry, Grave Digger,,off to a good start,,OH,MAN,,LOOK HOW THEY FLATTENED THAT OLD TRAILER”, and the crowd went wild,,,kids love it.

    Like 10
  2. Comet

    My wife would strangle me if I dragged this thing home.

    Like 3
    • 4Quarts

      Yes or, she might tell you to live in it for a while until your find yourself selling it over again. Just remember, Happy Wife …

      Like 2
      • Howard A Member

        “Dad’s pad when moms mad”,,,( I saw that on a truck sleeper once)

        Like 6
  3. Robert. L Eddins

    Take the 1000.00.

    Like 3
  4. 370zpp

    storage shed… barely.

    Like 2
  5. Maestro1 Member

    And then there is a Jaguar in the photograph, almost in the same bad shape. I’d take the car.

    Like 7
  6. Kenneth Carney

    No Comet, she’d make you live in it! As
    I’ve said before, if the kids and I bought
    a house, I’d pull it ’round back, renovate
    it, and then use it when I want to entertain a lady friend or two. And after
    that, we could use it as a really cool guest room. And add to that, I can set
    it up for solar power and experiment with it.

    Like 2
    • Howard A Member

      Hey Kenneth, and the old lady would be cool with that? Some guys have all the luck,,,

  7. Dave

    Sad. And you can bet it reeks of cigarettes and whatever critters have been living in it. I know Spartan guys (and yes there is an avid enthusiast camp for these), and not a one of them would touch what little is left of this thing unless it was free and convenient.

    Like 1
  8. CCFisher

    This must be the place where nice things go to die. Let’s let it rest in peace next to it’s Jaguar friend.

    Anybody else getting that “seen one, seen them all” feeling about these Spartan trailers?

    Like 6
  9. Mike

    Total, complete gut job. Just needs a crazy YouTuber to take it on and vlog it. Anyway, I decided to take on the clues given by the seller to its original location since Cadwell, GA is pretty tiny. The seller mentioned a corner lot. Google street viewed all the intersections in Cadwell and after my 6th guess where it might be, it popped up. From the street, it kinda looks promising. Check it out:
    https://www.google.com/maps/@32.3404953,-83.0439434,3a,75y,173.48h,80.74t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sX-9n5xnhM4-JsTg0fX4xmg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?hl=en

    Like 7
    • Turbo

      Stalker

      Like 4
      • Fireman DK

        Those aren’t stalks, they’re vines..and they look like they’re creeping ! ..lol

        Like 3
  10. Wilson

    I know where four of these are about and hours drive from me. All in various states of disrepair and the guy has some other good potential stuff as well. One day if I make it back down there I’ll ask about a couple vehicles and a trailer or two.
    Hope it gets brought back to life and not destroyed.

    Like 2
  11. ROARRR

    I bought one of those when I returned to college did the minor refurbishing and lived in it for years while attending University, It served it’s purpose well! The only big problem would wrapping the inside totally in mahogany skins, the rest is nothing, there are many second hand modern trailers free for the stove, sinks etc. The plexiglass windows can be made by the people that do them for planes and race cars. who knows–that might be mine~~~I towed it and my worldly goods from Santa Barbara to San Francisco with a 51 Chev p/u/216 six.

    Like 3
  12. English Steve Member

    Come on now,list the Jag?

    Like 3
  13. 4Quarts

    You know whoever buys this should also be playing Roger Miller’s “King of the Road”. I know I would.

    Like 3
    • Howard A Member

      Roger Miller was great,,

  14. Chris Rollins

    What about the Jaguar parked next to it?

  15. Fish

    I think my sister lived in one of these in the 70’s with her baby..they painted the outside green and cream to hide all the dents and scratches..it was fairly nice on the inside all wood

  16. Fish

    While I’m here do you guys know of any web site where they only list cars and trucks for the west coast..I’m tired of looking for something finding what I want and realize its on the east coast..frustrating as hell !!!

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      We list stuff from all over the country. It all depends on what we find and what people send in.

  17. John H

    Love the look of Spartans and I’ve harbored dreams of restoring one (or some other vintage RV), but man, this one is rough. The owner of a local garage pulled one home a few months ago that looks tired, but unwrinkled, on the outside. With a good shell, the interior will still be expensive to do right but the end result will be so much better.

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