Campground Find: 1952 Royal Spartanette

This mammoth camper trailer is a 1952 Royal Spartanette, and according to the seller, it sat languishing in a camp ground until she was able to rescue it. These vintage aluminum trailers are serious labors of love, not only for the extensive renovations they typically need inside, but also because of the logistics involved in storing and transporting them. Still, they are hard to find in restorable condition – meaning, not so far gone that it’s a completely hopeless affair. This one appears to have good bones and is worth of rescuing, so check it out here on eBay where it’s listed with an opening bid of $5,500 and no action yet.

Last year, I managed to sell a trailer of this same vintage (but not this length) off of my friend’s property in Georgia. It took a special kind of buyer who was willing to pull together all the moving parts to get it home, from sourcing replacement tires to ensuring they had a truck that could safely tow such an apparatus. This is to say nothing of the renovations required after you get it home and see what you have. The shame of it is that many of these vintage camper trailers, especially one as high-end as a Royal Spartanette, were downight luxurious when new and fitted with all sorts of quality finishes and features.

Unfortunately, as they become cheap toys and passed around from owner to owner, the love and care they receive begins to diminish. Eventually, it’s just a hangout, or a place to crash for an unsavory crowd. That’s why they get left behind in campsites and their value falls so much that the owner would rather face fines for abandonment than drag it another yard further down the road. Thankfully, whatever the history is with this example, it never went too far over the cliff of neglect as the interior wood paneling still looks respectable and the original mattresses remain with the camper – looking surprisingly firm – but I’d still replace those immediately if it were mine.

Some improvements have been made, but there’s still plenty of work ahead of the next owner. The seller notes that the toilet and refrigerator have been replaced, but that there’s evidence it was never properly winterized and a leak emerged under the sink. The plumbing has not been tested and the seller has not extensively investigated the electrical system, either, other than to note it has been re-wired at some point. The good news is the floors are solid and the overall exterior seems weather-tight at the moment, but some leaks are noted in typical trouble spots around windows and roof vents. Overall, a massive but deserving project; would you restore it?

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Comments

  1. Paolo

    It all comes down to “Location, location, location!” Put it on a California mountain top with a view of the Pacific ocean and it would be a beautiful lodgement for me.

    Like 17
    • Robert L Roberge

      …and after this season you’d, possibly, have a pile of vintage ash.

      Like 15
      • Paolo

        This is sadly becoming true.

    • Peter Loeffelbein

      Lodgement- cool word.

  2. Connecticut Mark

    In 1952 what would or could pull this around on highways safely? Not an old station wagon. A dump truck? I can not think of a strong safe puller?

    Like 12
    • KKW

      The same thing that would pull one today, a 3/4 or 1ton pickup. But not very fast.

      Like 7
    • RobertV

      Desi Arnez and Lucille Ball of course

      Like 21
  3. That AMC Guy

    Watch the movie “The Long, Long Trailer” for a possible answer. Trailer brakes first!!

    Like 25
    • Paolo

      Lucy and Desi driving a 1953 Mercury convertible!

      Like 15
      • dr fine

        When they crawled over the mountain peak, a 1953 Lincoln was substituted. That was a long, long heavy trailer.

        Like 4
  4. Phlathead Phil

    Hmmmn, I have my doubts! The rear end of this “Behemoth” appears to be made by the “Crown” Motor Coach and Trailer Co.

    It is EXACTLY the same rear end as my ‘50 Crown 12’ was. Same curve silhouette and same windows. It’s just S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D out a bit.

    Crown was eventually bought up by Airstream or Spartan.

    CAUTION: Do not attempt to use the gas appliances without having the ENTIRE gas/propane/LPS system tested by a certified tech. They can and have EXPLODED!!! I know of a lady that was killed in one from a bad valve.

    Like 7
  5. Mike

    Great wood interior that hasn’t been trashed or rotted out. The outside has no appeal at all. Looks like it was used in a prison yard for conjugal visits.

    Like 20
  6. Blake green

    Sparenettes were not totally framed in aluminum like a sparten. This was their cheaper nock off. Buyer be ware. Lots of rotted wood based on the pics

  7. bone

    Original mattresses ? they must be pretty nasty after nearly 70 years !

    Like 5
  8. Bob Mck Member

    If I had a lot on a lake and the skills to restore it, I would love to own it. But I will admit, I have neither.

    Like 4
  9. Royal

    How long is it?

    Like 3
    • Phlathead Phil

      Long enough to do the job!

      Like 1
      • MikeH

        Come on Jeff!! You talk about how big it is but never tell us how long it is.

        Like 1
    • Kenn

      42 +- feet.

  10. PeterfromOz

    I am surprised that something this big would be called the Royal Spartanette. I would have expected it to be called the Royal Palace.

    Like 4
    • Peter

      Or ” Spartanette Royale.”

  11. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Early Sparton – nice that it survived in pretty good condition – most likely few owners or renters on this one.

    Like 2
  12. Bubba5

    I think I lost my virginity in this trailer…

    Like 1
    • Kenn

      Do you remember the guy?

      Like 8
  13. HARM R SMIT

    I would cut it in half! Park one section in Hawaii the other in Bali!

    Like 2
  14. Kenn

    Give or take a bit, it’s about 42 feet long. I’m assuming doors 32 inches wide.

  15. Peter

    His and hers!
    What a scream!
    Imagine going through the Manuka George in that.
    Ideal if your marriage is on the rocks.
    Straight out of Saucer Alley.

  16. Peter

    Micheal Caine balanced on the edge of the cliff.
    ‘The Italian Job’.

  17. Dick Romm

    We had friends with a Spartanette a bit smaller than this…32 ft. I think in 1951, and they pulled it with. their 1951 Buick Special if you can believe that!

    Like 1

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