Luxury Camper: 1955 Spartan Imperial Mansion

If you are looking for a retro camper that has been completely refurbished in period-correct decor, check this one out. You are looking at a 1955 Spartan 43′ Imperial Mansion. It can be found here on eBay with a current bid of $20,000 and the reserve hasn’t been met yet. The seller says it has been appraised at $85,000 before furnishing, so I’m guessing the reserve is somewhere near that amount. It has had a complete restoration with modern updates and would make a great personal camper or rental. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, at 43 feet, you’ll need a pretty stout truck to pull this one, but it looks like a winner. Have a look at the amazing interior!

Here you can see the living room/dining room area. Unlike Airstream trailers that have a similar look, the Spartans feature taller sidewalls that allow for a more roomy interior. The retro furniture is perfect for the theme and the ad says the windows cost about $10K! They let in a ton of light and I’m sure they make the interior feel that much roomier.

Moving toward the middle of the trailer, you can see the kitchen area which has been completely restored. The electrical and plumbing systems are new. The kitchen features a built-in home office, soft close cabinets, and new “retro” appliances. Between the kitchen and the bedroom lies, the bathroom. It has been fully refurbished with synthetic slab-marble.

The bedroom in the rear appears to house a queen bed. The seller says with the pull-out couch, the trailer comfortably sleeps four adults.

The ad says it took 600 hours to polish the skin to the mirror finish you see now! Overall, this looks like an awesome trailer anyone would be proud to own. What do you think about this one?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Looks like a diner I used to eat at. Nice rig, but they’re nuts. More of a stationary unit, what, you gonna pull this down the road? And don’t someone say, “that’s a good deal, Howard”,,,because we’re clearly from different worlds if you think so.

    Like 38
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      To someone with a “glampground” setting, this would be a money maker, much in the same vein as the theme styled “resorts” like this one in Dunsmuir, CA. https://rrpark.com/
      It’s reminiscent of the very cool art deco stuff of an earlier time IMHO.
      While I too can appreciate the work invested to revive this trailer, it’s definitely not one you’d want to haul anywhere on a regular vacation but it’d get attention wherever it’s at- it doesn’t hurt either that this is bigger inside than any of the apartments I lived in when I first got out on my own!!

      Like 20
    • ken tilly UK

      Exactly, and what would you drag it with anyway?

      Like 5
      • GHT

        Ken: Feightliner Tractor used to haul 52’ trailers!

        Like 2
      • Will Fox

        Some sort of COE with lots of grunt.

        Like 2
      • Steve Bush Member

        Looks cool! If you could buy it at a somewhat lower price than the BIN, perhaps use it a couple times yearly for yourself and then rent it out as an stationary Airbnb the rest of the year. Perhaps this could work if you lived a popular vacation area. Maybe someone can work out the numbers.

      • Bill

        Well, Ricky and Lucy used a ’53 Mercury convertible.

        Like 5
    • Mikey Potter

      That’s a good deal Howard!

      Like 1
    • Stevieg

      That’s a good idea Howard! Just kidding.
      I like it. If I had a place to park it permanently, I would not mind living in it. It looks even nicer than my house in some ways lol.

      Like 1
    • chrlsful

      ex hack ally what I wuz abt to say. “Coulda made a banquet hall ouda it.” back in the day when they hada a 4, 5 kid famn damily.

      Soooper Dudie, Ram It diesel, or Che**ie 6500 Silvernado ‘i’ll haul it easy…

  2. Steve R

    The seller has a BIN price of $59,000.

    The furniture doesn’t appear to be attached to the floor and many cabinets have no doors, this is a must for any trailer that is intended for camping and is moved on a regular basis. When this was refurbished it was likely designed for stationary use.

    Steve R

    Like 26
    • Will Fox

      I agree. There aren’t enough bungy cords in the world to keep the drawers/cabinets closed while hauling this. I myself would have those empty, with the contents in boxes on the floor as I drove to the campsite. Beautiful work done on this trailer, and I know a couple campgrounds I’d love to haul it to. Plenty of room for a few friends in this monster.
      But where to store it off-season? I’d want a pole barn at the minimum for it so it’s inside in the winter.

      Like 2
  3. Baloo

    Gotta agree with HowardA. Belongs in a museum, and for that price, you can get a new, modern 5th wheel with slide-outs to greatly expand living space.
    I’ve lived in old-style motorhomes, and then got a 3 slide out version… no comparison.
    Knowing this, I couldn’t help but add this comment, no matter the negativity.
    But, to each their own.

    Like 14
  4. AMCFAN

    I am not saying a good deal. It’s all in what someone wants. I suppose I could be selfish and buy myself a new Corvette to sit in the garage for everyone to look it. Or buy a touring coach I could actually enjoy the family with. Hmmmm. Let me think about that.

    Several points. When new just about anything with a hitch and load bars could pull them with ease. Today we have diesel pickup trucks.

    I do not know about value on vintage campers but have owned several Airstream’s I can tell you the restoration costs are not cheap. To simply clean the exterior and polish to a shine this has I would hate to estimate. I hate polishing my car.

    Then it’s all about location. In California for an example houses smaller than most two car garages sell for a quarter of a mil. So in certain areas this at the appraised price could give someone a major price advantage to be able to live and compete. As a bonus be able to take it with them when life changes.

    A quick look for a new Airstream smaller in size starts at $156K. Next version $230K Doesn’t look to bad in my eyes. For enjoyment or simply downsizing and selling that oversize house when the kids have long moved out. Much less to take care of.

    Like 19
  5. Chris in Pineville

    looks like the one that was parked next to us at a campground in the Florida Keys in 2013. Owners had pulled it from Indiana with a F350 diesel dually. They also had two Great Danes traveling with them.

    Like 12
  6. Fred W

    The seller knows photography, I’ll give them that. The same trailer photographed at 12 noon would have not looked anything like this. Looks like it was done to a high standard and the retro look is near impossible to duplicate in a new RV.

    Like 12
  7. nycbjr Member

    It’s really a “tiny house”, a gorgeous one!!

    Like 13
    • Will Fox

      LOL–I’ve seen MUCH tinier tiny houses than this trailer! Most of which wouldn’t extend any further back than the kitchen in this one! Probably the same price ($59K) too.

  8. Junior Samples

    Single, & retired…I could see myself living here, permanently parked close to a fishing hole…

    Like 22
  9. Arby

    Spartan Imperial Mansion?

    Talk about your oxymorons…

    Like 16
    • Chris In Australia

      My thoughts when I saw one at Frontier Drive-in Theatre in Colorado. It and the theatre were undergoing restoration. Hopefully they succeed.

      Like 1
  10. Bob Mck Member

    I would love to park it on a lake up north and spend the summer in it.

    Like 8
  11. Neil G

    Wow. I didn’t realize they had flat screen TV’s in 1955.

    Like 12
  12. Bullethead

    Even though some are, the large versions like this are not intended for RVing these days. But smaller Spartans are quite a step above Airstreams. Even though much of the original cabinetry was replaced on this example, it IS a smokin’ good deal.

    Good examples are very hard to find, and the asking price for this one would likely just cover the basic renovations. There’s no reason to doubt the expense claims. Spartan built exclusive and luxurious executive aircraft pre- WWII. That tooling and expertise went into these post-war.

    I’ll just leave this here: http://www.spartantrailer.com/index.htm

    And for reference:

    https://www.hagerty.com/media/buying-and-selling/1951-spartan-royal-mansion-travel-trailer/

    Like 8
  13. Terry Bowman

    It’s a lovely, well build home camper. Not something you would want to go on a weekend excursion, but at least a month long Get -A- Way. Now , I want to see the truck that hauls it. Possible well worth the asking price, but like a car, let me see the under carriage. Maybe, “Barn Finds” car start a Camper addition.

    Like 5
    • Howard A Member

      This might pull it,,one relic pulling another.

      Like 14
    • Treebeardzz

      To get a look at the “undercarriage”, you would have to remove the FULLY enclosing sheet aluminum “belly skin” and insulation.

  14. Terry Bowman

    That’s “can” not car.

    Like 1
    • Will Irby

      ..and “edition”, not “addition”.

      Like 2
      • Terry Bowman

        Sometimes my grammar is not on par, but if Barn Finds would start a Camper format, I believe it would be an addition to the car format. Wants important is, my point was understood.

        Like 1
    • Will Irby

      Good point! A camper edition would be an addition!

      Like 1
  15. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    “The long, long trailer”. This reminded me of that old movie with Desi and Lucy.
    Now this trailer has been completely remodeled, but I do remember a big problem came up some years ago with all these trailers in that they used formaldehyde which caused health issues.
    Dunsmuir, California was a train terminal with a turntable for reversing engine direction. As a elementary school student we made several day trips to see how it worked. We also got to visit the caves with stalagnites and other interesting things in Northern California. Just fun reminiscing of times gone by.
    God bless America

    Like 13
    • Treebeardzz

      I used to have a ’56 5th wheel conversion(stolen from a storage yard in Punta Gorda, FL in the aftermath of Hurricane Charlie). The fuselage may be restored(except for the butchered doors) but the resto-crap interior looks fresh out of a 70’s doublewide “remodel” complete with Home Depot cabinets-in-a-box.These had no formaldehyde as they used fiberglass insulation(6″ in the ceiling, but mine was the Alaskan version) – in the Florida summer it would still be cool inside well past noon without turning on the 2hp basement air conditioner. Framing was extrusion with all the wood being aircraft grade birch paneling, quilted metal in the kitchen, and beautiful maple cabinetry(which this guy trashed the character by completely tossing the integral floor-to-ceiling dresser/armoir wall in the “bedroom” to “open it up”. Towing: I had no problem keeping it above 45 towing it over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge with my ’76 F250 SuperCab(grossing 26,500). I miss it.

      Like 8
    • PJH

      Johnmloghry:
      Dunsmuir and the rest of northern Cal. is awesome!
      I took a trip out there prob back in the late 90’s (from upstate NY) to chase trains through that area.
      Always read about them and the former Southern Pacific’s operations there. Dunsmuir is a crew change point and yes they still have a turntable there. I loved the area.
      Stayed at the Ralroad Park caboose hotel / campground.
      May end up out there yet to live if I have my way!

      • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

        Thanks for the reply PJH. I grew up on 120 acre farm just north of Redding in the 50’s 60’s and 70’s. It is a nice place, lots of outdoor things to do. Fishing, hunting, water sports, snow fun in the mountains. Taxes are high and jobs are few but if you like outdoor country living it’s hard to beat.
        God bless America

  16. Richard Brown

    I wish the kitchen matched the rest of the RV. Maybe warm tone wood instead of white…

    Like 4
    • Jef

      I found the fixtures and fittings a little at odds with the overall style. Appreciate the color matched fridge, mixer and microwave though.
      Not the sort of trailer to move more than once a week for sure.
      Are there many parks where something like this would fit in or is more something to anchor in a lot you bought?

  17. ccrvtt

    Apparently RV sales are off the charts as a result of the pandemic as people (with money) are opting to travel with their own accommodations. While I would prefer an extended road trip in a well-equipped minivan or luxury sedan and staying in hotels I can see the appeal of carrying your home with you. It would seem that a modern RV would be a lot more convenient and cheaper than this Spartan but you could never duplicate the wow factor.

    Like 9
  18. Philip

    I lived in a 1 year old 1977 Airstream, 31foot, during a 1978-81 construction project in Santa Rosa, CA. It was great fun as I was in my 20’s but it was obvious then that the insulation quality was very poor. The heater worked great but as soon as it turned off the place was like a refrigerator and summers was really hot immediately after the AC turned off. I can only imagine the insulating qualities of a trailer 20 years older. Something to think about beyond the aesthetics.

    Like 3
  19. Haywood Jablowme

    Can’t get into most “resort” campgrounds – older than 2005

    • Jef

      That’s a god point. Is there an exception for classic restomod trailers?
      Should there be?

      Like 2
    • ccrvtt

      Time to grow up and change your username.

      And it’s, “Heywood”, not “Haywood”…

      Like 4
  20. Mike

    This looks like more suited to be a holiday rental unit. I use to live in a studio apartment and my stuff would clutter up this trailer easily. This trailer has the perfect amount of furniture.

    Like 2
  21. David Ulrey

    While it CAN be used as a travel trailer, in reality it’s more of a mobile home like others here have said. It really caught my eye because when I was a much, much younger guy I lived in one of these for about a year. Now it’s retro but back then it was just an old trailer. It wasn’t dilapidated or in bad shape but it sure wasn’t as ‘new’ looking as this one! The price sounds steep but what do I know, it’s not like I’m in the market for one. I decided to take a nostalgia ride into the old neighborhood about a month ago. To my surprise, maybe even shock, that darned thing was still exactly where it was about 4 decades ago and still looked exactly the same. Almost like it just stopped aging.

    Like 1
  22. ken tillyUK

    If a person were crazy enough to want to move this around by road, how would they get it around corners?

    Like 1
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      That would depend on where you’re at and where you want to go, ken. Out here in the desert for instance it’s not unusual to see self-contained RV “villages” on the weekends with every kind of rig imaginable ranging from tarps thrown over the truck bed to pup tents to large 5th wheel trailers and occasionally a number of 45’ toy haulers with 3-5 “slide outs” (115 gallon fresh water tank, 30 gallon fuel station, onboard generator, etc.). The bigger rigs are being pulled by Kodiak-type trucks but most are dragged around behind a diesel pickup truck.
      The challenge is in the initial learning especially in the “older” and larger cities-I.e., we’ve a friend who needed his40’ rig taken to the San Francisco Bay Area-crossing the toll bridges and traveling side streets at rush hour was an eye-opener for all and everyone involved!!!

      Like 2
  23. ken tilly UK

    @Terry Bowman. Most of us aren’t interested in a persons grammar Terry, as long as they are motor enthusiasts with some important information that they can pass on from time to time.

    Like 2
  24. Danno

    Spartans and Airfloats, the perfect moveable cabins. Kewl “Tiny Homes”, before Tiny Homes were kewl.

  25. Sal

    Growing up my parents had a new ’85 Spartan. It looked nothing like this one.
    It was not stainless or aluminum but had regular trailer siding. When i was younger I always wondered if it was related to the company that made these somehow or was just a coicidence.

  26. Steve

    Most trailers of this size/ type were considered “park model” trailers, sort if in between a travel trailer and a mobile home. As such, they did not feature fresh/ grey/ black water storage tanks or multi fuel refrigerators like travel trailers. My dad bought a used80’s “park model” trailer when my two brothers were attending trade school in Waco Tx. It had two bedrooms and one bath. Each brother lived in it separately after school. It was around 40’ long and under the width requiring a special permit. (A one time use permit was acquired when needed.) my dad usually moved it with his one ton work truck but I recall one brother using his “Heavy Half” C10 for one short move. (Even with the load leveling hitch I’m sure it was overloaded!)

    Like 1
  27. G G

    I like the 1955 Spartan Imperial Mansion lines. I have one n AR that I could prob be talked out of if someone was interested. its a rare master exit on drivers side, all there but needs full restore which looks like I will never get to. can be seen on YT with Jake2670 – as for the car, idk, b4 my time , love seeing what all shows up here, wish I could still work on em.

  28. Kenn

    Current bid at $25,000+

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