10/19/11

1957 Spartan Imperial Mansion Motorhome Conversion

J. Paul Getty bought Spartan Aircraft of Tulsa, Oklahoma from fellow oil tycoon William G. Skelly in 1935. Their greatest hit was Skelly's pet project for well-heeled gentleman pilots like himself, the Spartan Executive, 34 of which were built between 1936 and 1940 for the likes of Howard Hughes and King Ghazi of Iraq. This Duesenberg of the air was powered by a 450hp 9-cylinder Pratt & Whitney radial that gave it a top speed of 257mph, fast enough to secure fifth place in the 1939 Bendix Cup for pilot Arlene Davis. After WWII Spartan built high quality travel trailers and mobile homes, but these Cadillacs of trailerdom came with prices to match, and the abundance of cheaper alternatives as the fifties progressed eventually put Spartan out of business. The startling glazed end-wall, curved floor plan Crescendos and Carousels introduced in 1959 took them out in singular style.

Spartan Executive photo from Young Eagles.org.

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