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On the Road Redux: Family Style

This Custom, Two-Story 1953 Spartan Manor Trailer Is an Absolute Dream

The Manor served the Williams family for the first years but, by 1957, it had become clear that it was no longer enough for the growing girls. They slept on the couch in the rear, with the parents in the master bedroom at the front end. Williams decided – and proceeded – to expand the trailer upwards that same year.

He bought parts from Spartan and built a second floor that housed the girls’ separate bedrooms. To give them the impression of separate rooms (as opposed to a loft) and more headroom, he dropped a section of the floor of the second story into the ground floor. It’s what Shirley calls a “box” in the video, located above the dining area and the fridge in the kitchen. This helps with keeping the trailer at 13.5 feet (4.1 meters) high, so it could still clear bridges and passageways.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ThisIsNotNutella May 8, 2022, 5:58 PM

    Now that’s how to go On the Road!

    There’s footage on YouTube somewhere of a family who went on a circumnavigation in a customized Catalina flying boat in the (IIRC) early 60s.

  • Dirk May 8, 2022, 7:45 PM


  • gwbnyc May 8, 2022, 7:55 PM

    we’re the same age.
    that’s as brokedick a trailer as I’ve seen and it’s in better shape than I am.

  • hooodathunkit May 9, 2022, 6:08 AM

    It’s American. Carpenter-turned-self-taught-aeronautical-designer Dave Thornburg wrote a book* on his parents’ life through the Depression living in a home that at a moment’s notice would move to another state for work. It was, and can still be, the quintessential American life: the ability to pickup and leave, to move somewhere else as needed or when the fancy strikes.

    Land yachts for drifters, covered wagons of pioneers, trailers escape mortgages, rent, and most tax. By voluntarily reducing available space, people save money so they can pay their debts and work jobs those tied to a location by fixed homes can’t.

    In a Florida retirement community to help an elderly relative with their house, I went next door to borrow a pipe wrench. “Ernie” had been a neighbor over 20 years, and we went to his garage. All his tools were in his car, a complete workshop packed in the trunk. Old habits die hard.

    * Galloping Bungalows: the Ride and Demise of the American House Trailer