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Double Decker Spartan Manor – Decades Old Two Story RV Home That Grew With Its Family

A huge part of the RV tradition is a streak of American independence about a mile wide. This has led to all types of innovation among RV owners and quite a few custom, one-of-a-kind pieces, both factory designed and owner-innovated. This unique two story trailer was a labor of love for a talented craftsman father in order to provide the best home he could for his growing family.

1953 Spartan Manor custom double-decker trailer.

RV Travel
RV Travel

What started out as a standard 1953 Spartan Manor trailer had a second story added on to accommodate a family’s living needs. When the owner, a traveling finish carpenter, realized that his two young girls were too long to comfortably share the front bed, he came up with what may be the first (and only?) double decker travel trailer.

The current owner grew up in the trailer and one was one of the sisters. She lived in the trailer from the time she was three, until she left for college in 1969.

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The owner went to Spartan, the trailer’s manufacturer, and purchased the parts required to add the second story in 1957. Later, when his wife purchased an organ, a pushout was added along one side to accommodate the large instrument, since there wasn’t enough space inside the original house.

Once again, the owner picked up his tools and this time created a completely custom pushout. At the time slideouts were not standard on manufactured travel trailers.

He made his own slide-out!

Spartan slide out
RV Travel

To keep the the trailer short enough to scrape under highway overpasses in their home state of California, the only portion of the second floor that was full height – a short passage along one side of the trailer – had to be dropped down into the first floor and above a seating area.

In addition to the lowered ceiling over the seating area, a shorter refrigerator was installed to accommodate the walkway on the second floor.

The stairway for the second floor “cupola” was installed at the back end of the trailer, inside what had been the master bedroom closet. While the headroom is limited, the upper berth holds two large bedrooms, each with a closet and a commanding view through large windows along either side of the trailer.

The trailer was towed up and down the California coastline behind a classic 1950s Chevy pickup that also hauled the tools of the trade and became the owner’s work truck once the trailer was parked in each new home. Far from being resentful of what might be considered an imposition by modern standards, the owner seems to have truly enjoyed her life in the two story travel trailer!

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