Originally Posted by Ernie Ekberg
should I say Bluebird has steel skin, floor and roof? Nah- nobody wants that- they want graphics- aka fiberglass.
Well sir, I'm somebody
The Birds and Lodges are great coaches. These were on our short list while shopping. They do ride nice, and are deservedly a Top Tier coach.
Some real fine coaches mentioned, and I think that shows that as we all may not be looking for the same things - different manufacturers try to distinguish their coaches from the rest. If how they do this floats your boat, then you've found your coach.
If we were shopping again today, we'd still be looking for:
-Newmar Mountaine/King Aire's
All with BIG BLOCK engines, all with Tag's, all between 40-44', with 42-43 being the most liked.
I left off American Coach, because the interiors just are not what we like, but they are fine made motorhomes.
I left off Newell as the interiors are usually not something we like. But if we found one that would not take major renovation to change the interior, I'd look it over real well.
In the Monaco line, we found we liked the firt generation of Beaver's after they were absorbed into the borg of then Monaco
! Still lots of 'Beaver' retained.
I left out the Essex from Newmar, as all that we went thru on the used market, were not interior wise something we liked. Of the Aires, we found the interior of the Mountain Aire more to our style desires. But very few were sold with the ISM.
When we shopped for our current coach, we specifically looked for engines pre the first wave of major smog regulation changes.
Budget points. I looked carefully at the life cycles of the engine and chassis of the Top Tier coaches. And though we could have afforded a $400-600K coach, felt I could get a coach that would have the planned usage of 10-15 years very easily within the $150-200K range. As almost all of the coaches we walked thru would have interior modifications required for our desires. I budgeted $25-35K for modifications. (Still in the process of making our changes now.)
In other posts here on IRV2 and elsewhere, I've shared a few opinions:
1) Come up with a list of Must Have's and Nice to Have's. Compare these to the Top Tier coaches, and come up with a short list of manufactures and models.
2) Pick the budget range you want to spend. Keep some budget for any baseline maintenance catch up, interior changes, and contingency.
3) Drop years to buy the highest quality coach that meets your needs, while remaining in budget.
4) When looking, think of the quality of the chassis and the coach construction technique. Consider these Top Tier rigs as a Solid Foundation to support your rolling house over the years. And a good solid foundation, is usually a sure bet to make modifications on for the long haul.
5) Why spend more && then you need to, if you can get your needs met? These Top Tier coaches, will still be great rides and living spaces in 10, 15 even longer years ahead. If, well maintained.
For sure not one answer for all, and for us we found a list of about 6-8 modles and years that were 'are answer'. We shopped accordingly. And, we both made compromises where needed. The largest one from me, was I ended up with a 40' vs 42-43' coach and it has the mid size block ISL instead of say the ISM, or other Big Block. I did this, because it graded the highest of any coach we had seen on our overall Must Have's and Nice to Have's spread sheet. The galley sold the DW, and I like it too.
I also am a big believer in doing your homework, make the best decision you can based upon this homework - and getting out and getting going.
Best to all, have fun, be safe,