Hope everyone is having a good summer. Hot here in Oklahoma but this is the first May in 55 years without one tornado in this state.
I continue to see more article of folks updating older coaches. If you are going to do this I would assume it would be best to start with a high end option like Newell, Vogue , Prevost or B.Bird. For $200,000 or less you can now get a '97 or older of the above. They will need some cosmetic changes - maybe some Flexsteel furniture to get rid of the flowered sofa and some new carpet. But for a few thousand and a great older coach you will have so much more than a brand new "whatever".
I think you will see restoration business start up that do just this type of thing for informed consumer. Probably the first timers will not have the guts or the education needed - they will continue to buy new and loose big I suppose. But for others that grow weary of getting blown around with the wind or semi's or those that like to hear the 8V92, series 60 or big cats purr - they will realize the advantage of restoration.
Don't know which one I would choose. Older BBirds are reasonable - '92 and newer will have most of what you want. Maybe a tag axle, hydronic heat, and that great interior. How would you compare that with the Prevost? They will be more expensive and Newell will fit in-between. You know Newell is the cousin of the Vogue being made just about 60 miles north of Pryor, Oklahoma - these are or were Oklahoma's contribution to the RV world - and a great contribution at that.
Newell is legendary today with customer service, quad slides that really work and the new 625 Cat - but the older Newells are really great too. Neutral interiors since about 1990 - I refer to the Corian - so you just get the green and purple out of there and upgrade the electronics and you really have something that folks will want to see in the campground.
The Vogue V may just be the best low end secret in restoration. Fiberglass coach unlike the others but with a Prevost interior. A '96 Vogue Prevost and a '96 Vogue V look nearly the same inside - I don't care for the wood interiors so the Vogue V is about the only coach I know in the fiberglass variety that is like this - and these are less expensive that the others - perhaps 130K for a '96 - then you upgrade for 10 or 20k and you still are in the entry level diesel in the new rig (masters of depreciation) world.
If the diesel will go 500k and the chassis is good for 20 years or more- why not just update inside and replace the things that matter = tires, air bags. Yes, I know there is the slide issue. Not sure why - when you ride in a high end non slide older coach you are impressed by the quiet. Anyway, you can cut a slide in any of these I mention - they can all handle the weight . Many of the 96 to 98 will have a single slide from the factory if that is your desire.
Most of these since the early '90's have had full body paint, 400 to 500 HP diesels, hydronic heat, self leveling, Corian, marble and leather interiors and above all the heart of a great coach - the chassis with its 59 to 62% wheelbase that goes and stays right where you put it regardless of weather.
This is the ultimate in recycling I guess. What do you think should be replaced on these older units - I mean before they wear out and leave you on the road? Has anyone come up with a check list of components that wear out over 10 yrs. for example. I believe I would just change out these items while the cosmetic upgrades are taking place.
I opened the bay door on a '96 Prevost the other day it was pure pleasure.