Let me explain my coach condition rating. As I see it, there are 3 levels of coach condition:
Core coach $50 to$9000 You can find a core for $50 to maybe $9000 depending on how bad of condition it is. You must have a good, no rust damage frame and you want all of the parts of the coach there but there is no guaranty that much of anything will work. If something does it’s a bonus. Someone who is seeking a total restoration in and out needs to find a suitable core coach to work with. Of course the better coach the better the end product but with a core, you will not be paying for anything you might throw away.
Survivor coach is a original condition coach that has been and is still in descent condition. There will still be issues with a 40 year old survivor like this but may be able to be used in it’s current condition with some mechanical updates. A survivor coach is best to look for if you are interested in economy and using the coach pretty much in the condition it is…..less mechanicals, you CANNOT call a coach reliable until you have gone through every mechanical system completely! I mean it! You will never find a coach that is “ready to go”, there is always a punch list of things to do but it should take you less work to be able to use a survivor…most certainly over a core coach. Find someone selling a coach who is “looking for a new home” for their cherished family member……… this is a good way to weed out badly maintained coaches. You can find a viable survivor for $10-20,000.
Restored coach This is the scariest category to look at. Who did the work, were they “painting lips on the pig”, did they know what they were doing, how long ago were the modifications and work done? You pretty much need “provenance” or history to determine the value of any restored coach. Well maintained restored coaches will not be found usually under $30,000. There is usually 2 or 3 times that much invested. of course investment means little but the customer has done a good job at having a nice coach and has paid to have it. A truly restored coach has value and will be something you might be able to enjoy with the least amount of additional money. Make no mistake though there will still be a punch list of issues….you will always have that on a 40 year old machine. Sorry but that’s the reality of this. YOU make a coach to what you want…don’t expect to find one you will be totally happy with…maybe so?
Keep these categories in mind when you seek to pick up one of these. You are not buying a 2010 Toyota …these are old machines…condition is everything……..god hunting
good luck on your search