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View Full Version : Greetings!!!


ZackMan
12-09-2008, 03:25 PM
We wanted to introduce ourselves to you. I have been reading this particular forum for a little while now and have not decided on which manufacturer for a coach. To be candid, we have been looking at the Bluebird Wanderlodge and the Newell.

Our timeframe for either is early next year, probably January to March 2009. I must say that I am impressed with what I have read so far on this forum and most of my research has been on the internet looking at Newells and Bluebirds.

I have my eye on a 1996 Newell posted with PPL Motorhomes in Houston, Texas. They are asking $125,000, it was listed at one time for $129,500. Any feedback on this coach would be appreciated i.e. your impressions on the asking price and any other assessments. I am a "newbie" at this and so please excuse any naive questions or statements.

I have noticed that Newell is not listed in either NADA or Kelly Blue Book, and so my gauge for what is a fair market value is non-existent on any Newells.

Thanks for any sage advice you may be able to offer and Godspeed!!

Tom and Deborah
"Wannabees"
Fort Washington, MD
:)

fulltiming
12-09-2008, 04:08 PM
Welcome Tom and Deborah!! Three years ago we were also looking at Prevost, Bluebirds and Newells. We chose a Newell and are delighted with our choice.

You are correct, there is no NADA or Blue Book values for Newells. With an annual production of 25-35 coaches, depending on the year, and each one being custom built, it is more difficult to try to gain an idea of values other than searching ads and looking at the prices units actually sold for. As you know, with the current financial condition, ALL motorhomes and coaches are moving slowing and not bringing top dollar. This is a much better time to buy than to sell, especially if you have cash since financing is also more difficult to find.

As with any used coach, the price is very dependent on condition and maintenance. If the routine maintenance has been done religiously and the tires and batteries replaced in a timely manner, the coach will be much cheaper to maintain in the future. That said, the coach at PPLMotors appears in very nice condition from the photos and is priced aggressively if it truly is in good condition. PPL sells a lot of coaches. However, in my experience, since they are a consignment dealer, their sales personal know virtually nothing about the individual coaches so you are somewhat on your own. Do NOT buy without looking, driving and having someone do an inspection on the coach. Do not hesitate to make a lower offer, particularly if the inspection turns up any non-functional items or items needing replacement.

chockwald
12-09-2008, 04:25 PM
This is not a comment on Blue Bird quality, but I understand Blue Bird has been under chapter 11 reorganization since 2006. Something to consider. A good friend who owns a 1984 1/2 Wanderlodge has commented numerous times lately that he is having difficulty getting help from Blue Bird due to the chapter 11 situation.

fulltiming
12-09-2008, 05:11 PM
Newell has had the advantage of being owned by Mr. and Mrs. Newell, then Karl and Alice Blade since its inception in 1967 although there have been some additional investments made in the company by others.

Blue Bird was family-owned until 1992. Since then they have been owned by some of the management of the company with financial backing from Merrill Lynch Capital Partners. From 1999 to 2004, Blue Bird was owned by the British Henlys Group and the Volvo Group. Henlys ran into financial difficulties and in the fall of 2004, Blue Bird became the "sole operating subsidiary" of Peach County Holdings Inc which consisted of 42.5% owned by Henlys creditors, 42.5% by the Volvo Group and 15% by Henlys' "pension scheme" and Blue Bird's management. In 2004, they filed bankruptcy and were bought by Cerberus Capital Management.

In July of 2007, the Blue Bird Coachworks and Blue Bird Wanderlodge were purchased by Complete Coach Works of Riverside, California. Since the purchase, Complete Coach Works (CCW) has built a couple of Wanderlodges at the Fort Valley, Georgia plant and have a couple more partially complete awaiting a buyer to select the amenities and colors they want. They are building a number of transit buses at this time. This is a difficult time for all coach manufacturers and Blue Bird is certainly no exception. CCW assumed responsibility for the warranty on existing Wanderlodges.

With the several years of financial trouble some of the 'old hands' at Blue Bird left. This is a difficult situation for any company trying to support old coaches. The newer employees know the newer coaches but without the knowledge base of the old timers it becomes more difficult to support the older models. As an example, when I had some questions regarding my basement air conditioners, I talked to Cressley Clark at Newell. He told me that he had installed the air conditioners in my coach 17 years ago. That type of knowledge is invaluable.

ZackMan
12-09-2008, 05:27 PM
Chockwald and Fulltiming,

Thanks for your responses to my initial inquiry. It's always good to evaluate the financial health of a company, especially RV manufacturers. I had read about Complete Coach Works and its purchase of Bluebird. I also had read about Newell's history and the fact that its headquarters is located in Oklahoma.

As a newbie, I sure value the viewpoint of those who have been out there experiencing the RV lifestyle and providing a broad perspective on what the future may reveal.

chockwald
12-09-2008, 06:50 PM
Michael...as always, a very thorough historical perspective!

zcasa
12-09-2008, 10:01 PM
Tom and Deborah:

We purchased our coach 3 and 1/2 years ago after having done the same research that you are doing. We took it upon ourselves to phone Newell and ask for the build sheets of our coach. They sent them out the next day. Our coach is 17 years old as well and is model year 1992. We have had the occasion to phone their 24 hotline for service questions and always get a call back within 15 minutes, any time of the day/night. We knew nothing of this forum at that time. Most of the time we do not need to phone Newell as these very helpful Newell owners always have had the answer for us on anything. We have only owned one coach and nothing else. We stepped into this investment with the purpose of maintaining as much value as possible, having technical support and assistance, and wanting to have a quality experience, both from a personal standpoint and upkeep and maintenance issues. Wow, have we been pleased. My only regret is that I have but only one lifetime to experience and use our Newell.

We hope to welcome you into the family.

David and Denise

encantotom
12-09-2008, 11:51 PM
hi Tom and Deborah,

i am like the rest of these yahoos. i looked at prevo's and alot of bluebirds. then i came upon the newell and was hooked. i have learned alot and am really happy with ours.

i almost bought a 95 bluebird from ppl and when it was inspected, i backed out of the deal.

prices are coming down, so you can negotiate pretty hard on these beasts nowadays, but condition means a ton more than year or size....

tom

chockwald
12-10-2008, 03:01 AM
The one thing all used coaches share in common is that things will break, or stop working. With Newell you know you will get support from someone who probably remembers working on your coach, and you have this website as an additional resource. Finally, you will make a lot of great new friends!

Richard and Rhonda
12-10-2008, 03:40 AM
If you get REALLY serious about that coach let me know, and I'll finagle some way of getting down to HTX and looking at it for you. I don't want to take a five hour drive to go tire kick, but if you are ready to put down some cash, then I am serious about helping you.

It's one year different from mine, so it should be pretty familiar to me.

The pricing definitely caught my eye, and it could probably be negotiated from there.

One of the problems with Newell and the NADA deal is that not every institution will finance them. There are places that specialize in these coaches and we can recommend a couple to you if you like.

You have probably noticed a common theme among the folks on this site. Hands on, semi gear heads, independently minded. If you enjoy doing your own work, and you see the coach as much a hobby as a means to comfortably see the country, then a Newell is a good choice. So is a BB. Many of us looked at BB's. They share some of the same concepts. A inherently good chassis design, good craftsmanship, and most importantly systems engineering and components that you can work on.

Have you actually been in a 90's vintage Newell? Do you currently or previously owned any kind of RV? What kind of handyman are you? I am not asking you to defend your choice by any means, but the more we know about you and your needs and desires the better allies we can be. Seriously, we like to help. Sometimes even if that help is to steer a person away. About a year ago, a fellow got all worked up about a Newell, and frankly he didn't have any business owning one because he had no mechanical savvy. We politely steered him in a different direction. My point is that we aren't Newell salesmen, and the contributors to this board are sound and factual. I wish you luck and look forward to you changing your wannabe status.

ZackMan
12-10-2008, 09:03 PM
If you get REALLY serious about that coach let me know, and I'll finagle some way of getting down to HTX and looking at it for you. I don't want to take a five hour drive to go tire kick, but if you are ready to put down some cash, then I am serious about helping you.

It's one year different from mine, so it should be pretty familiar to me.

The pricing definitely caught my eye, and it could probably be negotiated from there.

One of the problems with Newell and the NADA deal is that not every institution will finance them. There are places that specialize in these coaches and we can recommend a couple to you if you like.

You have probably noticed a common theme among the folks on this site. Hands on, semi gear heads, independently minded. If you enjoy doing your own work, and you see the coach as much a hobby as a means to comfortably see the country, then a Newell is a good choice. So is a BB. Many of us looked at BB's. They share some of the same concepts. A inherently good chassis design, good craftsmanship, and most importantly systems engineering and components that you can work on.

Have you actually been in a 90's vintage Newell? Do you currently or previously owned any kind of RV? What kind of handyman are you? I am not asking you to defend your choice by any means, but the more we know about you and your needs and desires the better allies we can be. Seriously, we like to help. Sometimes even if that help is to steer a person away. About a year ago, a fellow got all worked up about a Newell, and frankly he didn't have any business owning one because he had no mechanical savvy. We politely steered him in a different direction. My point is that we aren't Newell salesmen, and the contributors to this board are sound and factual. I wish you luck and look forward to you changing your wannabe status.

Richard and Rhonda,

Thanks a bunch for your insight as well as that of the others who have posted so far. I had planned on having a pre-purchase inspection and weigh-in conducted on any potential purchase. As I had conveyed in my original post, I am looking at both marques i.e. Newell and Bluebird. As far as my mechanical ability, I am not a Mr. Goodwrench; however, I am fairly handy wrenching. I will be storing the coach away from our home for now because we do not have space to park it on the property. I prefer inside storage and am on a waiting list, the only alternative, for now, is outside storage. Since you are five hours from Houston, I sure would not want you to travel that far especially if I decided not to purchase.

My timeframe for a purchase is January or February 2009 and even though it is a great time for the buyer, I sure do not want to rush since this is my first ever RV.

If you will, PM me on any potential financing for this type of manufacturer and I will contact the source(s).

Thanks a bunch to all of you and GODSPEED!!!

larryweikart
12-11-2008, 02:53 AM
I would ditto everything that has been discussed here to assist you in makeing an informed decision and would like to add that you should not overlook the fact that if you buy a coach that is 10 years "young " or younger, directly from Newell, you will receive a bumper to bumper warrenty, that can be the best friend you'll ever have. They have inventory in Miami, Ok. that they need to get rid of also. A trip there to see many pre-owned Newell coaches and also see how they are constructed might just turn out to be your smartest investment. Good Luck and hope to see you on this site in the future.