View Full Version : #136 Newell first time owner.

12-28-2009, 03:32 PM
I have never even slept in an RV much less owned one. I have been racing cars for over 20 years and I have been known to sleep in the back of a truck once or twice, but I have usually been the hotel type of guy. A good friend of mine (and race partner) has been talking about a motor home for the last few years. He even borrowed one last year when we went to the Vintage race at Watkins Glen. I however had really never given it much thought. With the type of quality I appreciate, I just figured I would not find an RV suitable for the funds I would invest. So I never really considered ownership.

So about a month ago, I am walking around one of my favorite automotive swap meet/auctions in FL and I come face to face with an 87' Newell. At first, I had no idea what I was looking at, except for a pretty good looking old bus that needed a little TLC. Even though I knew less than nothing about RV's, I have been around all types of cars from "over restored" classics, to race cars all of my life. I could tell from the beginning that this was not the average RV. I found out that the Newell would be up for auction around 12 noon the following day. I spent the rest of the afternoon at the event, going back to visit my new obsession several times. When I got back to my parents, I spent the rest of the night on the laptop doing as much research as I could. I really want to thank the people responsible for this site. I spent hours looking through the forums.

The next morning came and even though I was a little tired from not much sleep, the adrenaline of not knowing the actual price of the Coach (see I learned that it is called a coach from my late night studies lol) kept me going. Even though I had some business to accomplish at the event, I was pretty much worthless until it was time for the Newell to run. I had kind of set a limit as to what I wanted to pay, but I have been in the situation before and I will be the first one to admit that limits are sometimes a very arbitrary thing in the heat of battle. I jumped in as the bidding slowed, it continued to rise a little from that point and when it was over I was the owner of #136.

As the excitement of the sale subsided, I realized I didn't even know how to start this thing, let alone use it. I found the seller, who I spoken to briefly the day before and he was very happy to give me the walk around both inside and out. I think I understood maybe half (being optimistic) of what he said, but I did feel that I at least understood how to start it. This would play an important part, since I would be driving 1100 miles, in a few days.

My father and I noticed that a few of the tires had pretty good cracks in them, so I made some calls to locate replacements. Once we arrived at the shop we were told that the newest tire on the coach was 12 years old. $3100 wasn't really in the plan (thanks Dad), but with the madden voyage ahead, it seemed better than risking a failure.

I hit I70 N and headed toward Carlisle, PA. What a pleasure to drive. After getting use to the size, I was very impressed with the build quality and ride quality. I drive primarily European (Audi) cars and I am very particular about rattles, wind noise, etc. As I stated, I have absolutely no RV experience, but I find it hard to believe that many would have the quality of a Newell at 22 years (180,000 miles) of age. Everything works including the old Escort radar detector, cruise control, every dash light and so on, truly amazing. I made it home without incident and even feeling pretty relaxed after a 16 hour drive.

I have been working on cosmetics and just very simple little repairs, nothing mechanical at all. I have been replacing all of the lenses (very sun damaged), headlights, repaired a leak in the shower, fixed an arm rest, updating some of the electronics, etc. It has been a pleasure and everyone that I have met from a few Newell owners, to the people at the factory, everyone seems incredibly friendly and helpful.

I consider myself very fortunate to have blindly stumbled into the Newell family. I hope to meet many of you in the future. If any of you are road race fans please introduce yourselves and maybe we can meet at the track sometime. I am planning on taking the Newell back to FL, for the Amelia Island Concours and then over to Sebring, FL for the 12 hour at Sebring this March. I will be running in the Vintage support race.

Have fun,

Bill III

12-28-2009, 04:44 PM
Welcome Bill,
Your first impressions were very similar to mine when I first looked at a Newell 12 years ago. Enduring quality is something I really appreciate. I'd rather have an old Newell than a new "plastic palace"!!:-)

12-28-2009, 05:46 PM
Many of us literally "stumbled" across our Newells while looking for something else. I stumbled across my '82 on the Los Angeles Craigslist. Once we finished our first "tour" of the coach, I began searching for all the info I could find on Newells, and stumbled across this website. Seeing how helpful so many were gave me the confidence to go through with the purchase. I had never heard of Newells before. I've had the same experience....no rattles, and everything pretty much worked on my coach when I bought it 1.5 years ago. Had to fix cruise control and dash A/C, and replace some tires. Enjoy your coach!

12-28-2009, 06:26 PM
welcome bill,

i have had mine about 2.5 years and love it. in fact, jimmy from scottsdale is coming over this afternoon to visit about our coaches and for us to have our wives meet. i have made some very dear friends from having my newell and everyone is willing to help and just chat.

i love nascar, so hopefully you like right hand turns and can make it out to the phoenix race sometime. i will private message you my phone number if you want to chat at all.


12-28-2009, 07:43 PM
Welcome Bill, you're so right. You'll find some great guys here, and quite a bit of expertise and helpful advice. You'll learn to love your Newell and want to use it every chance you get. My wife and I are sitting in Vidalia, LA overlooking the Mississippi River just enjoying being out here. Other than the guys here at the forum, you'll find the guys at the factory are one of the best things about owning a Newell.

12-28-2009, 09:30 PM
Hey Bill, we'd like to add our welcome and we enjoyed reading your blog very much. Most all of us have had the same experience, although, we weren't fortunate enough to buy at auction. Most of us purchased our coaches before the crash(of the market that is). However, as I have mentioned a few times on this blog, life is all about building memories and the Newell memories are awesome. We will probably all move on to the clouds with some money in the bank, so why not use it on a Newell? We are from CO and we will spend all winter in FL with the Newell, so when you head that way let us know and we will see if we can party. We love seeing Newells and making new friends. Have a nice New Year.

David and Denise

12-29-2009, 01:31 AM
Thanks for reading about my newest adventure. I really look forward to meeting some of you. I already felt that I knew some of you that responded, from reading all of the informative posts. Maybe we can plan a small get together for those of you in the North East during one of the Carlisle Events http://www.CarlisleEvents.com (http://www.carlisleevents.com/) . Let me try to put something together.

Tom, I do prefer cars that make right turns and use all 3 pedals on the floor. However, I hardly ever pass up a chance to party, so let me know the next time you are going to attend a round-d-round race. Maybe we can hook up. You should really try a road race sometime. The endurance races are the best. I will be driving a the #28 Carlisle Corvette again this year in the 12 Hour at NJ Motorsports Park in June. Let me know if you will be in the neighborhood and I can give you the details.

David and Denise I will be going to FL for the Amelia Island Concour around the 10th of March and then driving over to Sebring the following weekend. Please let me know if you would like to attend either event or if maybe we can meet somewhere between the two.

Thanks again and have a great New Years.

PS I would love to be parked over looking the Mississippi right now !

12-29-2009, 02:07 AM
Bill, great to have you with us. I wish you many enjoyable miles of travel in your Newell. If you have any questions, there are a number of classic owners here that likely have an answer. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the ride and if you happen to be in Austin, shout out.

12-29-2009, 03:26 AM

You couldn't have made a better choice than a Newell. I've done it a little different as I am restoring a 74" classic .. they are built!!! Tom has been a great help and now friend.. Whatever your question.... someone will have the answer!

12-29-2009, 04:49 AM
Jimmy do you have any pics of yours posted ? I really love the look of the 70's and 80's coaches.

I have already learned a lot that I will post and I do have a few questions that I will post soon. Amazingly enough thought it is really in pretty good shape mechanically.

12-29-2009, 12:08 PM
welcome Bill, you lucky son of a gun! To stumble into a Newell with no knowledge? You should go buy a lottery ticket! You could not have done a better. Enjoy your "new" coach and know that you can get unbelievable help from this forum and the great folks at Newell. Introduce yourself at Sebring, if you have time. Our Newell will be in the Hospitality area as that is our business. Just look for Vanessas Hospitality which is normally located in the paddock about half way down from the bridge. Look forward to meeting you.

12-29-2009, 04:56 PM
Sounds great Larry ! What is your business ? I saw your signature about a month ago when I first signed on to the forum. I wondered then if you attend any of the Carlisle events. The Corvettes that Lance (my partner) and I will be running in the 12 hour are 2002 ZO6's. I will be running one of my Audi's at Sebring. Not sure which one yet, still doing the prep work for the season on them now.

Richard and Rhonda
12-29-2009, 09:13 PM
Hi Bill,

Sorry for the late welcome, just rolled into back into town from a 2500 mile round trip circuit in the rig to see the kin folk.

Plenty of folks here willing to help if we can. You will soon discover the Newell irony, many features and design characteristics ran for 10 years or more, and yet no two coaches are alike.


12-29-2009, 09:40 PM
Hi Bill

Welcome to a wonderful site with many helpful people.

Jeff and I just bought ours in Sept and its a 88 and we love it. And kinda of like you, we stumbled upon ours. In fact, had we not been on vacation with family and in their MH we would not have ours. Just thankful that we are now proud owners of a Newell. And members to a great forum that share information and always willing to help others out!

We arrived here in TX today and sitting in Lakeside RV Resort on Lake Livingston till Sunday for a mini vacation!


12-30-2009, 12:19 AM
Hi Bill... I have posted a few pics on the gallery under 74'. It's the striped one with Rocket clearance lights. These were some from when I picked it up... But I'm making a few changes..... It's sorta like an Ole' Shoe... worn but very comfortable!!!!

Jimmy do you have any pics of yours posted ? I really love the look of the 70's and 80's coaches.

I have already learned a lot that I will post and I do have a few questions that I will post soon. Amazingly enough thought it is really in pretty good shape mechanically.

Bill & Sonja
12-30-2009, 04:38 AM
Hello Bill, you've got a lot of fun to look forward to with your Newell, and this site and the folks here add tons to the fun and provide an invaluable resource. I found our 87 on this site in August and by October it was in our yard. The better we get to know the Newell the more we like it and the folks here have made the few concerns and issues we've dealt with easy to handle. Great time ahead!

Wally Arntzen
12-30-2009, 04:04 PM
Hi Bill,
I have an 88 which is very similar to yours. Have done many repairs, changes and replacements on ours. If you any questions just post them and I and many other members will give you more advice or suggestions than you can handle.
Enjoy your coach like all of the rest of us do and have many happy travels.