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Old 01-30-2021, 11:55 AM   #11
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My 2 cents. If it's a poptop, then it's most often a SMB. SMB poptops are easy to identify. If it's a high top then could be one of several companies. If it's a van without a top conversion, then it's most likely not a SMB, from my observations. What is the one your looking at have?

happy hunting, Lance
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Old 01-30-2021, 03:36 PM   #12
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My 2 cents. If it's a poptop, then it's most often a SMB. SMB poptops are easy to identify. If it's a high top then could be one of several companies. If it's a van without a top conversion, then it's most likely not a SMB, from my observations. What is the one your looking at have?

happy hunting, Lance
There was one in Austin that orginally was advertised as a 2021 Sportsmobile, but was really a 1999 not-sportsmobile with what the seller said was a new 2021 front end. He said it was "Sportsmobile-like".

What I'm learning as a previously know-nothing campervan shopper, from not only that example, but some others as well, is that "Buyer Beware" should perhaps be even more strictly adhered to in campervan shopping than even in normal car purchasing.

But I'm learning what questions to ask up front and I went ahead and paid for a Carfax account to run VINs before I get too excited about anything anymore.

I initially posted because I wondered if there was a sticker or something. Now I'm beginning to recognize the SMB look, floorplans, cabinets, etc, and the few that I've been in have also have paperwork in the glove box that confirmed their origin. So I've become a smarter shopper since the initial post.
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Old 01-30-2021, 03:43 PM   #13
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...You should really search this site for truths to your "Dream SMB". Just like all manufacturers, no after market entity is flawless, and SMB is no different. I've seen many post here in reference to poor QC from SMB... Maybe more since this site does carry the name. Complaints about the Fresno owner and his arrogance. On second thought I have heard good service from Texas thus reminding me that every location is individually owned. In fact the Fresno location has changed names, as far as owning one you may want to see if it is a California built SMB or out of state. Just my 2 cents. I am sure some owners here will agree and some will support the location as they may have received service at the right time or mood!
I think you make some valid points. I am normally not one to pay a "brand premium" for things, and I know that even a quality manufacturer can produce individual lemons.

But I also see SMB as a producer that is systemized and experienced in putting together vans, and I do assume, perhaps naively, that its product is tougher and better built than standard mass-produced RV builds, for example. And I do know that any particular build could be one with many issues.

I'd gladly buy even a DIY van if the seller could convince me that it is well built, and it survives further scrutiny by an inspection. It's just that if I can find a good used SMB, especially a one-owner rig with all the history, I'd be predisposed toward something like that over a DIY with no verifiable build history and multiple owners.
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Old 01-30-2021, 03:48 PM   #14
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Sportsmobile owners (initial builds) were supplied with either one or two binders filled with all the documentation like Equipment manuals, Specs, and Warranty paperwork. A lot of those are passed on to new owners (not all I'm sure).
Suggest you simply ask if they have this available, suspect this would save you some time researching and/or confirming most candidates.
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Old 01-30-2021, 06:43 PM   #15
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I went to a Expo Overland in Big Bear Ca a few years ago. There was this guy that was building units using bamboo plywood with extruded aluminum joints and this thing looked great. I shook it pushed on it and it was beautiful in natural colors. He was out of San Diego and I;ll tell you if I was to have one done iit would have been that guy! He did all the infrastructure as well with batteries and solar.
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Old 01-31-2021, 09:12 AM   #16
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Bravelion, if I were you I would PM pics of whatever you are looking at to one of about the 15 or so most active people here. The reason is that most of us can tell you in about 2 seconds whether it is true SMB or not, usually based on one or two interior pics.

Also, I understand that you feel SMB's are built to bit higher standard than most modern RV's but they are not at all built to a higher standard than most modern camper van conversions. There is a difference. I am not meaning SMB vs. a home build, though there are many, many people who have greatly improved on SMB's ideas with their own skills. I am meaning that if you take an SMB, even a newer one, and put it next to a Benchmark, Outside Van, Vanhaus, Van Specialties, Freedom Vans, Campovans, etc. the difference in design and execution is often huge. Most of the time the price of admission is too.

I love Sportsmobiles and have owned a couple and built numerous homebuilds. SMB's ideas and materials are not the best out there. They have stubbornly refused to change many things over the years that leave them in the dust of some of the modern builders.

I'm not at all trying to talk you out of an SMB. If you want a rugged pop top E-series van you can do a lot worse. If you want the latest and greatest Euro style van, more for road use, I would t least consider other options.

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Old 01-31-2021, 09:58 AM   #17
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One last time that I thinks important to have is that RIVA sticker. A true SMB has it and you can insure as a motorhome without having to get it inspected to prove the sink and water and toilet. This was a moderate reason for me selling my homebuilt and buying an SMB to insure it at agreed value as a motorhome. I tore all the SMB out and built it myself but it is still an SMB technically.
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