Spartan Photos

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By Steve Natale, Vintage Transportation Examiner

January 2, 2011

Hidden away in a hanger at the Livermore Airport is one of the rarest, elegant, and historically significant non-military vintage airplanes in existence. The plane is a 1937 Spartan Executive Model 7W. The aptly named Spartan “Executive” was the corporate jet of its day. In fact this particular Spartan Executive was purchased new by Halliburton, then sold to Texaco, and later commandeered by the US government to shuttle military brass around the country during World War Two. Advanced and high-performance in every way, this was a truly state of the art machine when it was built. Weighing in at 4,400 pounds, with a wing span of 39 feet, and almost 27 feet long, its sleek art deco silhouette is unmistakable to those who know vintage aircraft. Its massive 450 hp radial engine is capable of propelling this machine to 211 mph, and will cruise at 180 mph, out-performing most modern planes of this size. Spartan produced only 34 of these classics between 1937 and 1941, and only five are known to be flying.

Steve Marini purchased this plane in 1999, and treated it to a full show-quality restoration. Great attention to detail and period correctness is evident through-out. The highly polished exterior, with art deco inspired Spartan graphics, enhance the elegant design features. Entering the interior cabin, the pilot and passengers greeted by the sight of rich, slightly modeled dark red leather and soft tan Bedford-cord cloth seats. Windows are trimmed with small curtains, and there are deco light fixtures mounted in the mohair headliner. The restoration was rewarded with a first place trophy at Oshkosh in 2006, and in 2007 received both the people choice award, as well as the prestigious Smithsonian’s Heritage Award at the Reno Air Show.