Originally Posted by Davydd
I was curious of what awesome meant.
That wasn't an integrated awning they had to build up a roof all sides to achieve that look which made it several inches taller in appearance. It was an option that I never saw in the few Free Spirit SSes that actually got out on the road. The awning was still there. That is aways a dead giveaway for an RV. Not so much the air conditioner anymore since many commercial and hotel shuttle Sprinters have them now. I'm not sure it decreases wind resistance but other companies had been putting a front built up shield for that purpose. With cross winds it might not be so good.
The driver side still had the RV tell tell hot water heater cover, top and bottom vents for the absorption refrigerator and utility compartments to make it blare RV. If you parallel park all that shows on the street side. RV converters never like to show that side.
They were late to the stealth look. Great West Vans had been doing the non decal graphics look sans garish swoops and swirls for years before the Free Spirit SS. Now everyone does it.
I'm not sure how your item 2 and 3 makes it awesome. It's all a moot point anyway since they don't make them anymore and If you want the slide and very similar floor plan Winnebago has one in an Era model.
Are you saying that this option increased the height of the coach or that it appeared to increase the height? In any event, if you don't think it improved the passenger roofline, I guess it comes down to the proverbial eye of the beholder. IMO, awnings just look hokey and LTV's idea of hiding it was way cool. As far as typical awning wind resistance occurs, I think it can be replicated by sticking your open hand out the window at highway speeds - not monumental but not insignificant either.
Edit: Looked at that option again and I see what you mean. The whole cap had to be raised to do that and any wind resistance decrease would be more than offset by the wind resistance increase from the raised cap.
Agreed, the street side vents can be somewhat of a give away but between the use of compressor refrigerators which eliminate a vent or two plus the choice of darker exterior colors makes the remaining vent and gizmos seems a lot less noticeable.
I can see the purpose of some decals on a big coach to mitigate looking like beached whale but I don't think decals on a Class B serve any useful purpose and in the event of the necessity of body work, even a small repair can entail the laborious process of removing and replacing extensive graphics.
Re your reference to the ERA slide out, I don't think it's a good idea on a coach that doesn't have some hydraulic or electric levelers.
Something I see on the ERA that surprises me is the dashboard switch that permits battery boosting. I thought that Mercedes prohibits coach builders that that build up the Sprinter from implementing separators, battery boosters etc.