Robb Design Portfolio: Rise and Shine

  • Photograph by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
    Aircraft courtesy Steve Marini. Photograph by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photograph by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
    Aircraft courtesy Steve Marini. Photograph by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photograph by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
  • Photograph by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
<< Back to Robb Report, January 2009

1937 Spartan 7W Executive

In 1937, the Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Co. of Duncan, Okla., paid roughly $23,500 for a startlingly overpowered, polished-aluminum monoplane to ferry its top management in high style. This aircraft, a Spartan Executive, cocooned passengers in the kind of stitched-leather comfort typically found in Packard limousines, while rocketing them across the sky at the unheard-of speed of 200 mph.

The Spartan Aircraft Co., owned by oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, created its Executive line specifically for Depression-era customers like Halliburton: cash-rich oil businesses whose brass savored life’s finer things. Aviation historians now consider the 34 Executives that Spartan manufactured between 1935 and 1940 the first corporate luxury aircraft.

Halliburton’s 1937 Executive changed hands numerous times over the years before Steve Marini, a collector from Danville, Calif., acquired the plane in 2000. Marini restored the aircraft—one of only 12 Executives still in existence—and estimates its value at more than $1 million. "It’s a dream to fly, but I only take it out once a month," he says. "Wiping all that polished aluminum down is hard work."

Illustration by Jean-François Martin
Want to book a charter flight, compare prices, or contact your pilot? There are apps for that…
From King Airs to Gulfstreams, these are the finest private airplanes currently in operation…
Photo by Jerry Wyszatycki/Avatar Productions
Avoid purchasing pitfalls by having your aviation broker or advisor answer these 10 questions…
Photo by Greenpoint Technologies
New technologies and lightweight materials let aircraft-cabin designers get creative…
Photo by John Bryson
The start of the jet age more than 50 years ago came with a slew of celebrity endorsements…
A team of aviation veterans seeks to build the world’s smallest fixed-wing VTOL aircraft…
A lavishly designed cabin includes a sushi bar, silk wallpaper, a library, and more…
The articulating Aïana Wave chairs and adaptable spaces make the Astral interior ideal for long...
The 19-passenger copter will have an extended range and features to ensure maximum comfort…
The jet’s large floor plan allows for the addition of an office and a bedroom…