You raise several valid issues. Here's my rather long missive related to several items you mentioned. I'm sure others have their own opinion, so take this for what it's worth...
Regarding resale...in my opinion, a good condition but early manufacturing date might discourage some potential buyers who automatically scan advertisements in search of late model units, but a knowledgeable potential buyer would take the time to investigate further. And buyers who need financing may have problems with finding a lender for a 20+ year old unit, but that's probably a small segment of potential buyers at this price level. I suspect that many lenders classify FWC's in the leisure vehicle category and associate fast depreciation with the age of the unit.
My biased viewpoint has always been that the year of the build is only one factor in the price equation, with condition of the unit being a significant factor. I believe some of the modern materials used in recent year models are superior to older materials, but the Eagle you mentioned likely has some of these upgrades. For instance, the newer type of lifting panels made by FWC are some type of composite material that shouldn't absorb moisture and warp like the old ones, and the new one-piece roofs are superior to the older 3-panel ones that have many screws that need to be resealed (ask me how I know...).
In the case of the Eagle you mentioned, you can easily see that it hasn't been abused and it was well-cared for. A big plus in my viewpoint as I'm the owner of a similar 2001 Eagle. IMO, most of the 2000 to approximately 2005 models seem to be very similar and it's often hard to differentiate the actual year. There was a FWC owner change during those years and it took the new owner several years to start to implement significant changes. As time went on, the canvas, roof and other materials gradually changed, for the better I hope. I've also seen many 5-10 year models (approx 2011+) where the owner(s) have certainly enjoyed and utilized their campers but things get normal wear and tear and sometimes are worn, rusted, and water damaged and the unit generally needs lots of TLC.
For a historic price reference, I bought my 2001 Eagle around 2016 and subsequently had the factory do most of the same upgrades on the Eagle you mentioned. Mine was probably a 6 or 7/10 when I bought it but my purchase price + upgrade costs is almost the same as the asking price you mentioned. I don't know if others feel the same about paying that price for a 2003 in that condition, but I would.
An Eagle vs a wider camper, such as a Fleet, will depend upon your current truck, your style of truck camping and your personal preferences. The Eagles are of special interest to many potential buyers because of their size and they are not made in that size any more. I have a late-90's Toyota Tacoma and I didn't like the side overhang of the larger models. It would of required larger side mirrors and just didn't feel right. The Eagles were made for those smaller trucks of that era, and potential buyers generally are looking for that. At the same time, after several years of ownership, I can definitely appreciate more interior width with the right truck. There are times when a few more inches of floor width would make life easier when camping with my wife and some sports gear and stuff. We are also backpackers, so we pare down our "stuff" and utilize what we have. Some day I'll be ready for a bigger truck and a bigger camper.
If you upgrade the ice box and add solar, be prepared to spend at least a $2k-3K for combined frig, panels, controller and lithium battery. It's a worthwhile upgrade depending on how you use the camper, but before spending any money, use it as-is for a few trips to get a feeling for what's important to you.
As somebody on this site has said, go sit in the camper before buying and see how you feel. The right camper will feel right to you.
And if you get the 2003 Eagle and then decide you don't want it, talk to me first! You might have an interested buyer.
Edited by Wildcat, 06 November 2021 - 07:48 AM.