Looking at purchasing a used 4 wheel marathon vehilce for a 15.2 hand Morgan. I have about $3500 to $ 4000 to spend. What is the best brand? Is it possible to find a good used vehicle in this price range?
I paid $4500 several years ago for a used pony batmobile. You may have to look awhile to fine one in that range.
Kuzman isn't much more (or didn't use to be)for new. You may want to look at those.
There are lots of good vehicles for that size horse. Prices for new will range from 5,000 to 15,000 or more. Not sure what you will find used.
You might want to have a good metal person go over the vehicle with you. Welder, body shop repair person, someone who has experienced eyes to look at metal, be able to tell if it has been repaired or needs repairs to be safe.
Some marathon vehicles may have had a hard life. You may find cracks in metal or welds, uneven tracking, bent wheels. Parts that were not maintained well, like hubs, fifth wheel area. They might have been tipped over, dragged in a wreck or bashed on posts or solid objects. Some have been well repaired, others have not.
People buy marathon vehicles because they are solidly built, designed to take a bit more abuse than the wooden types. Some vehicles get tested to the limits or beyond with their owners.
MANY marathon vehicles NEVER have been damaged beyond a paint chip or two as you climb in or out. Perfectly kept up in all areas.
You need to have someone with you, that might notice problems on the vehicle that you would miss. Point them out, decide if they are a problem or not, so you make good choices.
As mentioned, you may have to hunt around, but vehicles are out there. You might do some research on various makes and models, ask folks who own those types. What do they like or dislike about each? There are reasons many folks stick with certain brand names, they keep their values up even with age. People love them, brag them up all the time. There are other brand names you may want to avoid because of previous problems they displayed. There is NO BEST vehicle for every person. You have to ask around to learn more about carriages. Most folks will be straight, if you ask about their driving vehicle choice at an outing, show, picnic.
Driving a vehicle can make you like or hate it because it doesn't fit YOU. The more vehicles you drive before purchase, will show you what you prefer, options you desire on your vehicles.
I'm thinking you want to at least double your price range to get a good quality marathon vehicle.
Best manufactured brand far and away is KÜHNLE. In Europe they sell new upwards of $18,000 US equivalent. Second hand between $9,000 and $13,000. I'm sure someone here would be able to tell you actual US prices.
I also rate ECC vehicles as being excellent for marathon cross country phase.