Update on the WSM Classic, 1880 from Ebay



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Some of you may recall, portions of this story, but a week ago, I fully intended to order a new WSM from Amazon after cooking a butt on my Platnium. When I signed in to AOL, I had a message from Ebay notifying me of a WSM listing. It was $35 "buy it now" and I couldn't believe it. I bought it immediately and posted the link here for you folks to see.

A couple of astute members immediately recognized it as an old classic, made in the early 1980's, a 14 inch wsm that was made for 3 yrs before being replaced with today's version. I was quickly disappointed at this revelation but a couple of members offered to buy it or trade for a standard wsm. For various reasons, mostly shipping related, that didn't work out, so I called weber to tell them what I had in case it was of interest to them. Long story short, they were absolutely thrilled at the possibility of getting this unit. They asked me what I wanted for it and I said a WSM. They eagerly asked if I wanted to wait and get one of the new 2009's. I felt the 22 was bigger than what I needed, so I gladly accepted their offer for a 2009 18 inch WSM due in October.

Interstingly, through the process, I had regular communication with DougEP and Bill Hays, both of whom offered great input through the process. In fact, as it turned out, the 1880 was located just a few miles from Doug and near Weber's manufacturing facility so he offered to pick it up from the ebayer and hand deliver it to Weber personally. Not only did this save on shipping but more importantly, it assured me the wsm would arrive at Weber's facility safely. Doug dropped it off today and was personally greeted by Ken Stephen, who is the son or grandson of the founder of Weber.

A huge thanks to Doug for everything he did to help out, I appreciate it. Both he and Bill were not only helpful, but I made a couple of new friends in the process.

It was really an interesting process, and great fun. Weber was thrilled too, so a win/win. Apparently, when Doug dropped the 1880 off, Ken told him that was the first one they've ever gotten back, so they were very pleased. Some might say I could have gotten more than a new WSM, but I rec'd more than I ever expected and am delighted with how it worked out, both for me and for Weber.

For those who did not see the original wsm, here is the link. Also, I believe Doug took some pictures, so maybe he'll be kind enough to post a few.

Sounds like a win-win situation. If it was not going to be used, I'd agree that getting it back to Weber is the thing to do...and you got a new WSM for $35!!!
Stuff like this just doesn't happen often enough. An absolutely spectacular story. It's hard to believe that Weber would want a used product back. They sold thousands of them. I don't really see a major novelty in them getting one back. But then again, I'm sure they're happy to have the increased word of mouth friendly advertising from us all talking about them.

Either way, it is a win-win. It got you a brand new WSM, for next to nothing, and it got Weber a bump in the PR department for next to nothing as well.

So, to clarify, were they willing to send you a new 22" early?

No, they were not offering a 22 early, nor a 18 early. I was offered a current model wsm or i could wait and get a new 2009 next month when they are released.

Regarding the PR, I definately don't believe that is the motivation at all. Take a look at the post SigP placed in the Trading section of this forum. They are looking for certain rare or less common pieces for display. I asked Ken why SigP was looking for such pieces and he said Europe has a huge enthusiast base. I'm also not sure they sold thousands of the little unit I stumbled across. They only produced them for 3 yrs+- and as a new product, I'm not sure it was well known or understood, plus, it was a bit small, hence the redesign shortly thereafter.
Originally posted by Tom Chips:
Stuff like this just doesn't happen often enough. An absolutely spectacular story. It's hard to believe that Weber would want a used product back. They sold thousands of them. I don't really see a major novelty in them getting one back. But then again, I'm sure they're happy to have the increased word of mouth friendly advertising from us all talking about them. ...
Personally, I think Weber realizes that they screwed up in not keeping one or two of each Weber product produced for future display. And displaying slightly used but in very good condition units, either in front of offices or in a show room, is great IMHO. When I 1st met my wife, I was pure Contemporary and she had all these antiques all over the place. Well, I'm a convert! Nothing from my early days remains and we have a lot of "old stuff" around and I keep looking for more .. Much more! LOL

Dave, glad it worked out for you!
I would have loved to come down to visit my parents and brothers that still live in the Orlando area (and you
) but with a trip planned in February and the kids in school (and the price of gas these days
), a trip just couldn't be justified right now. Had you been in IL, where I initially thought you were, there would have been a completely different outcome!

Can't wait to see some pics from your "NEW" WSM cooks.

Take care,

that is so cool. you got bragging rights that that unit was yers and you donated it to the weber museum. you get what you wanted for a great price. as mentioned, win win.
Man that's really great!

I've always liked my Weber products, but the more exprience I, or others have with them the more I like the company as a whole.

Great snag David.
I tried to document as much as I could, since these are so rare most of us have probably never seen one. Click on thumbnail to see larger image. Click on the large photo to zoom in for details.

Some enamel chipped off.

"Weber" logo is no longer visible on handle.

Date code "E"--1983

Grates are the same size, lower probably rusted out and they bought another Smokey Joe size, which is slightly too big.

Lower grate is too big to fit down past the bolts.

Water pan is held much tighter than 2880.

Note the notch filed in the door handle, filled with white, to indicate when door is locked.

Inside of door shows this little 1880 was probably used heavily when new...

...as does the center section.

Charcoal ring has rusted through and broken.

View of bottom bowl.

Width 10.75".

Depth 2.0",

Ken Stephens, son of George Stephens, proudly receiving the first 1880 back for the Weber Archives.

This is the brick pit George Weber had built in his backyard in the early 1950's. He had a barbecue, and burned all the food. Subsequently, he developed the kettle from buoys being made for the Chicago Park District for use in Lake Michigan. This was recently located by the Stephens family, and moved brick by brick to Weber HQ. Note it is made of the classic Chicago Pink Brick.

David, I again Thank You for the opportunity to be of assistance with this.

Chris, when delivering this, Ken mentioned that you had been there to visit recently, and clearly stated that this is the first 1880 that they have received back! If you visit again, please contact me so we can meet--and so I can go with you on the inside!

Edit: to post pics from the original eBay listing.

Doug, nice pics, thanks for posting. Since it was never shipped to me directly, I didn't have a good perspective on the condition or anything else. It's a neat unit, though it is not as "clean" as I thought based on the surface rust. I see the marker on the knob for the door, so obviously a unit that was well used.

I rec'd an email from Ken Stephen today and he said the unit was in very nice shape and he had it in his office. Apparently, it was generating lots of conversation around Weber since they don't have that model. He told me he was very pleased with it, so that's good.
Great story and posts. Great to see that Weber was able to get one for their archive. Man those 1880's are cool. Reminds me of R2D2

If I ever see one, don't know that I oculd resist.