Purchase Your Own Collector’s Motorhome

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Purchase Your Own Collector’s Motorhome

General Motors first joined the recreational vehicle industry in the 1970s. The business set out to develop the perfect American motor house, drawing inspiration from the exuberance of the historical period. It was their goal not to just build another competitor in the already crowded vacation car industry, but to create a top-of-the-line vehicle that was cutting-edge in design and construction. During this time period, the most popular design was a boxy, ungainly, and top-heavy machine mounted on a truck chassis. It was planned for the GMC vehicle to have an entirely new design in every aspect of construction. The product’s design phase started in 1970, with the product’s release to the market scheduled for 1973. The motto for the GMC commercial said, “Doesn’t look like a box and doesn’t ride like a truck.”
In a number of aspects, the new vehicle would be exceptional for its time period. First and foremost, it was to feature front-wheel drive, which was a novel idea in automobiles at the time and unheard of in mobile homes. The Oldsmobile Toronado’s drive system and suspension were used in the development of the Toronado. With a 455 cubic inch Oldsmobile engine producing 265 horsepower, the car was equipped with a Turbohydramatic 425 gearbox and torsion bar suspension. General Motors’ bus design was used in the rear suspension, which consisted of two swing arms, one leading the way and one following, as well as a single air spring on each side. Instead of using steel for the body, lightweight aluminum and molded fiberglass-reinforced plastic, similar to that used in the Chevrolet Corvette, were to be utilized.

In comparison to the typical motor home design, the front wheel drive and independent swing arm rear suspension were a significant advance. The absence of driving shafts and axles under the coach allowed for a very low floor height, which in turn resulted in a low total vehicle height and a low center of gravity for the vehicle. Aside from making it simpler to enter and leave the vehicle, this also lowered the chance of a rollover and reduced wind resistance, making the vehicle considerably safer and easier to operate for purchasers who are solely familiar with automobile driving. A six-wheel braking system, which included disc brakes on the front wheels and drum brakes on all four rear wheels, further improved drivability by reducing stopping distance.
When it came to previous motorhome designs, they were primarily concerned with the usage of the vehicle as a temporary residence after it had arrived at its location, such as an extended stay in an RV park or a camping area. The ease with which one could travel to their location was just a secondary consideration, and the difficulty with which one could maneuver on the road was taken for granted. GMC made a specific point of improving sight from the driver’s seat, which was made possible by a panoramic expanse of glass that wraps around the vehicle.
The motor home was available in two lengths: 23 feet and 26 feet, which were both quite short for the time period. Models that are much bigger are becoming more common. The inside design of the mobile home was kept to a minimum since there were no permanent sleeping places in the original layout. When necessary, all of the beds were converted from sitting spaces.
Hot water was given by water heaters that used motor coolant loops to generate water that was so hot that it may have potentially provided a scalding danger due to the fact that coolant temperatures were often more than 200 degrees F. The refrigerator was powered by a conventional car battery, which was only capable of providing electricity for overnight usage before needing to be recharged.
Transpro ’72, a trade expo held in Washington, D.C. in May 1972, was the first time the prototype was presented. Producing the Model 230 and Model 260, which were 23 and 26 feet in length, respectively, began in 1973 with the introduction of two types. Both with a finished interior for the general public and unfinished for other RV manufacturers like Avion and Coachman, who then completed their own interiors before reselling them to customers were available. There were 30 different floor plans to choose from, with prices ranging from $35,000 to $40,000.
The GMC vehicle saw minor modifications throughout the years, with the most noticeable change being in 1977, when the 455 cubic inch engine was replaced with a 403 cubic inch variant in response to the global energy crisis. This decade was difficult for all RV makers, as the rising cost of gasoline forced huge gas-guzzling vehicles off the road and out of the market altogether. After realizing that the GMC motor home had never been sold in large numbers, the firm determined that the RV manufacturing facilities might be more successfully used to manufacture light vehicles. It was decided to end manufacturing of motor homes after 12,921 cars were manufactured, which occurred during the 1978 model year.
GMC motor homes became collector’s goods almost immediately after manufacture halted, and owners’ groups were formed to offer parts and service for the vehicles in question. Small manufacturers and garages created a cottage industry to service them, which is still in operation today. The acquisition of all motor home production supplies by Cinnabar Engineering in 1992, at a time when General Motors was preparing to destroy all remaining tools and components, resulted in an arrangement for the company to continue to provide parts for the company’s discontinued cars. A monthly magazine called GMC Motor Home Marketplace was launched in 1992, and in 1994, Cinnabar began producing a quarterly newsletter called GMC Motor Home News, which is still in publication today.
The vehicle’s futuristic appearance has even made its way into popular culture, thanks to die-cast copies of the GMC mobile home produced by Mattel Toys for its Hot Wheels series. There are more than 50 distinct GMC Hot Wheels models available, and in 1977, Mattel issued three toy GMC versions as part of a Barbie Doll Star Traveler campaign to coincide with the launch of the Barbie Doll.
More than 8,000 devices have been registered by their owners, demonstrating an incredible level of customer loyalty and product endurance. Websites that market motor home components, engines, and modifications, as well as antique automobile rallies, may be found by searching for the term “GMC Motor Home” on the internet, which returns 771,000 results. Used GMC motor homes may be purchased for between $10,000 and $15,000, depending on the condition of the RV.

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