GMC RV: Real Reasons to Restore

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GMC RV: Real Reasons to Restore

GMC RV: Real Reasons to Restore

The freedom of the open road—lots of people long for the exploration that comes with having an RV. For many, however, owning one seems out of reach. The cost of a new motorhome varies widely based on the brand, the size, and the number of amenities, running from $24-thousand to as much as $1-million. You can drastically lower that estimate by opening your search to include used models of reputable brands.

Related Read: Buying a Used RV: What to Look For

Consider, for example, the GMC RV. Between 1973 and 1978, GMC produced sleek and stylish motorhomes that were comfortable and easy to drive. Before that, if you wanted a home on wheels, you either got a travel trailer or something akin to a bus. General Motors changed that, which is one reason that their rigs are some of the most popular to restore or renovate today.

First, They Have a Formidable Foundation

Mounted on a steel ladder-frame chassis like those found on trucks, with an Oldsmobile Toronado front-wheel-drive transaxle, this "hot rod" came in models either 23 or 26-feet long. With a unified power-plant package, larger than usual front wheel rake, and front wheel drive, passengers get a comfortable ride while drivers enjoy extreme maneuverability. The self-leveling rear-wheel air suspension means setting up your campsite is a breeze. This was innovative for its time.

Related Read: How to Choose the Right RV Chassis for Your Needs

But, What's Under the Hood?

With labels like "rocket" and "turbo" under the hood, the RV's power is obvious. The GM features a 7.5-liter Oldsmobile, 455-cubic-inch Rocket V8 engine combined with a 3-speed Turbo-Hydromatic, 425 automatic transmission designed by GM.

The Exterior

The aerodynamic design of this RV looks modern even today. Fiberglass and aluminum sheets cover the welded aluminum frame, and a wrap-around windshield add to its somewhat futuristic appearance.

Unique on contemporary roads, the GM exterior—when restored to its original paint—grabs attention with the pallet that was typical for the 1970s. Plus, the larger than usual windows that GMCs became known for revolutionized the cargo-style enclosed campers that were popular at the time.

The Interior

Unlike other RVs, GMC's interior was exclusively designed (and built) at the company. The goal was to create an apartment on wheels, so the floor plan for the living space was "homey" providing a full kitchen with mini-fridge, stove range and oven, 2-basin sink, and an eat-in area with bench seating and a table. With a den-like arrangement, the living-space in the back doubles as the sleeping space. The restroom is in the back for privacy. With new fixtures, the interior can be entirely updated or you can totally restore it to its former glory.

Related Read: Expanding Tiny Spaces with Multi-Functional Furniture

In Conclusion

The GMC motorhome has become something of a cult-classic with renovators due in part to its durable materials and practical style. With its smooth and powerful ride coupled with the innovative interior, you can likely find a "preloved" version for a fraction of what a new camper would cost. With a little care, these vehicles often hold-up better than new ones, and they can make a great project for a hobbyist.

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Carrie Todd


Carrie Todd

Initially, Carrie became a freelance writer, editor, and artist to support herself doing something she loves that also allows her to travel. Living in her Tourmaster coach, she has spent no more than five months in one place since October 2013. This ensures that she gets to experience the constantly changing scenery that accompanies the yearly seasonal changes, as well as meet new people across the country. She has since become a LuLaRoe Independent Fashion Consultant, as well to further this endeavor. In fact, Carrie considers herself fortunate, as most people have to be of retirement age to enjoy the sort of freedom she has, with every day bringing something different.

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