Outlined below is a brief history along with a features & specifications list for the classic GMC Motorhome. Check out our resources page for links to websites with more in-depth information and technical data.
Motorhome Features & History
The Classic GMC Class A RV was produced in 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978. This motorhome is unique in that they are the only recreational vehicles to date that were made by a major auto brand (General Motors).
In most cases, in the past, present and conceivable future; motorhomes are built by RV manufacturers on bare frames (chassis) and drivetrains supplied by top auto makers such as GM, Ford, Chevy, Volkswagen and others.
For reference, major RV brands / producers include Thor Motor Coach, Fleetwood, Gulf Stream, Winnebago, Coachman, Holiday Rambler and National RV.
At the time, as they do now, GMC was supplying empty shells to RV makers who were customizing interiors and creating specialty vehicles for unique purposes such as mail delivery, mobile training facilities and ambulances. During the period of 1973-1978 however, GMC was also building the bodies and in-house interiors to create motorhome enclosures for more than just the camper concept.
The aim of General Motors was to make this motorhome a flagship vehicle for them. On top of being able to sleep individuals, these classic motorhomes were designed with travel in mind. Featuring a full integrated body, front wheel drive and a low profile; they were designed for a variety of purposes.
Originally known as the Travel Vehicle Streamlined (TVS-4), the official announcement date of the GMC motorhome was February 7th, 1972. The design process was worked on by 12 engineers and involved a completed scaling of clay models, until a finally full size model was made for tooling and dimensional drawing purposes.
The classic GMC motorhome was built in both 23 and 26 foot lengths and was heavily influenced by the Cortez from the Clark Equipment Corporation and the Revcon Motorhome. Listed below are further specs for these vintage RVs.
GMC Motorhome Specifications
The original GMC motorhomes were made with the following specifications.
(Note some of these features were options)
- Front-Wheel-Drive Transaxle
- Oldsmobile 455 cu in (7.5 L) & 403 cu in (6.6 l) V8 Engines
- GM-Designated Turbohydramatic 425 Automatic Transmission
- Wide Chain Drive
- Air Suspension
- 25-US-Gallon (95 L) Gasoline Tanks
- Front Disc Brakes / Rear Drum Breaks (4 Wheels)
- Front-Wheel Drive Configuration
- Roof Air Conditioner
- 30 Gallon Freshwater & Holding Tank
- 9-11 MPG Fuel Economy (Comparable to Modern Motorhomes)
- Cruise Control
- Air Conditioning
- AM/FM/8-Track Sound System
Body Construction & Design
GMC motorhomes were made with a rigid frame with welded aluminum extrusions. The body frame was mounted on the chassis steel ladder frame using body isolators. An aluminum and fiberglass body with aerodynamic styling and wrap around windshield gave the RV a then advanced look. GMC RVs are historically significant for the large spread of windows which impacted the entire industry at the time.
The interior of the GMC motorhome featured marine plywood flooring, except for areas where it sloped up or other extreme angles; these sections were plate aluminum.
The body panels themselves were fiberglass (fiber reinforced plastic) for the lower portion with the uppers and roof panels being sheet aluminum.
The inside of the RV featured numerous storage spaces with lower compartments providing room for generators and propane tanks.
Many original motorhomes were fitted with generators from Onan in both 4K and 6K watts.
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