Strictly speaking, a GMC motorhome is not really suitable for our purposes: front-wheel drive, fairly low ground-clearance and no world-wide service network. But it certainly inspired us to undertake some investigation into the world of bus conversions with its notion of a fully-integrated body. You can find more about those investigations on our Bus Conversions page.
GMC: the archetypal motorhome
Built by the GMC Truck & Coach Division of General Motors from 1973-78, it was the only complete motorhome built by a major auto/truck manufacturer. Three years of design and development work preceded the first year of production and it was built in 23 and 26 foot models (7.0-7.9 metres, which coincidentally matches the recommendation for an overland camper – there is definitely food-for-though here in terms of floor plans and fitouts).
Wikipedia has a very good summary of this particular motor home and we’ll not duplicate the information you can find here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GMC_motorhome
Continuity and Restorations
Fourteen years after the last vehicle rolled off the production line, GM were preparing to scrap all tooling and any remaining parts inventory. Enter Cinnabar Engineering which, in 1992, purchased all the motorhome property from GM and negotiated a license to provide OEM parts for the vehicles, assuring availability of quality parts for the foreseeable future. You can find them here: Cinnabar Engineering http://www.thegmcmotorhomepeople.com/
Despite a relatively short life, the GMC is regaining popularity among aficionados of vintage motorhomes and with that, a thriving industry of restorers, parts makers and repairers has established itself. As testimony to the enduring nature of the design, it is estimated that, of the 13 000 units manufactured, 8 000 to 9 000 are still registered. That’s not bad for a product line that lasted only 5 years.
Co-operative Motor Works is one such restorer and you can find their site here: http://www.gmccoop.com/. There are a number of examples of their work that have given us some good ideas for the interior design of a bus conversion, should we go in that direction. And it’s a direction we may well take as our research unfolds… There is something inherently appealing about the fully-integrated body design.
GMC Motor Homes for Sale
From our “lost in the South Pacific Ocean” perspective, it seems that eBay and Craigslist are the most likely places to find any of these classics their current owners may wish to part with. The only specific marketplace we could find was Bethune Sales http://www.bethunesales.com/listings/ but if you know of any others, please add them below.
Clubs and Newsletters
Also in 1992, GMC Motorhome Marketplace was introduced providing a major source of information and advertising, both commercial and classified, for the GMC motor home owner. We have not been able to find how to subscribe so if you know about this, could you let us know in the section below. Many thanks.
In 1994, Cinnabar began publishing their own quarterly newsletter, GMC Motorhome News, which details proper service, modifications and parts availability. You can subscribe here: http://www.thegmcmotorhomepeople.com/news/
There are a number of clubs formed around this classic motor home and GMC Classics is one such club. By all appearances, it seems to be going strong with four seasonal rallies: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall per year. You can find their site here: http://www.gmcclassics.com/
GMC Motorhome Parts
For any vintage car, boat, aircraft or motorhome, parts are always the issue. The aforementioned Cinnabar Engineering provides a parts book you can find here: http://www.thegmcmotorhomepeople.com/publications/?page=78Z and should provide you with all you need for your classic GMC motor home.
Are You a Satisfied GMC Motorhome Owner?
Do you have a great story about life in your GMC Motorhome? Please, share it right here!