Arnie and Florence Schwab look at each other and smirk when asked why they have four classic GMC motorhomes.
“It just happened,” Arnie Schwab shrugs.
As reported by Driving.ca, they bought their first — a front-wheel drive, 40-year-old 26-foot Palm Beach model — with Arnie, a well-known Vancouver-area auto upholsterer, intent on tearing apart the interior and redoing it. The rebuild was put on hold when he found another Palm Beach GMC Motorhome that didn’t need as much work.
“It was cheaper to buy the second one than the redo the first,” he explains while surveying a row of similar motorhomes at a club barbecue on his South Surrey acreage.
As often happens, his interest in the very unusual General Motors-built coaches led to other purchases. His third purchase was the first issue 1973 GMC motorhome originally purchased by the late Peter Toigo, whose family owns the British Columbia-based White Spot Restaurant chain and the Vancouver Giants junior ice hockey team. Then, word-of-mouth led to the purchase of a second 1973 model.
The Schwabs aren’t alone in their enthusiasm for the 13,000 GMC motorhomes built between 1973 and 1978 by what then was the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer. An estimated 8,000 of these exotic stand-alone motorhomes are still on the road.
They have a cultlike following with clubs, motorhome meets, rolling rallies, companies specializing in replacement and restoration parts and devotees who wouldn’t vacation in anything else.
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