Editor’s Note: The following article, authored by RVing Examiner reporter Julian Gothard, details the history and cult-like status of the GMC motorhome. For the full story click here.
It’s been over four decades since the first Michael Lathers designed GMC motorhome rolled off the General Motors Truck and Coach Division production line in Pontiac, Mich., but in the intervening period the venerable steel, fiberglass and aluminum-bodied 6-wheeler, with the Toronado powertrain, has assumed something approaching cult status among the RVing fraternity.
Interestingly, although GM had a long history of building coaches and specialist vehicles — like Loewy and Gegoux’s GMC Scenicruiser and Harley Earl’s Futurliner — this was the first time that Alfred P. Sloan’s automotive colossus had ventured into the manufacture, though not the upfitting, of motorhomes. A first not only for GM but for any global automotive manufacturer and a feat that wasn’t emulated by an automaker until Volkswagen began manufacturing its California camper van range — upfitted by Westfalia — in 1988. GM, too, opted to outsource the upfitting of its new motorhome and selected PRF Industries, manufacturer of Travco and Sightseer motorhomes, as its partner in the Gemini facility. In fact, it wasn’t until 1975 that GM, just like VW in 2003, opted to bring the upfitting of its GMC motorhomes in house.
Manufactured in both 23-foot ($13,569) and 26-foot lengths ($14,569), and offered with a choice of six exterior colors, four interior color schemes and fifteen different floor plans, the GMC MotorHome, dubbed the “pie wagon” by the GMC development team, was well-received by RVers when it hit the sales floor of a select handful of GM dealerships in February, 1973. Although other major RV industry manufacturers gave this new “Cadillac of motorhomes” a more muted response, it wasn’t long before industry luminaries like Coachmen, Winnebago and Foretravel — and even the Coca-Cola Company with a special edition GadAbout GMC MotorHome — joined the party.
For the full story click here.