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GMC Collectible Motorhome

In the 1970′s, General Motors entered the RV market. Drawing on the exuberance of the times, the company set out to create the ultimate American Motor home. Their aim was to produce a top-of the-line vehicle with cutting-edge design and construction, not just another competitor in the already crowded vacation vehicle market. The common design in this era was a boxy, ungainly and top-heavy unit on a truck chassis. The GMC vehicle was intended to be a completely new design in every way. Design work began in 1970, with the market introduction planned for 1973. “Doesn’t look like a box or ride like a truck” was the GMC ad slogan.

The new vehicle would be unusual for this era in several ways. First of all, it was to have a front wheel drive, a rare concept in cars of that day and unheard-of in mobile homes. The drive train and suspension were taken from the design of the Oldsmobile Toronado. The 265 horsepower 455 cubic inch Oldsmobile engine was attached to a Turbohydramatic 425 transmission with torsion bar suspension. The rear suspension was a product of GM’s bus design, using dual swing arms, one leading and one trailing, with a single air spring on each side. Instead of a autobody steel, the body was to be made of lightweight aluminum and molded fiberglass-reinforced plastic such as was used in the Chevrolet Corvette.

The front wheel drive and independent swing arm rear suspension brought great improvement to the standard motorhome design. The lack of drive shafts and axles underneath the coach allowed a very low floor height, leading in turn to a low overall vehicle height and lower center of gravity. Aside from easier entry and exit, this reduced rollover risk and wind resistance and made the vehicle much safer and easier to operate for buyers accustomed only to car driving. A six-wheel braking system, with disc brakes on the front and drum brakes on all four rear wheels, further enhanced drivability.

Previous motorhome design focused mainly on the use of the vehicle as a temporary home once it had reached its destination, an extended stay in a mobile home park or a camping spot. Ease of getting to the destination was of secondary concern, and cumbersome handling on the road was taken for granted. GMC made a special point of targeting this feature for improvement by adding visibility from the driver’s seat with a panoramic expanse of glass.

The motorhome was featured in 23 foot and 26 foot lengths, fairly small even for this era. Nowadays, much larger models are common. The motorhome’s interior design was compact, with no permanent sleeping areas in the original design. All beds were converted from seating areas when required.

Hot water was provided by water heaters using engine coolant loops, which produced water so hot it could actually present a scalding hazard since coolant temperatures usually exceed 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The refrigerator was powered by a standard automotive battery, adequate only for overnight use before recharging.

The prototype was first displayed in May 1972 at the Transpro ’72 trade show in Washington, D.C. Production started in 1973 with two models, Model 230 and Model 260, 23 and 26 feet long respectively.
They were sold with a finished interior for the public as well as unfinished to other RV manufacturers such as Avion and Coachman, who then provided their own interiors before reselling to consumers. 30 different floor plans were available, and models were priced from $35,000 to $40,000.

The GMC vehicle changed slightly over time, the most notable alteration coming in 1977 when the 455 cubic inch engine was replaced by a 403 cubic inch model in response to the energy crisis. This decade caused hardship for all RV manufacturers as the increased price of fuel pushed large gas guzzling vehicles out of the market. The GMC motorhome had never sold at high volumes, and the company decided that the RV production facilities could be more profitably used to make light trucks. After the manufacture of 12,921 vehicles, production of motorhomes was discontinued after the 1978 model year.

Almost immediately after production ceased, GMC motorhomes became collectors’ items, with owners’ associations being established to provide parts and service for these vehicles. Small manufacturers and garages developed a cottage industry servicing them. In 1992, as General Motors prepared to scrap all remaining tools and parts, Cinnabar Engineering purchased all the motorhome manufacturing supplies and negotiated a deal to continue to provide parts for the discontinued vehicles. In 1992, a monthly magazine called GMC Motorhome Marketplace was introduced, and in 1994 Cinnabar started publishing a quarterly newsletter called GMC Motorhome News.

The vehicle’s futuristic design has even found a place in pop culture: Mattel Toys created die-cast versions of the GMC motorhome for its Hot Wheels line. More than 50 different GMC Hot Wheels are available, and in 1977, Mattel released three toy GMC versions in a Barbie Doll Star Traveler promotion.

In an amazing example of customer loyalty and product durability, more than 8,000 units are still registered by owners. An internet search of “GMC Motorhome” produces 771,000 results, as sites advertise motorhome parts, engines and upgrades as well as classic car rallies for owners. Used GMC motorhomes sell for $10,000 to $15,000 depending on the condition of the vehicle.

Moving and Relocation Tips

Shifting houses can be a daunting task especially, if you are moving into a new city as well. You are looking at lots of paperwork, the physical shifting of luggage and settling down and also the emotional upheaval that is normal during these times. If you have very young children or ageing parents to look after as well, this can be one of the most trying times of your life as you have to ensure their comfort during the whole process and need to settle into the new place at the earliest.

Here are some moving and relocation tips to ease the process for you:

1. Start by making a complete checklist of errands to do in their logical order. If you plan going through a packing and moving company, they might supply you with a schedule of what you need to do 8 weeks in advance, 4 weeks in advance and then 2 weeks in advance. This can be used as a guide for the days ahead. If you are looking at moving overseas, it might be a good idea to hire a relocation company

2. Ensure all your bills are paid up on time. You don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute paying late fees!

3. It’s a great idea to get pre-printed address labels of your new address and carry some with you at all times. It’ll make filling up forms and notifying people about your relocation so much easier.

4. Change addresses on your bank accounts, credit cards, magazine subscriptions at least 2 weeks in advance to your relocation so that everything is processed and ready by the time you are moving out.

5. When you’re doing the actual packing, label the cartons with different heads (e.g. Kitchen, master bedroom, children’ room) so that on reaching the new house they can be sent directly to the room they need to be unpacked and arranged in. That way you do not have to keep running around giving directions.

6. Pack any stuff that you might need first, like groceries, linen, first aid kit, some toys to keep kids happily occupied etc. in a separate box and mark it “Open first”. Keep this box in the moving truck right at the end, so that you can unload it first.

7. Collect your medical and dental records, your children’s original school records, and any other important originals much in advance of your relocation, so that you have enough buffer time at hand and don’t have to delay any plans because of the process.

8. If you plan to carry your car with you while moving to another state, check if your auto insurance company can transfer you to that state, or if you need to buy new insurance there. Every state has different insurance rules, for example OH car insurance state regulations might be different from those in PA. Make sure you know these well in advance as you don’t want to be caught driving without insurance as soon as you enter the new place.

9. Ask a friend or neighbor to keep a close watch on your mailbox till a few weeks after you’ve moved out of your old home and to forward any mails that might come in occasionally.

10. Check in advance if your relocation company also ships pets and plants or you might have to make special arrangements for them to be moved.

11. Remember to cancel your local newspaper, rental library, cable and other subscriptions at least a few days before your relocation, so that you do not forget at the last minute. Collect stuff from your dry cleaners, empty out your gym lockers, if you’ve given any stuff for repair, pick it up well in advance so that these can be packed and sent with the rest of the cargo.

12. Make photocopies of all your important documents and pack them in two different bags while keeping originals with you at all times.

13. Make sure you get renters/ home insurance as soon as you settle into your new place because you are most prone to theft when you are still new to a place and in the process of settling down.

14. Last but not the least; carry your original documents, passports, house deeds and valuables like jewelry etc. with you while shifting. You don’t want to misplace any of these while relocating.

Moving can be very stressful especially if you are shifting to a new place that you’ve never been to before. To make the relocation easier on yourself and your family members, plan in advance and keep a checklist of errands ready so that you can quickly settle down into your new life with minimal discomfort. Hope these moving and relocation tips help!

Canadian Automotive Artists

While Canada does not figure prominently in the manufacturing of automobiles the country does have artists who are enthusiastic about automobile subject matter. One of these is Paul Chenard. Paul graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design with a BComDes. Graphic Design in 1983. He is now employed by Communications Nova Scotia, as a graphic designer. Communications Nova Scotia is a government relations industry whose mission is to project the image of Nova Scotia to the world. However, cars have been his passion since childhood. He spent innumerable hours drawing any object mounted on wheels. He collected toy cars and even melted them down to create new ones. Paul still collects toy racecars, racing board games, vintage magazines, and history books about racing. His art specializes in the history of racing particularly Grand Prix Sports and GT. While, like most automotive artists, he supplies enough detail to identify the car and the race, his ultimate aim is to depict the feeling of competition that the spectator watching the race experiences. Paul’s artwork has its whimsical side as well. He also creates usable art such as greeting cards and T-shirts. Racecar driver Phil Hill is a favorite subject and Paul has not only pictured Hill in his winning Ferraris on greeting cards but has honored his racing success with a series of archival prints.

Gordon Drysdale is another Canadian devoted to automotive art. Gordon was born in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada and his artistic talent and love of automobiles were evident in his early childhood. In 1988, Gordon decided to devote his energies full time to art. He first worked in oils but then changed to acrylics. He has also worked in other media including watercolor, conte and pen and ink. Gordon’s style is realistic as he endeavors to capture the nostalgic and historical appeal of the automobile. Many of his pictures show vintage autos in period scenes. His works have been purchasing by corporate clients and two of his paintings are displayed in the permanent collection of the Province of Ontario. In 1999 Gordon won national first place in the Art of the Automobile competition sponsored by the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. Then in 2000 he won national third and national second in 2002.

Chris Phillips is another prize winning Canadian automotive artist. He was actually born in England but his parents immigrated to Canada when Chris was a teenager and he still lives there. Chris first worked for an advertising agency but when the agency closed he accepted a job in a service station. Later Chris decided to return to school and obtain a degree. After graduating with a BA and MA in history, he was employed by a community college first as an instructor, and later as an administrator. After ten years, he decided to launch a full time art career. Chris devotes himself exclusively to painting antique, classic, sports racing cars, Formula 1 and Indy cars. He received an Award of Merit at the 1996-97 Art of the Automobile Competition sponsored by the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada.