Back in the 70s, GM was a newcomer in industry when it comes to making RVs. They wanted to take it by storm. At this time, they wanted to create a true home on wheels. It wanted to edge out its competition by create a design that is top of its class. However, General Motors did not want to just be another name in the industry, it wanted to stand out. It wanted to do away of he current RVs design and make something new. And surely they did.
They started making the design at the start of the decade and was introduced three years later. They ran under the slogan, “Doesn’t look like a box or ride like a truck.” The slogan alone held high expectations. It felt like demining the other manufacturers of RVs of that time.
GMs design for the vehicle way years ahead of its competition. First difference is the mobile home having a front wheel drive. It was unheard of during that time when you talk about mobile homes. Then the concept of its drive train was to be derived from the Oldsmobile Tornado. This design featured a horsepower that would reach up to 265. It then uses a 455 cubic inch Oldsmobile engine which is connected to a Turbohydromatic 425 Transmission with torsion bar suspensions. The suspensions at the rear were a design made exclusively by General Motors. It has two arms which swings, one was leading the other was following behind, and on each of its side was a single air space. In addition, they kept to their word of avoiding a top heavy design. So, instead of steel, they used aluminum for its body which was reinforced with fiberglass. The concept came from the Corvette from Chevrolet.
The system for the front wheel drive and its rear suspension which swings on its won improved the overall design for moving homes. The absence of its drive shafts and axles resulted to a floor height almost to its minimum. This provided stability for the car by lower its center of gravity. This made the RV a safe driving experience especially to those who are only used to driving cars. Moreover, the addition of a system which had disc brakes at the front wheels. It then had drum brakes on each wheel. This further improved the feel of driving the RV that was made by General Motors.
Back in its early years, RV manufacturers did not concern themselves with the experience that a driver has during the trip to its destination. The RV was more of a temporary bed space, just until it reaches where it wanted to go. But this did not sit comfortably with General Motors. So, they improved its visibility especially at the driver’s seat by adding glass.
But with GMs 23 by 26 foot dimension, the one they designed was small during that time. And compared to this era, larger one are made being made. They continued nonetheless, and neglected the size of the RV. The interiors were compact and it did not have any sleeping areas. The beds which you can find are just spaces converted from the seating installed in the car.
Hot water was not a problem with their design. They used engine coolant loops which produced water that could reach up t more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why precautionary measures were observed. The refrigerator also powered by a battery which last no more than one night. It had to be charged.
And by the year 1972, they featured their RV in a Transpo show at the nation’s capital. Its production started the year after where they started out with two models with differing sizes.
The one sold by General Motors had its interiors complete while those of its partners did not. They designed it themselves. They had numerous floor plans where the buyer chooses his. They were being sold at $35,000 to $40,000.
The GMs revolutionary vehicle started to change later on. Its engine had to adapt during the looming fuel crisis and downsized its engine to a 403 cubic inch engine. This crisis was the reason behind the cessation of big truck production. And instead of RV, General Motors found it more feasible and productive to produce trucks which are light in weight. It was aiming for an optimum use of its resources. So, by the year 1978, all production was halted.
After it stopped, the RVs became a collector’s item especially those of this age. But the astonishment of the market did not stop there. Hot Wheels, a popular toy car franchise, based one of its designs modeling it out from the GMs RV.