Cheap Classic R/V! 1973 GMC Motorhome

This 1073 GMC Motorhome is an unfinished project that sounds like it was very much on its way to being a reliable cross-country cruiser before life or other events got in the way. Details like a rebuilt Oldsmobile 455 engine and new laminate flooring are the kinds of details you read about in projects that are nearing the finish line, not just starting out. Regardless, the seller acknowledges that he never finished the mechanical rejuvenation of this retro-cool camper and it’s now up for grabs, likely needing to be towed from its current location in Lakeside, California. It’s listed here on eBay where bidding is just over $3,000 and there’s no reserve.

The good news is the engine will start and run; what’s harder to assess is how long this GMC has been down for the count. The seller notes the generator hasn’t been run in 15 years, so whether he’s owned it that long or he knows of its history going that far back, the GMC is at least a known quantity to him. The rebuilt engine may have been completed under his watch, but it isn’t disclosed how long ago that work was completed. The listing notes numerous other smart repairs, like a new “high capacity” water pump and repaired radiator, along with all rubber fuel and cooling system hoses. The bodywork looks decent, and the seller claims that the aluminum body is dent-free.

The interior is a mixed bag: it’s complete, but what is there looks pretty dingy. If I had to guess, the seller worked his way through a punchlist of mechanical fixes and then either lost interest, time, or both when it came to the needed interior refresh. Now, my guess is that it will look worlds better with just a good steam cleaning and maybe some new rugs. You can live with the old-school upholstery patterns for sure, and I’d even recommend you keep them in place to maintain the proper vibes for a motorhome made in this era. The curtains look decent, but the carpets in the driver’s compartment continue the theme of needing a good cleaning, The factory radio is missing, but the dash otherwise appears complete.

The seller notes that he got halfway though some of the interior refurbishment before work started. The dinette was removed to put in the laminate wood floor, and only kept the table and associated hardware (I’m guessing this means some of the seating was removed? Not sure.) The bed frame in the rear was disassembled to install a new water tank, a project that was never completed and the bed frame remains in pieces today. Overall, not a ton of work for someone familiar with RVs in general, and if the mechanical work checks out, that’s some serious heavy lifting done for the next owner. No mention is made of attention to the suspension or tires, so there may be more work left to do in that area – but for the price, it’s cheap enough to take a chance.

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Comments

  1. Don H

    A 1073 that’s a dang old RV.­čśé

    Like 14
    • Tony Primo

      Must be the one Fred Flintstone drove!

      Like 6
  2. RobRoy560

    Based on the comments here, this is why I lease. It’s no longer dumb. The complexity of the electronics is real serious issue. It’s not like holding on to something that’s mostly mechanical and relatively easy to fix. My 2018 Nissan needed a windshield replacement. Safelite had to reprogram the vehicle for the emergency braking system.

    Like 8
    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      One of the reasons I eschew certain technology.

      If its an improvement then the fail mode better not be worse.

      Electronic ignition great, but add several car computers just to go down the road, they are losing the thread.

      Like 2
  3. Dave Mathers

    I remember visiting an Orlando RV dealership in 1973 driving our 24 foot C-class motorhome and falling in love with these magnificent units. LOVED the tandem rear axles!!

    Like 4
  4. Car Nut Tacoma

    This is my idea of what a motorhome should be. It’s small enough that anyone with a driver’s license can drive without special training to drive, but it’s large enough for two, maybe three adults can live in it while traveling cross country. The only upgrades I’d give it are a 6.5 litre Detroit Diesel turbo diesel engine and reliable automatic gearbox to go with it. I’d also give it wi-fi access, so that you can communicate with people while you travel. Otherwise, it looks perfect. 1973, that’s the year I was born! Wow! To see something that old that’s still driveable, that’d be awesome! :)

    Like 3
    • Poppapork

      I dont understand the giving”wi-fi access to it”, if you laready have smartphones on the trip you can turn “hot spot” on one of them and connect the rest of the devices to it.

      Like 6
  5. Mike

    Insert Stripes comment here

    Like 9
  6. Maestro1 Member

    No.

  7. Sunshine

    By the door location and layout, this is a 26′ GMC, versus the shorter 23′ models. It is also the base floor plan, and since this is a first year model does not have one of the exotic packages including exterior stripes and busy interior material upgrades. Color code denotes this as a Glacier model, blue exterior, glacier interior.
    The early models had the Oldsmobile 455 FWD set up and are considered more desirable than the last models with the Olds 403 FW set up. Tremendous club support is available for these unique and timeless RVs.

    Like 6
  8. PaulG

    Looks like a real good deal if you do the finishing yourself.
    BTW Jeff, the body on these are fiberglass, not aluminum.

    Like 7
  9. PaulH

    Not quite PaulG. The front and rear caps are f/g, the rest is aluminum.
    We have a 1975 26′ show model with some odd features: mid dry bath, rear bunk beds, screen door, and an under dinette floor compartment for snow skis. Single roof air says it was sold north of the Mason Dixie line.
    In over 350,000 miles we have made a few upgrades: 6 wheel disc brakes, aluminum wheels, modified transmission chain drive to give 3.55 final drive ratio, laminate flooring, new padded vinyl ceiling, leather covered dash, new front seats.
    Have to say, NOTHING rides as nice with the air ride rear and large torsion bar front suspension. The lower final drive allows 12-14 mpg with the cruise at 65.
    Someone needs to grab this bargain but they need to be aware of the size of project it is.
    And be ready to answer a million questions every time they stop!

    Like 4
    • PaulG

      PaulH, I have always thought these body’s were 100% fiberglass.
      I stand corrected, thanks.

      Like 3
      • Ronald Pottol

        They are SMC (sheet molded composite, like a Corvette), for the end caps, and bellow the windows, aluminum from the belt line up and the roof.

        Like 1
  10. Jonathan Q Higgins

    Luckily this is far away from me. Last thing I need is another project

  11. G-W

    My 98 Grand Caravan needed a power control module. The Chrysler dealership service department asked where I wanted it towed, ie it was now junk! I thought differently since only 120k kms, and got a rebuilt one for a fraction of the cost of a new one from Chrysler.

    I have a shorty 23ft version of this GMC. Always starts up. No power control module to go bad, and these are really well built, hence why such a high percentage have survived. The old corrugated motor homes of this era were junk in comparison, with their rotten structural timbers due to leaks, while these GMCs had floors only 13 inches off the ground.

    Like 1
  12. claudio claudio

    one can spend a whole lot of time and money on these old coaches
    they have structural issues up and down
    roofs leak to the floor and the frame under the rv rots away
    dont get me wrong ,these are great machines but there will be issues
    and one is better to know beforehand …

  13. chrlsful

    gimmie the Vixen,
    usea cummins/allison in this 1.

    Wrap head to toe in glass or alu~
    The lill Scamp (egg) gots the right idea!

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