Donated R/V: 1978 Travel Queen

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Ah, the ballad of the forgotten motorhome. These once-grand rigs that likely belonged to an original owner with dreams of the open road and the excitement of uncharted destinations so quickly become yesterday’s news once they hit a certain age. Of the many things in life that lose value exceedingly fast after being a big-ticket purchase not all that long ago, the motorhome has to be on the top 10 list of rapidly depreciating assets. This 1978 “Travel Queen” listed here on eBay with a popular donation center is in decent condition but has the typical water and roof damage that will likely keep this no-reserve listing quite cheap.

The Travel Queen brand is just one of many different RV manufacturers that tried to carve out a space in a crowded niche market, using off-the-shelf parts for its various components, from headlights to engine choices. The listing is fairly vague about equipment sources, but from what I can deduct, a Travel Queen motorhome likely used Chrysler 440 power, which would make this a desirable specimen for parting out if the price stays cheap enough. It seems like more often than not, that’s the more likely outcome when someone actually wants to bring a massive project like this home – rip out the engine and scrap the rest. What car or truck do you think those taillights came off of?

The interior is complete, and for some reason, I was drawn to this swivel chair which looks like it belongs in the living room of a house from the Brady Bunch era. That’s actually not likely all that far off in terms of describing the origin of inspiration for a motorhome made in this timeframe, and the good news is that despite the claimed water and roof issues, it doesn’t appear to be a mold-ridden horror show inside. All that said, you’ll still want to account for some level of stripping down the interior and removing potentially hazardous materials if you do intend on reviving this Travel Queen for road-going use (as opposd to just using it is an engine donor.)

The shame of it is that if this were a car or truck that had been left standing for years at a time, we’d be marveling at its overall good condition despite the extended period of neglect. Because it’s an RV, the fact that it has survived in decent nick accounts for far less in terms of a value proposition. The seller notes that the generator does not work, nor does the air conditioning and that it will also need new batteries. The engine only starts with starting fluid so count on the fuel pump being dead as well. A vintage motorhome project is always a labor of love, but once in a while, there has to be an example that is worth saving. Is this one of them?

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  1. JohnfromSC

    Agree, swap the engine into your E body or B body. 1978 was the last and best year for the 440 engine. Not in terms of performance, but rather block design and strength. With the right pistons and modern free flowing heads and cam, easy to get 500HP normally aspirated.

    Like 4
  2. 64 Bonneville

    quite a few other vehicles on their e-bay page, not very high priced. all are no reserve, appears they run for 5 days, and take the top bid. Info states they will help with shipping vehicle and have clean title to vehicles they sell. Naturally sold as is where is. might be a great deal if you live in California, They are in the city of Orange.
    As far as the motorhome, if you really want a motorhome, this might be a cheap way to get one, but shipping costs might be somewhat astronomical, especially if you are on the east coast. Would be really different at cars and coffee.

    Like 2
    • Boredoomm

      Meaning the CA DMV wants this registered, smogged and taxed in California.

      Like 2
      • John EderMember

        Not necessarily- you can (could?) get a one time “trip ticket” without paying registration/sales tax/smog to transport a vehicle, such as out of state. A former employer of mine who sold used heavy duty trucks used to tow a small pickup behind the big truck and meet the buyer just over the California/Nevada border. The sale took place there, and after the paperwork was signed, the company driver came back in the pickup.

        Like 2
      • Mario

        CA DMV wants EVERYTHING TAXED IN CALIFORNIA! After that they don’t care what you do with it. Lol

        Like 0
  3. Maggy

    Drive it to it’s resting place and make it a hunting cabin.

    Like 15
    • Grant

      The way the economy is heading, many a soul might cherish this as a place of residence.

      Like 12
      • Robert

        great idea.

        Like 2
  4. V

    what if you pull walls down and discover black mold. might be a coffin instead of a motorhome. if theres no mold get a case of flex seal and spray the seams. no ac i thought west coasters were a tough bunch and could handle triple digit stinking heat. i think roadkill did a show on an rv 440. i think there experiment turned out well. shag carpet looks ok so if you use it to haul motors and trannys the shag soaks up the leaking oil. i say buy it and gut everything but the mattress. at least you will have a place to put your head down…

    Like 0
  5. Handsome MD

    Likely candidate for parking in a rarely accessed part of the desert and cooking meth in.

    Like 6
  6. SteveG

    “This RV is dope as F#@k Mr. White!”

    – Jessie Pinkman

    Like 6
  7. Ward William

    Huge potential if you know your way around tools and can snag it for no more than 3k. Modernizing the interior a bit is cheap, new carpet and sofa covers and some modern vinyl or paint over all the old flat surfaces. Only thing that scares me is that long butt. Looks like it should have had twin rear axles.

    Like 0
  8. butchb

    Highly likely this will end up as California’s version of low income housing. You see these old MH’s all along the streets of L.A. It’s essentially legal to park them on city streets overnight. If the owner/resident keeps it low key they stay along one street for a few days, then move a short distance and that’s their next “home” for a while, repeat the process over and over and you’re a “rubber tramp”, homeless on wheels.

    Like 0
    • V

      its sad the richest country in the world cant solve a housing problem…

      Like 2
  9. Commander Ken

    In regards to the 78 Travel Queen, the ol girl just needs a little love. Ok maybe a lot of love but this one would be a great Regional type trip camping RV. I have a 86. With a little love it has been a Great Regional camping experience. Give the ol Girl a chance.
    Commander Ken

    Like 0
  10. PRA4SNW

    SOLD for a whopping $1,425.

    Like 0
  11. Blake, does my opinion really matter???

    tail lights, first guess, 77-79 ford pinto. Now I’m leaning towards chevy monza sedan. Regardless, Travel Queen? Omg I miss the days when we could say king and queen without ridicule. Now it’s he/him, she/her, they/them, OMG enough already. I had a King of the road 5th wheel. I’d be roasted today for it. I love watching old game shows, whenever the prize is a new Speed Queen washer I’m laughing so hard inside. Who knew then a brand of a friggen washer would be so non PC circa 2023? I hope this Travel Queen gets a home and the love she/her (he/him?) motorhome/moneypit? deserves

    Like 0

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