Personal Shuttlecraft! Two Rectrans Discoverer RVs

Todd FitchBy Todd Fitch

Sometimes your planet’s atmosphere is too turbulent for beaming about using the Transporter, and you have to take the Shuttlecraft. Simply fork over $4000 for this package deal of two Rectrans Discoverer 25 RVs here on Detroit, Michigan craigslist and (after significant additional investment and hundreds of hours of labor) you can completely eliminate that problem. Thanks to Alan S. for suggesting we feature these unique Recreational Vehicles.

The Rectrans pedigree begins with the vision of designer Larry Shinoda who famously penned the 1969 Boss 302 Mustang and Mako Shark Corvette. Rectrans built a single model for three years, from 1971 to 1973, producing fewer than 2000 in all (thanks to viewrvs.com for some details).

Like many classic RVs, the Rectrans interior looks like a combination of OEM parts and whatever was on sale at the local mobile home supply store. Beneath that furry engine cover lies a Chrysler-sourced 413 cid V8 and a bulletproof 727 three-speed automatic transmission. If you’ve never eaten a can of beans or Dinty Moore Beef Stew cooked to perfection on a van engine while driving down the road, check out Manifold Destiny by Chris Maynard and Bill Scheller.

I learned to drive on a Plymouth wagon featuring this same “Totally ’70s” color scheme, and it looks just as awesome in this RV, though the toxic carpet is probably due for replacement. While the 413 is neither a Hemi nor a Max Wedge variety, it could provide competent motivation, though I might consider aftermarket EFI. The seller’s description suggests that this pair gives you enough to make one complete (though certainly not pristine) example. Rest assured you’ll have the only one at the KOA. It’s hard to put a price on these rare and unusual beasts, but how about $4000?

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Comments

  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    You know you’d have to get up in the morning as a stylist and say to yourself I’m going into work and I’m going to design the ugliest RV I can possibly draw. And then I’m going to give it the stupidest name I can think of ( transrec ? ) and then we’re going to pitch it to the public and their going to like it. Man are people gullible. I’d rather be like Jeff and drive a Taurus and that is lowering your standards.

    5
    • Howard A Member

      Think of the designs that didn’t make the cut. Reminds me of the Star Wars “AT-AT”, without the legs. And the name, “Rectrans”, bound to conjure up some kind of rear end joke. All that aside, I bet it was a nice unit when new.

      17
    • KawiVulc

      Hey now… never mind the one in my own driveway, a friend of mine who commutes even farther than I do has four or five in his family & just might pop you one for that… no, come to think of it, he wouldn’t give a crap what you think. Just like I don’t.

      9
      • MFerrell

        I like them, too. They have a nice retro-future space-age thing going on. I would have guessed them more late 70’s to early 80’s, they would have been really futuristic in ’71!

        2
    • Brian

      I laughed out loud at that one

    • CanuckCarGuy

      I appreciate the fact that someone put some thought into the design, rather than the typical straight-line box you’d expect… quite an aerodynamic unit for the day. We’ve lost the craft vehicle industry, in exchange for craft breweries… progress isn’t always for the better.

      1
    • Lagunatich

      Ok folks. Early 70s. Industry leader Winnebagos were boxes with corrugated siding. For the era, this was an attractive alternative during the era of bell bottoms and leisure suits. Give the designer credit for trying a more integrated and contemporary design.
      I saw one of these as a teenager and thought it was the coolest motor home ever . . . and no contemporary competitor came close, at least until GM did their own in-house design. I see this as a trendsetter of the era.

      1
  2. Mike

    Looks like the designer did the back half and let his 7 year old kid design the front half.

    3
    • adam

      It does remind me of a drawing I did in 4th grade. Silly sci-fi spaceship picture in 1978

  3. Andy

    The Pontiac Aztek says, “Daddy!” This is as big a fall from a stylist’s peak as Exner going from the ’57 Forward Look to the ’60 Valiant. I would love to see the interiors of these things.

    13
  4. Mountainwoodie

    One of these grotesque monsters, in beige no less, has been sitting outside a muffler shop in the backcountry of San Diego County for some time now.. Hideous doesnt begin to describe it

  5. KawiVulc

    This thing is a miracle on wheels… it has absolutely zero design cohesion. Forget one of these things is not like the others… *none* of these things is like the others. Makes the Wagon Queen Family Truckster look completely normal by comparison. Honestly, if I ever encountered one on the road I think I’d likely have to pull over and lie down for a while. Simply amazing.

    8
    • LAB3

      Using flat planes to connect two curved shapes (the front and rear) almost never works well from an aesthetic point of view, although using triangles instead of rectangles would certainly help. Then again, it’s much easier and way cheaper to make flat glass as opposed to curved.

      2
  6. John m leyshon

    OMG !!! Just sent this one to my buds..1K each and elbow grease lol ..

    2
  7. Mike R in De

    I’d use the engines and transmissions from these for a Mopar project power upgrade. 413s were good solid, high torque engines. Big accessories from motor homes are a great find for any hot rod project. Make one a runner, the other an engine donor. Good luck to the new owner and seller.

    3
  8. Kenneth Carney

    Reminds me of the Ark II vehicle used in
    the ’70’s TV show that featured a group
    of young people exploring the earth after
    an apocalyptic event left the planet in a
    shambles. Wonder if the same fellow
    designed that vehicle too. At least that’s
    what this RV makes me think of when-
    ever I see one. Definately not your Dad’s
    Winnebago!

    5
    • KevinLee

      Hi Kenneth. The ARK || was designed by the Brubaker group. Most people assume it’s the same vehicle by Dean Jeffries from the Damn nation Alley movie.

  9. leiniedude Member

    4K for 2 cottages? Drivable deer camps, ice shack? Deal if things are nice inside. Spent time in worse. Deer camp is so fun though!

    2
  10. ccrvtt

    If I recall correctly, Bunkie Knudsen got involved with this outfit after Henry Ford II cashiered him from FoMoCo. He was wooed from GM to replace another of The Deuce’s whipping boys – one Lee Iacocca. It was sort of a mystery why Bunkie would attach his name to such a grotesquerie, but I guess he felt he needed a job.

    I think the Rectrans was assembled in Brighton, Michigan, not known as a hotbed of imagination while I was growing up. Larry Shinoda can be excused on the grounds that the good he did outweighed the bad. He’d probably rather not be known as the designer who inspired the Aztek’s stylists many years later.

    Leiniedude is right – perfect deer camps. The bright white exterior is easy to find in the event you answer nature’s call in the middle of the night. On the other hand the deer will be laughing their asses off at you.

    3
  11. Dean

    “Road kill stew sounds mighty tasty, Granny”…barring anything wasn’t found that day, Dinty Moore stew would make a palatable substitute. Barely 😐

    3
  12. Lroy

    What we have here is a wind tunnel driven design. It is so common today, all cars have become so monochromatic because of the mighty wind tunnel. I like these ugly ducks, lots of potential and with the right paint job they will still be pretty as your sister. But at a base line of 10mpg with the addition of modern drive train I bet a soilid 18mpg can be achieved.

    3
  13. Farhvergnugen

    Looks like The Wrectum, the RV that ate an Aztek hole.

    (as in, in one piece)

    3
  14. SlowCode

    A black one of these was featured in the 1973 movie “Slither” with James Caan and Peter Boyle. It ominously followed them as they drove around looking for some hidden loot.

    2
  15. Madmatt

    What a strange looking beast…,I would like to see one of the TV
    shows…customize this thing..!..,now that would be a challenge..!!
    Its going to take more than an LS6 and some dropped air bags..
    to get it to the point where someone will over look it’s looks…haha.
    could be really cool though with some kind of space themed vinyl wrap..?

    2
  16. Homeydodat

    Looks like a garden shed mated with a dodge van…if you listen closely you can hear the designers soul dying of shame.Ugly says this is ugly.

    3
  17. Martin

    You guys all make the mistake of thinking the designers gave a crap what it looked like. The game was and still is to stuff as much comfort and as many amenities as possible into the allowable space. Modern RVs are no different. Just boxes full of stuff.

    3
  18. That Guy

    I’m clearly in the minority here but I like these things, and always have. Yes, I was a weird kid.

    4
  19. nrg8

    Prolly loaded with haunta virus. Oddly kinda looks like a rodent.

    1
    • Mark S.

      I see it too, like a giant guinea pig on wheels.

      2
  20. Moparmann

    One of these identical to the gold one was temporarily parked near a salvage center recently. I wanted to check it out, but a homeless guy claimed it for a residence for the 2-3 days before it meet its’ demise. With the all fiberglass body, I’ll bet they didn’t get nearly as much as they figured they would for the scrap value!! 🙂

  21. CanuckCarGuy

    I had to read the tagline twice, to realize it said Rectrans…. rather than being an anatomical reference. I thought maybe Todd was referring to the folks that found this unit!

  22. Gaspumpchas

    The stingray is light, the slicks are startin to spin,
    but the 413’s really digging in.
    Grab the mills and junk the rest. this thing really hurts your head to look at. Good luck.

    Cheers
    GPC

    1
  23. Fiete T.

    Anybody remember the TV show “Logan’s Run?”
    This looks like one of shuttles or whatever. I was a little kid

  24. U.K. Steve

    I just love it , I wonder how much it would cost me to ship them both over to the U.K ?, will make a welcome change to the rows of Citroen , Peugeot, ford and Mercedes campers at a typical European campsite , oh yeah I can
    almost smell the freshly mown grass and mouldy carpet .

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