Pity the Fool That Doesn’t Buy It: 1973 GMC Motorhome

Ours are not the first eyes to be caught by the epic artwork on the side of this 1973 GMC Motorhome, and they will assuredly be far from the last! There’s more to this Mr. T-emblazoned chariot (and it’s only appropriate that it’s a GMC) than meets the eye, however, and its listing for sale means we get to learn more than we otherwise would. It’s being advertised on rvtrader.com, with an asking price of $19,000—not too hefty a price to pay to follow your dreams, fool! Thanks to reader TJ for tipping us off.

The GMC Motorhome is, of course, a bit unusual to begin with, being the only motorhome ever purpose-designed from the ground up by a major automaker. The Toronado-derived front-drive powertrain in this example benefits from a brand-new 455-cubic inch V8, as well as new batteries, steering gear box, power steering pump and hoses, and various and sundry other new bits. Curiously, the ad also cites “new axles” (plural), but the GMC’s novel construction actually eliminated cross axles for the dual rear wheels; we’ll assume that either only the front transaxle half-shafts were replaced, or that the seller is referring to the frame-mounted spindle assemblies for the rear wheels as “axles.”

The interior of the coach has also been “remodeled,” and from here on out, things look more like a real estate listing than your typical car ad—but I’m sure that’s not uncommon on rvtrader.com. It’s here, too, that we run into problems with the mantra printed on the exterior; the current owner may have been following his or her own dreams, fool, in the choices made during renovations, but my dreams may be going in an entirely different direction. For my tastes, either go totally original—which would have meant lots of wood paneling and questionably colored and patterned polyester—or completely modern. This one seems to tread a middle path, blending old and new, plus some TVs on less-than-sturdy-looking mounts, and ending up not quite working. I do quite like the high-style kitchen sink and embossed tin backsplash, though, if we’re going the modern (as opposed to mod) route.

That’s the rub—the fun of restoring an old RV, like restoring an old house, or even any other custom car or truck, seems like it would be in following your dreams and imagination and making it your own. This one’s already had plenty invested into it—and is priced to match—making it less of a blank canvas. I wish that this one had undergone the mechanical restoration, but not the cosmetics, leaving that part up to the buyer. No question about it, though…Mr. T stays!



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  1. boxdin

    Yea that fake brick paneling needs to go . Of course the whole inside needs to go . That’s the fun of remodeling an rv.
    These are great coaches I would buy one that has already been gone thru by one of the many fans of the brand. Or a few years of labor and at least 10 grand and you can have a real nice one.

  2. Jeffro

    How many FPG does this thing get? FPG= Feet Per Gallon

    • Nathan Avots-Smith Member

      Not many! About 9-11 MPG. Not too far off what anything else with a 455 would get, though; these were quite aerodynamic (Cd of 0.31), and the bodies are aluminum and fiberglas to keep weight down.

    • Grisnatch

      When I saw FPG I instantly thought it meant “Fools Per Gallon”.

  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    Introducing the EM-50, Urban Assault Vehicle. Sorry, I can’t get Stripes out of my mind when I see one of these things. I remember working for GM and actually having one of these in our shop. It had an identical paint scheme to the one in the movie….

  4. Mark in WNC

    Half_shafts are also sometimes referred to as “drive axles”.

  5. Howard A Member

    Probably the nicest motorhome to come down the pike. I’d get rid of those stupid graphics ( I’m sure Mr. T would love to forget that catch phrase, as well). I think 9-11 mpg is a bit optimistic, but still on par with any other motorhome, and clearly better than anything else of this vintage. Sorry, these aren’t rare, and too much money for this. Maybe half.

  6. Red'sResto

    Is that shiplap in the bedroom? Now I’ve seen everything…

  7. Gear Head Engineer

    I’d kill the Mr. T graphics right away. I would love to know the backstory on that.
    Who thought that was a good idea? And why??

    9-11 mpg isn’t too bad – I only get about 10mpg out of my ’64 Lincoln.

    – John

  8. memikeyounot

    I’d pay $20,000 just to get rid of those stupid graphics, but that’s just me. The interior is a little much, but I’m not a camping guy (of any kind).

    • CJ

      About 8 cans of spray paint and several rolls of blue painter’s tape from Home Depot should take care of Mr. T!

  9. Jack Quantrill

    These were fabulous! GM, lost money on every sale due to high production costs.

  10. Rex Rice

    A neighbor has three of these, not running.

  11. Reid Hall

    When Mr. T said follow your dreams he meant pull that big block chevy motor, and save it for your next project. Think about it the motor probably has never been hot roddedicated, but two much money at 19k,so if it were me , l would pass.

    • Ed

      Oldsmobile 455

  12. Keyna Purvis

    Very nice, I like these RVs. I think if I were to change the color I would paint it to look like Mr. T’s van on The A-Team lol.

  13. JRATT 1956

    This guy is DREAMING if he thinks it is worth $19,000.There is a 1977 on the same site for $6,500. No way this one is worth 3 times as much.

    • Jeffro

      Yeah, but this one has Mr. T riding a unicorn!

  14. Dave

    A truly unique design that still stands the test of time, but the interior and exterior graphics are just too weird.

  15. Coventrycat

    Don’t be talking jibber jabber, fool – Mr T rules, even on a unicorn.

  16. Jeff

    These have quite a following, I’m a member of one of the groups as I’ve always wanted one. Most owners say “GMC” means “Get More Cash”. They have a breakdown record very close to VW buses, LOL!

  17. Blinkster

    Summer time machine ONLY. Great highway cruiser until snow falls and you have to attempt mountains that are black ice and snow covered; there is just TOO much weight behind the front driving wheels and you can end in some precarious spots. —Yes a lot of machines are used in the winter skiing time.

  18. David Miraglia

    convert it into a mobile crew room for my bus company. The employees would love it. Plus I wouldn’t need to lease one of those stand alone crew quarters.

  19. chrlsful

    1 model w/similar look was made w/BMW engines, fit in a car garage (hight’n width, not sure bout length).
    This 1 improved w/a cummins & alison…

    • boxdin

      That would be the Vixen, very different from this GMC.

  20. Dave

    Really cool to see an RV made by GMC, and as someone who is new to looking for / at RV’s there is clearly a bunch of history I’m unaware of. I saw something really similar to his on the rvdealers.ca site (without the mr T theme) and they look reasonably well appointed.

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