Home » Someone Turned A GMC Motorhome Into A Car-Hauler And It’s Almost The Perfect Camper

Someone Turned A GMC Motorhome Into A Car-Hauler And It’s Almost The Perfect Camper

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Half a century ago, GMC helped reshape the motorhome industry when it released its Motorhome. The GMC Motorhome was a rare departure from the norm established by the RV industry. It wasn’t a brick flying through the wind but a sleek and futuristic home on wheels that drove like a car. But for how awesome the GMC Motorhome was, what it couldn’t do was haul a vehicle inside. Some people have rectified that problem by turning their GMC Motorhomes into toy haulers. Here’s one of them and you can buy it for a reasonable price.

This first-year GMC Motorhome was sent in by reader Jacob R. It isn’t the first time I’ve seen a vehicle inside of the back of a GMC Motorhome, but it sent me down a rabbit hole searching for more of them. The first build like this I’ve seen was the 1977 GMC Motorhome below, which stored a 2009 Smart Fortwo inside of it.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom
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Facebook Seller

Both were really rough and looked like a Burning Man build gone wrong. A YouTuber tried to save the Smart, but the previous owner ruined it so bad it had to go to the scrapper. Anyway, This 1973 GMC Motorhome sent in by Jacob showed me that turning GMC Motorhomes into a toy hauler wasn’t a one-off anomaly. Others have turned their GMC Motorhomes into toy haulers and they, unlike the one above, don’t have to look like junk. Check this one out!

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This 1973 GMC Motorhome started life as a regular RV with the Glacier trim group, which gave the interior cool blue surfaces and blue shag carpeting contrasted with white walls and with a dash of simulated woodgrain trim. That alone would make for a pretty classy rig, but it wouldn’t stay like that forever. The seller says that his brother, who sadly recently deceased, took the Motorhome and turned it into a toy hauler for vintage Minis.

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A GMC Motorhome That Hauls Minis

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Before we launch into this custom build, here’s a quick reminder about why these are so great. This is courtesy of our wonderful Daydreaming Designer, the Bishop:

The state of RV design in the early 1970s was crude, even the good ones like Winnebagos: corrugated metal, pink insulation, boxy, curve-less designs on heavy chassis. They were charming, but crude as hell.

GM took a clean-sheet approach, and attempted to make something that was better than driving a giant shed, and at least attempted some degree of aerodynamics. The company took its tidy front-wheel drive V8 powertrain from the Oldsmobile Toronado and Cadillac Eldorado and plopped it down in a bespoke chassis with a nice low floor, no driveshaft, and plenty of room for fuel, fresh water, and disgusting water tanks, and then dropped on that an extruded aluminum frame covered with fiberglass and aluminum body panels.

The rear had twin axles with independent air suspension, and the result was something roomy and comfortable and not horrible to drive.

Part of what makes the GMC Motorhome brilliant is the fact that it drives more like a van or a car than the typical Class A coach. Those, which were and are still often based on a truck chassis, drive like bricks trying to fight wind. A GMC Motorhome’s air suspension, low floor, and the Oldsmobile Unitized Power Package all help it drive a lot better. Something I hadn’t considered is that the low floor would make the Motorhome a decent candidate for a toy hauler.

Toyhaul

According to the seller, the motorhome was gutted from the side door and back. In doing so, the bedroom, bathroom, and about half of the kitchen were lost. Along the way, all water storage tanks were also removed, so while the coach’s sink remains, there isn’t any running water onboard.

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The gutted parts were transformed into a garage that’s sized just right to haul vintage Mini Coopers. Photos included with the listing show that there was a lot of work put into the garage portion of the Motorhome. The car parks on a metal floor and are secured in place using metal wheel chocks on both ends.

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The floor also has D-rings to secure the vehicle further. I could also see those being used to perhaps lock down a motorcycle or perhaps a side-by-side. I love how the hatch for the garage incorporates the rig’s original bodywork. That detail makes for a far cleaner look than the basic ramps and doors I’ve seen with many school bus hauler conversions.

The garage measures 68.5 inches tall, 74.5 inches wide at the top, and 64.5 inches at the wheel wells. No length is provided, but the compartment appears to be large enough to fit classic small cars, Japanese kei cars, some UTVs, or a modern city car. A Smart Fortwo will fit, as can a modern Fiat 500 if you’re careful. A Can-Am Maverick X3 can fit if it’s parked on the wheel wells.

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Also in the garage area is a bed on a lift. The bed lifts up to make clearance for the toy in the garage, then comes back down when it’s time to go to sleep for the night.

It’s Still A Camper, Sort Of

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At some point in the rig’s history, it was also given a partial restoration. There’s a newer refrigerator, new cabinets, and a new couch. The Glacier interior trim appears to have gotten replaced as well, but the new trim seems to be closer to green than blue. That partial restoration also saw the 455 cubic inch Oldsmobile V8 powertrain getting rebuilt. It should be making around 265 HP and has driven 26,000 miles since the rebuild. The restoration also swapped out the factory instrument cluster for aftermarket gauges.

The seller says that this camper would make a great restoration project, but honestly, I’d keep it as a toy hauler. Toss a container into one of those cabinets and you can make that sink work again. Store a microwave and a camp stove into those cabinets and you’ll have a working kitchen again.

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The lack of a toilet could be solved somewhat with a cassette toilet (or shitcase, as our readers say) and a portable shower can keep you clean. These aren’t perfect solutions, but this really isn’t a coach you’ll be going off-grid with, anyway.

I can see someone cramming a side-by-side or a pair of motorcycles inside and then enjoying a full-throttle weekend with their friends. Sure, you could buy a purpose-built toy hauler and get a real kitchen and bathroom, but it won’t look as cool as an old GMC Motorhome does! The seller of this 1973 GMC Motorhome Glacier wants $14,500 for it, which seems reasonable considering what appears to be quality work. I love this coach because hauling small vehicles is exactly what I would do with an old Grumman LLV if I could ever find one of those for sale. If you happen to have some tiny cars or maybe a motorcycle or two in need of transportation, this GMC Motorhome build can be yours from the seller in St George, Utah.

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(Photos: Seller, unless otherwise noted.)

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Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
11 months ago

Wait, I’m confused. What’s a toy hauler?

ScottyB
ScottyB
11 months ago

GMC Motorhomes are worthy rabbit hole any day. Glad to see this one brought back. I suggest we issue an official proclamation that whoever murdered it out shall be drawn and quartered. Or tarred and feathered (with vegan poly-fill, naturally). Or both.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
11 months ago

what’s the lever on the far left of the driver’s footwell that looks like an upside-down emergency brake lever? Just that?

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
11 months ago

This is one of the worst ways to ruin GMC Motorhome…

By the way, GM should not have ended the Motorhome production after five short years when the E-platform’s UPP system switched from macho TH425 gearbox to sissy TH325/TH325-4L in 1979. GM could have continued building the Motorhome in the 1980s and updating it for the 1990s and beyond along with newer diesel engines.

As usual, GM seems to have the strong penchant for screwing up everything as soon as the product got better and better.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
11 months ago

I’m glad to see someone doing a well executed version of the obvious GMC Motorhome mod. The rear panel is bolted on because the interior modules were prefabricated and loaded in from the rear so turning the fixed panel into a door is a logical step.
Since the interior of this rig is mostly gutted it should be possible to work a new kitchen in with plumbing and a stove and at minimum a cassette toilet with an enclosure even if it means sacrificing the dinette and making it 2 seater.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
11 months ago

I’m seeing a Mini Moke in that space. Drop the windscreen and top frame and you could resurrect some of the storage/living space above the “garage.”

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
11 months ago

If you happen to have some tiny cars or maybe a motorcycle or two in need of transportation, this GMC Motorhome build can be yours…

Somebody needs to look in the mirror.

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
11 months ago

Why do I get the mental image of Mercedes reading that passage out loud in front of her wife, while coughing and clearing her throat suggestively and waggling her eyebrows up and down like a little kid 6 weeks before their birthday?

Iain Tunmore
Iain Tunmore
11 months ago

Is the stolen mini estate car-Twitter hunted down and recovered last week?

https://twitter.com/PaulWoodford84/status/1661686183095681024?s=20

J Money
J Money
11 months ago

Great, now I want a GMC Motorhome again.

For anyone else now with the itch, there are some GORG builds here:

https://www.gmcmi.com/motorhomes-for-sale/

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
11 months ago
Reply to  J Money

These things are so awesome, and every time I see a gallery like that I want one more.

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
11 months ago
Reply to  J Money

Stop that. I have only wanted one since I got the Hot Wheels version. In 1980.

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
11 months ago

I saw one of these motorhomes on the road here in Colorado just last week! What a beautiful machine. As nicely as this build was done, I feel like it has ruined this wonderful rig. If it was me, I’d rather just tow the car behind on a trailer or dolly and keep the full functionality of the RV. To each their own, though.

Speedway Sammy
Speedway Sammy
11 months ago
Reply to  Dar Khorse

Yeah what’s the purpose here? Tow your mini to an autocross or SCCA race? Or car show?

Jacob Rippey
Jacob Rippey
11 months ago

YES! Always stoked when my tips make it as an article. Saw this RV and thought that the Autopians needed to see it.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
11 months ago

While I can appreciate the ingenuity of the RV owner in converting it into a toy hauler, I feel the loss of a very collectible and innovative RV that now has been ruined.

ヽ(●゚´Д`゚●)ノ゚

Last edited 11 months ago by Shooting Brake
ADDvanced
ADDvanced
11 months ago

Oh man, I legit started planning this back in 2013/14 or so. I went so far as to get detailed drawings of the GMC motorhome, and the distance between the rear wheel wells is JUST wide enough for a narrow body Porsche 911 (77 and earlier, non turbo). I photoshopped stuff up for it and everything. Definitely would be a cool ass build.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
11 months ago

This concept will keep evolving until in the far future, it becomes Ark II, right?

James Davidson
James Davidson
11 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

You just need the Roamer!

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
11 months ago
Reply to  James Davidson

And an intelligent monkey copilot. Really, that’s the one I actually want.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
11 months ago

Minis, eh?
“Hang on, lads; I’ve got an idea.”

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
11 months ago

I have a Austin mini countryman wayfarer, yes a mini motor caravan. It would fit nicely, you could have the beginning of an automotive Russian doll. Drive the whole lot into the trailer of a big rig with a sleeper cab. Every time you pulled into a campsite you would have to cook turducken!

A. Barth
A. Barth
11 months ago

Woohoo, the EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle!

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
11 months ago

seems to be a specific car hauler with some seats, not a RV. I would spend my money elsewhere. Nice build though.

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