Daniel DiManna
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The Rise and Fall of the 1973-1978 GMC MotorHome

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The 1973-1978 GMC MotorHome exterior and interior
This sleek recreational vehicle was decades ahead of its time
Photo: GMC

During the 1960s and 1970s, General Motors was experiencing great success. With its vehicles flying off of dealership lots and new innovations creating better vehicles every year, the sky was truly the limit for GM. All of this success led to some interesting new experiments and ambitious projects. This is the story of how one of those projects — the 1973-1978 GMC MotorHome — broke new ground before being canceled prematurely.

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The story of the 1973-1978 GMC MotorHome

In the early 1970s, GM set out to redefine a burgeoning segment: the commercial recreational vehicle. RVs were nothing new at the time, but had yet to evolve into the high-tech, reliable machines they are today.

In 1973, GM unveiled its ambitious plan via illustrations of a new, eye-catching RV to be released by GMC. In an age where RVs were giant, rectangular machines built on truck frames, this new MotorHome stood out from the pack. With sleek curves, a space-age look, and nary a truck component in sight, it was immediately a game changer. The RV was unveiled with the following tagline: “It doesn’t ride like a truck. It doesn’t look like a box.”

The 1973-1978 GMC MotorHome was a true marvel of engineering. Its airplane-shaped body and rounded front created excellent aerodynamics, and its low ground clearance created a better center of gravity. From its drivetrain and lightweight construction to its interior space and 26-foot-long body, GMC’s new RV was unique unto itself.

The MotorHome was produced for six years, during which time a total of 12,921 units were made and sold.

Despite this success, the vehicle would ultimately stop being produced in 1978. The reason: GM wanted the factory space to produce trucks. Today, this decision is regarded as a major oversight. If the MotorHome had continued its production, it likely could’ve become an “evergreen” vehicle, recognizable and reliable enough to be produced right up to today. It could’ve continued to revolutionize the RV segment, and made GMC a top player in the RV game. Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure.

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Even after nearly five decades, the 1973-1978 GMC MotorHome remains reliable to this day. It’s estimated that around 8,000 examples still exist in perfect working condition.