Categories: News

The GMC Bus Motorhome, or how to convert a bus into a luxury van

For a few days, the american site Mecum list an auction on a named « 1965 GMC Custom Motorhome ». No need to go further in the description of the vehicle to understand that we are not dealing with a normal auction. It relates in fact to a bus, a model from the General Motors GMC chassis series. But this one has had several lives. This GMC Bus is a bit like the Swiss army knife of buses. It served both as a passenger bus, a military machine and, ultimately, a top-of-the-range van (or caravan)!

The explanation behind this multitude of uses is not that complicated. It is linked to the acquisition of this bus by an individual after it had been in use for several years for the US Army. Inheriting a vehicle in rather poor condition (the engine was no longer even functional), this new owner wanted to give it a second life. To certainly make it one of the most luxurious and comfortable vintage vans there is.

A luxury van born from the remains of a military bus

This GMC Bus briefly began its life as a vehicle dedicated to the passenger transport, since it had been designed with this in mind. However, like other buses in its range, it was purchased directly by the American army. The idea is to use it to transport troops around Fort Ord Army Base, a former American military base located in Monterey Bay, California.

Admittedly, the fact that it passed into the hands of the army means that it had been designed with quality materials, especially metal body parts treated against rust and corrosion. Thus, it has always benefited from a very resistant body and chassis. However, its engine eventually blew up and the army sold it rather than spend more on repairing it. It was then that a coachbuilder got wind of the sale and decided to buy it, to make it the model currently offered to auction.

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More than just restoration

The new owner of this GMC thought it might be the perfect model to realize one of his dreams: building a high-end motorhome. And more than a luxury model, he also wanted to design a bespoke example. A caravan incomparable to other GMC transformations. The downside of his project is certainly the time it took. He still had to 11 years to transform it in this dream motorhome. But he still used the best materials and the best know-how he could find.

It is thus magnificently decorated, with a cabin made in high quality wood. As for the technical aspect, this GMC is now powered by a Cummins ISL-350 8.9-liter six-cylinder engine. Which is mated to an Allison six-speed automatic transmission. It is also equipped witha speed regulator electronically controlled, leveling system and Alcoa polished aluminum wheels with Michelin tyres. Which makes it a caravan of choice!

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