King Of The Road: What Would You Do With This 1976 GMC Motorhome?

King Of The Road: What Would You Do With This 1976 GMC Motorhome?

Stop humming the music from the movie “Stripes”, we know that the GMC Motorhome was the basis for the EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle. We also know that it was one of General Motors’ better ideas in their history: a prepackaged engine/powertrain system that opened up everything from the engine doghouse back as wide and accommodating as possible, with a shape that didn’t look like a dumpster with wheels on it. If you need to understand just how radical the GMC was when it debuted, look up what a 1973 Winnebago looks like for a comparison. Here’s a hint: it’s only slightly more aerodynamic than a brick. The GMC used the powertrain that you would find in an Oldsmobile Toronado, a 455ci V8 (403ci Olds in the last couple of years) attached to the THM-425 transaxle. That front-drive setup, combined with a full frame and rear suspension that had no rear axle but instead bogies mounted on a pin on each side, left the interior wide-open. For a vehicle that was only in production for six years, the GMC Motorhome has become an icon the world over.

With a fiberglass/aluminum body that resisted rust, a considerable amount of these RVs are still in existence and every now and then the idea to fix one up creeps into my head, much like the idea to try a converted school bus. But unlike the bus idea, the Motorhome has it’s perks. All you have to do is find one that is worth cleaning up, and that’s where this 26-foot 1976 version comes into play. Pay no mind to the “Glenbrook” name, it’s simply a color/trim package, one that honestly, could use an update. Or maybe not…the photos make it difficult to determine if the seating surfaces are in good condition or not. The 1970s carpeting really does need to be scrapped for anything else, but mechanically everything seems in order: an engine that was gone through recently, a transmission that was recently rebuilt, Bilstein shocks, a new generator setup, new airbags for the rear suspension, a new roof air conditioning unit, and more. If you’re willing to overlook an “oops” moment that happened near the propane tank door and are willing to get the passenger windshield fixed, you can opt into one of the more unique and innovative vehicles General Motors ever made.

That windshield will be expensive, no doubt. And no, it won’t act like a diesel pusher and you aren’t living in modern luxury. But it’s gotta be said…it’s growing on me a little. What about you?

eBay Link: 1976 GMC 26-foot Motorhome

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10 thoughts on “King Of The Road: What Would You Do With This 1976 GMC Motorhome?

  1. Matt Cramer

    Steam clean it, install shag carpeting and a disco ball, and – well, trying to make a set of 8 tracks work well and play disco music all the time might be taking the joke too far. So I’ll settle for a modern stereo loaded with plenty of Blue Oyster Cult, KISS, and Black Sabbath MP3s.

  2. geo815

    paint it to resemble the Hess motorhome model that came out in the early 80’s. not exact, but close enough.

  3. Truckin' Ted

    I love these, and although a bit complicated to do…….a 4″ to 6″ chop of the roof line would look so much better.

  4. bruce k bridges

    just finished bringing my 75 gmc eleganza back to life. 1.5 years of 12 hours/weekend with my buddy rich and its ready for the road. if you are looking for one, and its never been renovated, then expect some big labor hours to re seal and redo the various systems. Its a vehicle i never thought i wanted until i got it. its like drivibg down the road in your private executive suite. i left a lot of the 70s vibe in the GMC because its cool. drivetrain is really basic. responds well to modern efi!

  5. Shawn Fox Firth

    Applied GMC in Newark CA is the go to for these Magnificent Beasts . the wife has suggested we pull stumps and tour after our nest is empty .. .If that ever happens .

  6. Bruce K Bridges

    Parts are readily available for these coaches from a couple of suppliers although there are a lot of interior parts that are unique (made by GMC only for the RV) that can be hard to replace if you are looking for a 70s tribute OEM style restoration. Suggest having some cabinetry skills as well as the original woodwork was of high quality but can be a bit tricky to re-create. Im loving the Rosewood Formica in the Eleganza (to each his own…) . It took a bit of searching to find some that was close enough for repair work to the original formica. Did not replace the flooring with OEM style shag carpet however… That let me remove the OEM built in vacuum system and convert its cabinet into a bar!

  7. 75Duster

    Ozzy Osbourne used one of these motorhomes while on a US tour, I found out about this fact while watching Jack and Ozzy on A&E.

  8. David Jeffries

    I have 2 of these.
    1 is a 1976 Elaganza 455, that we tow a sports car with, when we go camping. The interior has been refinished, but we still need to reupholster benches.
    The second is a 1977 Palm Beach 403, that is original, but has rist in the fuel line.

    I would consider selling the Palm Beach, for the right price. It can be driven with an external fuel supply (or repaired). Reach me at trksetc at hot mail, if you are interested. I live in the Seattle area.

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