1973 GMC 260 ‘Painted Desert’
Now is your chance to own one of the most classic and beloved vintage motorhomes ever made. Still as fun and relevant as the year she was made, this motorhome is favored among those looking for the charm of yesterday’s tomorrow, those who want a solid foundation for a custom build-out, those who want high quality at a low price, or those who have always wanted their own EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle, (see Bill Murray in ‘Stripes’). A quick internet search will yield information on all the wonderful design qualities of the GMC Motorhome and the fortunate fact that replacement parts are still being manufactured to service these machines. Moreover, you’ll not find a more committed and helpful community of owners anywhere. Support for this vehicle abounds.
Now onto the facts about OUR GMC motorhome:
Provenance: My family and I purchased it about a year and a half ago from a gentleman in Hood River, OR for $10,500 and now it is parked in Portland, OR. Most of the essential systems had been rebuilt including the engine, transmission and brakes. Much of the secondary equipment had been replaced or rebuilt including the fridge, water pump, furnace, LP recertification, holding tank refit, most of the plumbing, and some of the aesthetic/tertiary qualities (headliner and wood floors). We drove it a couple thousand miles the ensuing year and shook loose all the bugs it had developed during its hibernation, and then proceeded to continue improvement where the previous owner had left off (noted below). Most recently, it was professionally inspected by Big Rig RV and Truck repair in Portland. They did a fabulous job reattaching a transmission pump spool and replacing the transmission filter and oil. When the bill came back much less then my budget I asked them to go back and inspect the brakes, bearings, suspension, and tune up the engine, transmission and carburetor. Their professional consensus was that most of it seemed to be quite new and in good repair. Now that I finally have the wind at my back I am forced to sell this dream boat because a preponderance of children and a small city apartment have left me with very little coin for improvements, gasoline, or parking.
During our ownership we made some improvements to The GMC (a.k.a The Gator):
Dropped and cleaned both gas tanks, and repaired the senders
Ran all new fuel line, including reattaching the vapor recovery lines, fuel selector valve, and replacing the liquid vapor separator (all components are now ethanol safe)
Rebuilt the Dana air compressor (rebuild kit from Applied GMC)
Ran new copper air line from compressor
installed new Cinnabar compressed air reservoir tank with upgrade kit (check valve and water vapor separator)
Replaced all the belts (Big Rig did the tensioning)
Replaced the fuel filters and oil filter
Changed the oil twice!
Replaced the carburetor gasket
Replaced the alternator
Replaced the engine battery
Installed three port fuel pump and plumbed fuel return line to minimize vapor lock
Checked every plumbed joint in the propane, air suspension, water, and gasoline lines for leaks and rejoined them as necessary
Replaced the spark plug, filter, and most of the gaskets (including head gasket) on Kohler generator.
Sewed and installed curtains for privacy
installed new shower curtains (never used)
Installed new ‘Oxygenics’ shower head (never used)
Installed ‘Safe-T-alert’ LP Leak and CO detector
Installed ‘Stay Longer Plus’ Propane Diverter kit (allows for hookup of external propane)
Included with sale:
Original GMC motorhome user manual
Both original GMC Motorhome Maintenance Manuals (X-7525A and X-7525B)
Authentic Cinnabar Parts Book
Jack Adapter Hook for easy lifting of rear bogies and front wheels
‘Ragusa’ jack pads
‘Sewer Solution’ macerator pump
User Manuals for every appliance and accessory
‘Applied GMC’ Suspension Rotary Valve Rebuild kit (I never rebuilt the valves because I felt it unnecessary)
Sundry parts if buyer desires
Engine: Oldsmobile 455 V8 (Gasoline up to E-15)
Carburator: Quadrajet (GMC motorhome specific metering rod and jets)
Transmission: Turbohydromatic 425 (Front Wheel Drive)
Gas Mileage: 10-12 MPG
Gas Tank: 2 x 25 Gallons (50 gal. total)
Furnace: Suburban forced air 22,000 BTU Propane. (New Autumn 2016)
A/C: Stock Duotherm
Fridge: Dometic Propane/120v (aftermarket)
Generator: Stock Kohler K482 4000W
Water heater: 6 Gal, Propane/Engine heated (aftermarket)
Water tank: 40 Gal
Holding tank: 40 Gal
Bath: Wet Bath
Body Construction: Aluminum ribs, roof, and bottom. Fiberglass around the middle.
Chassis Construction: Steel, low floor with rear bogies to avoid wheel well intrusion into living space.
This motorhome is in great condition considering its nearly 45 years of use and it is very road worthy. During our time of ownership we used only premium gasoline, free of ethanol whenever available. We also used ZDDP additive in the oil since these ol’ big-blocks have flat tappet cams and modern oils don’t have ZDDP. However, compared to her much higher priced brethren you’ll find scattered about cyber space she is rough around the edges. The generator is the original Kohler K482. It is operational but in need of some adjustment to be used dependably. These Kohler K series motors are very serviceable and parts are still mass produced. They run forever. The paint is original and looks it, the rear ‘Gator’ decal is not original, but is totally awesome. The shower works but the diverter valve leaks making it only truly useable when sewer hookups are available. Could probably be fixed easily. Many of the idiot lights are in need of replacement. There is a crack in the the passenger side windshield from a low hanging branch. The roof storage POD is usable but brittle and sun worn. Some of the auxiliary features are disconnected and I haven’t even attempted recovering them (cruise control, wiper fluid sprayers, horn). Perhaps the most notable rough edge is that the main living quarters are missing the original dinette and couch (although this would be a bonus to many who are looking do a customized build-outs). It came with a memory foam mattress, not pictured, which I will include if the buyer wants it. Both we and the previous owners used temporary furnishings. The rear air suspension works great and has only the slightest leak in the rotary valve (rebuild kit included, but I found the leak so inconsequential that I never bothered). The frame body is solid and has no meaningful rust and no deterioration. For you GMC Motorhome enthusiasts who might be interested, the VIN for this motorhome is TZE063V100089 making it among the very first to roll of the production line; probably within the first 30 coaches considering the first 50 or so sequence numbers were used by test coaches and prototypes. All in all a very fun vehicle that I can’t afford to improve and therefore can’t afford to own. My hope is that the buyer would be able to continue to improve and recover this vehicle.
All pictures are current. Email if you have any questions or are interested in buying this beauty!
|Total Price Change:||-$1,500|
Excluding price changes of less than $100.