My first homemade motorhome c.1974 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-17-2015, 03:30 PM   #1
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Name: John Michael
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My first homemade motorhome c.1974

In 1974 at age 23 and after graduation from Illinois my bride Jill and I decided a multi-month camping trip would be fun. Jill graduated a semester after me so I had time to accumulate some cash from my liquor store manager job. So we paid $250 at city auction for a pickup truck, rebuilt the engine, scrapped the bed, and built a wooden camper atop. Then it was off to the Smokies, Texas, Mexico, Guatemala, Colorado, etc. The camper entry was thru a door from the truck cab. We had a gas range with oven, gravity furnace, porta-potty in a wall papered bathroom, skylight for light and roof access. A "donated" empty beer keg served for our pressurized water supply. However, I made a couple of design errors. One in that I used heavy plywood for the wall surfaces with 1 inch of foam between. It was snug and warm if a bit heavy. The finished weight was just over 6000 pounds on the ton truck. We cracked 3 rear rims in Mexico, but friendly Mexican welding shops just welded them back together. Thankfully I had bought 8 ply truck tires with tubes. Months later upon returning home to Illinois we bought 3 piece truck split rims and had no more trouble over 3 more years and many more miles. We sold our lovely camper in 1977 for $250.00 to a fellow who knocked on the door. Never heard what happened after that. We had some fun times back then in the pre-kid days. Clearly we were pretty lucky too. Now in our post-kid days we chose a Scamp 13 and I satisfy my tinkering compulsion with dozens of mods. Jill just shakes her head, but still enthusiastically helps plan our adventures.

Pictures are
1. Camping on the Rio Grande at Big Bend National Park 1974
2. Harrowing downgrade in Guatemala where the brakes over-heated 3 times. You can see the one lane road ahead in the lower right hand corner near the mirror.
3. We did carry extra wheels and we needed them. That's my red haired bride.
4. That's me on top repairing the skylight opening mechanism at Padre Island National Seashore in Texas.
5. A somewhat tired Mexican campground, though we mostly boondocked.
6. A village square at Todos Santos, Guatemala.
7. Some colorful roadside fellow.
Attached Thumbnails
first motorhome 1.jpg   first motorhome 2.jpg  

first motorhome 4.jpg   first motorhome 3.jpg  

first motorhome 5.jpg   first motorhome 6.jpg  

first motorhome 7.jpg  
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:43 PM   #2
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Wow, just wow. I am humbled before your awesomeness.
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Old 01-17-2015, 07:00 PM   #3
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Very,very Cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-17-2015, 07:58 PM   #4
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John, that's about the neatest thing I've read on here in a long time. What an adventure! Thanks for sharing that!

Tom
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:40 PM   #5
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Thanks John for sharing. That was great!


Sent from my iPad using Fiberglass RV
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:22 PM   #6
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I see its a c10 but is it a 62 or 63? Cool rig!
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68dave View Post
I see its a c10 but is it a 62 or 63? Cool rig!
Sorry, I can't remember. It belonged to the Champaign Park District and had about 80,000 miles. We put on about 30,000 more and it gave us no trouble. (Not counting the cracked wheels, those were all my fault.) I do remember it had some kinda straight 6 under the hood when I put in new rings, bearings and had the valves ground. At the risk of sounding like an old fart, I love the days when you could open a hood and see and easily recognize the 6 or 7 major parts under there--radiator, engine, battery, carb, distributor, air cleaner, master cylinder, spark plugs, etc. Oh wait, that's more than 7. Looking under my Subaru hood there seem a lot more parts I don't recognize and I can't see any spark plugs at all. Good thing they last 100,000 miles; must be tricky to change.

Cheers all, john
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by John Linck View Post
Sorry, I can't remember. It belonged to the Champaign Park District and had about 80,000 miles. We put on about 30,000 more and it gave us no trouble. I do remember it had some kinda straight 6 under the hood when I put in new bearings and had the valves ground. At the risk of sounding like an old fart, I love the days when you could open a hood and see and easily recognize the 6 or 7 major parts under there--radiator, engine, battery, carb, distributor, air cleaner, master cylinder, spark plugs, etc. Oh wait, that's more than 7. Looking under my Subaru hood there seem a lot more parts I don't recognize and I can't see any spark plugs at all. Good thing they last 100,000 miles; must be tricky to change.

Cheers all, john
That was the good ole' days! I was born in 74 but i've always had a vehicle from the 60's. It's actually relaxing to work on them compared to these new 4 wheeled computers, lol. Thanks for sharing the pics.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:32 PM   #9
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Being from the same era, all I can say is, Far Out man! Love the story. That ride down that mountain must have been a rush!
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:51 AM   #10
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"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." Bilbo Baggins

Sounds like an Awesome Adventure!
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:22 AM   #11
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Good story John
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Old 01-18-2015, 08:07 AM   #12
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Great adventure. 'Bout the same time, 'bout the same age, I too had an adventure. It's a good thing I did it when I did. I know better now.

As far as the Subaru is concerned, plugs are easy. Four hundred dollars at the dealer. Unless of course you are looking for another adventure. Thanks for sharing, Raz
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Old 01-18-2015, 08:31 AM   #13
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Great pictures (in all their 100 kilopixel glory) and what a story! You made some wonderful memories, I am sure you will get an attaboy from Donna.
My pic's from that era are B&W. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-18-2015, 08:35 AM   #14
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Great story! Thanks for sharing. It was a 1963 truck by the way.
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