Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mobile Homeless: 1976 GMC Mobile Traveler 4X4

DT E-i-C Vince: This next feature is a 1976 GMC Mobile Traveler 4X4 offered for $5000 in Edgar, NE (population 498 in the 2010 census) via craigslist.  A typically sharp and poignant commentary by tipper Andy L follows:

Here is a strange vehicle that is more than meets the eye.  From the outside, it looks like your typical sex offender dwelling with an interior like your grandma's basement.  You can find any number of these on Craigslist at any given time for half the price.  What sets this one apart is the fact that is 4WD.  The vast majority of campers are designed to cover vast, mind numbing stretches of interstate and occupy a space at the KOA.  This one can take the action off road and get you even further from the pockets of humanity you despise so much.

Is this added option really worth the premium you'll pay for it?  Well, a similarly equipped VW Syncro camper will likely get you into a bidding war with a bearded, plaid-shirted hipster. Let's face it, you'll never be able to match the buying power of his trust fund or his dogged desire to appear rugged.  This leaves you with putting a $2500 camper on a $2500 4x4 truck, or something like that.  Such a combo would likely be neither as comfortable or as reliable as the featured camper.

It would be interesting to see where this rig could get you in the Rocky Mountains or Alaska with a set of Mattracks installed.

DT: Great find Andy, and if I ever need to explore the Alaskan wilderness, I will give you a call and we'll roll to the edge of the world in this beast, eating home made seal jerky and drinking ice water.  It'll be the most epic road trip ever.


  1. Someone elucidate, I know the meaning of "aftermarket". Does the seller mean that the rig came 2x4 and he installed a different chassis? Does it mean that the camper was sent to this company and they put it on their chassis? With all this plaid and brown and beige giving me angina I will not rest until one of the cognoscenti weigh in. That said this scratches an itch. I better buy some cream

    1. The conversion is done on the stock frame, there's been a bunch of different flavors of this over the years the best-known probably being the Pathfinder Quadravan conversions (most of which were Fords but they did some early Chevys as well.)

      This is interesting, and if I wasn't trying to get out from under the stuff I'm buried in I'd even consider going to have a look.

      Above all, you have to make sure it's free of Old Motorhome Smell, dinner and horse dung long ago trampled into the shag, dinette cushions soaked in Pepsi two decades past, random deteriorating insect carcasses, all bathed in the aroma of walls made of mold-covered 2x2s and hardboard paneling.

    2. And to complete the answer - it involves removing the stock front suspension, crossmember, steering, etc. and installing a solid axle (Dana 44, I think), different steering box and linkage, replacing the transmission or at least the tailhousing with a 4WD adapter and transfer case, driveshafts, etc.

      This pile if done correctly is by itself worth what he's asking for the van.

    3. Thanks for your insight, mrkwong. It's not quite as simple as "change the oil and, while you're down there, make it so all the wheels turn."

  2. We picked up a quotidian RWD RV of similar vintage earlier this summer. Been having fun r&r-ing the old beast - and as mrkwong notes, PULL THE CARPET STAT! There had to be more sand than carpet in it, and wow does it smell better without.


    I can hope to be this cool some day -

  3. And this beast looks pretty solid all around - but remember, you'll need to calculate your fuel costs in terms of $/hr of operation rather than mpg, because it's too depressing otherwise. And ahem, I'm hard pressed to believe it sleeps six, unless four of the six are under the age of eight.

    1. Six at Japanese-porn-shoot densities, four plus two dogs otherwise.

    2. hilarious. wear those plaid skirts, girls

  4. Not familiar with Japanese porn density. Can you elaborate?

  5. All i need is a great dane and a "for some reason shes kinda hot..." ambiguous lesbian and i could go solve some bitchin mysteries with this.


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