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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hot Wheels GMC Motorhome

After reviewing the E-body Oldsmobile Toronado and the Cadillac Eldorado, their's more to their innovative V8 and front-wheel drive setup than just the cars.  In fact, in the 1970's it was used in an unlikely source: a motorhome.

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GM's unique Motorhome

General Motors has been toying with the idea of a house on wheels ever since the first GM Futureliner was created.  Well reality finally set in in the 1970's with the introduction of the GMC Motorhome.  For it's five-year run, the body of the Motorhome was constructed in plastic lower and upper aluminum panels, on a unibody platform with the Toronado's Rocket V8 and front-wheel drive transaxle.  The lack of a rear drive shaft and tandem rear axles allowed the floor of the Motorhome to be lower than a typical body-on-frame motorhome of that era.  Also the durability of the panels allowed the motorhomes to survive without the rust issues of steel-panel motorhomes.  The exterior has a smooth shape with a sharp nose at the front, which also features two panels to access the engine, large wrap-around windshield, and a rounded rear that resembles the shape of a few Airstream campers.  The interior was large and well-optioned for a Motorhome this size, and having every feature imaginable in a well-packaged body set the standard for future Motorhomes.

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Hot Wheels jumps onboard

It didn't take long for Hot Wheels to jump onboard with the fancy motorhome by releasing the first one in orange with Palm Beach on the sides and redline tires.  The shape is more squarer than the actual Motorhome and the interior has some questionable areas (where's the bed?  How do you get into the motorhome?  Why is there a rivet post in the middle of the kitchen?) but is otherwise nicely done.  The orange and green versions, the latter with plastic base and regular wheels, are the most popular versions.  In 1997 it was released for a short time in blue with Hot Wheels racing logo on the sides.  The base still plastic, yet unlike the upcoming Motorhome variations it has what would be the last time we see the original Motorhome features on this casting before the update, specifically the way the taillights are shaped and the outline of the rear door.

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in 2006 the GMC Motorhome returns with a revised casting with a new base and a few body tweaks, but otherwise still remains the same.  The mainline return started with the black with Hot Wheels diagonally on the sides and chrome base nicely outlines the 5-spoke wheels.  The K-mart-only white appeared later with PR-5 wheels.  The metal base did make a return in the Target-only Flying Customs series, which would also return in the 2007 Hot Wheels Classics series, shown here in chrome.

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In the last few years it would appear as a Treasure Hunt in 2009.  While the basic TH got blacked-out 5-spoke wheels, this Super version got the real riders tires with chrome hubs and orangeline tires.  The body is silver with light blue, orange, and dark blue stripes above the white lower trim and detailed taillights with Treasure Huntin' at the rear.  The front has detailed headlights that are hard to see in the dense chrome.  Combine that with the excellent artwork of the new 2009 blister and this ranks as one of my favorite GMC Motorhomes.  The rest of the years had some wacky colors, but I liked the Wal-mart-only 2010 release in purple where it's using BFGoodrich white lettering on the tires.  Most recent version was in the Retro Entertainment series for the movie "Stripes",  I hope Hot Wheels continues to offer this casting because it's a one-of-a-kind and the only motorhome that deserves to be in the Hot Wheels line.

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