The 1988 year RV pictured here is the culmination of twenty years design & engineering on the "Revcon" or "REcreational Vehicle CONstruction" Motorcoach (some have also adopted the acronym "REVolutionary CONcept"). The concept for the initial Revcon motorcoach dates back to 1968, when John Hall conceived the idea of a low-profile, front wheel drive RV with a lightweight aluminum monocoque body. This was not entirely a coincidence since John was the stepson of Wally Byam of Airstream Trailer fame. Revcon was originally a subsidiary of a real estate development company called Dunn Properties, which in itself was a subsidiary of Pacific Lighting Corporation (in 1968).
A special drivetrain based around the Oldsmobile Toronado was to provide the platform for the Revcon from 1968 until 1979. A downsizing of the Toronado forced Revcon to change in 1979 to the General Motors 454 from the Oldsmobile 455 (and for two years the Oldsmobile 403) platform. A special driveshaft coupled with a transfer case and a Dana 70 differential (that actually runs backwards in this application) formed the platform for 1979 to 1991 year coaches.
The Revcon, due to its unique design, use of first-quality materials, and its aircraft-style construction was a rather expensive coach to purchase. Unfortunately its operating company suffered from financial troubles due to various causes and ended up in receivership during 1985. The Revcon factory was combined with that of the Apollo Motorcoach during 1985-1986 and operated until 1991 with the end of regular production. There were no Revcon coaches produced in 1986.
The Revcon name lives on, however as at least two commercial ventures have produced RV's using the Revcon name after this series of coaches ended. One coach in particular, the "Goliath" was an attempt to make a true 4 X 4 coach using the 1985-1990 design of regular Revcon bodies right as regular Revcon production was winding down in 1990. There were only three units made of this coach, although it was another breakthrough design concept. Out of these three coaches, one was located in 2007 in Galveston, Texas when it was posted for-sale by the owner. Unfortunately it was a victim of Hurricane Ike and was a total loss, compensated by insurance at a $37,000 value. There are pictures of this coach before the storm on both my site and the Yahoo Revcon Curious2 group website.
There was only one 1991 coach produced. The 1991 coach was distinguished from earlier years of Revcon coaches by the shape of the nose, it is quite unique if you ever see this coach. NOTE: As of January, 2010 the 1991 coach is for sale in CA with an ad running on Craigslist. Information from Marty Moore via another Revcon owner indicated this coach was constructed from leftover components right before the factory closed, and that the coach had some serious quality & maintenance issues, hopefully all of which have been addressed.
After Revcon Motorcoach ceased production, a number of Revcon employees teamed together to build the "Silver Motorcoach" in 1992, this coach used many components of the famous GMC recreational vehicle combined with the engineering know-how of Revcon. Several coaches were produced but this effort was, as well, doomed to eventual failure.
My reason for creating this page is that there is a good deal of information on the net about earlier model year Revcon coaches, but almost none about the "last gasp" of regular Revcon production (the 1987 through 1991 model years). This support page is an attempt to hopefully fill the gap and provide fellow coach owners some useful resources so you can enjoy your coach for many years to come.
1977-Revcon Manufactuing was to be sold to the "Eldorado Group" where one of the principals was Diel Gustafson, a Minneapolis banker. The company introduced the 29-foot model with tandem rear axles (a walking beam arrangement).
1978-The first major styling change was introduced with the "slant nose" re-design. In order to accommodate the extra length of the slant, the 25 foot model became the 26 foot and the 29-foot became the 30 foot. The drivetrain was also changed to the Oldsmobile 403 small block from the 455 big block, this occurred late in 1977 and through the 1978 model year. The 403 was somewhat underpowered for this application, resulting in marginal performance compared to the earlier coaches.
1979-In March of the year, the all-new Chevy 454 drive train and front end which was to replace the Oldsmobile Toronado design was introduced. By July the new drive train became available in the 30 foot model coaches.
1980-The Eldorado Group filed for bankruptcy to reorganize the company. Diel Gustafson became the sole owner although there was to continue to be some dispute as to who really owned what.
1981-Ernie F. Kniesel was appointed President of the newly-reorganized company. The 33 foot model was added to the lineup.
1982- In this year a 30 foot 4x4 off-road custom built coach was delivered to an Arab customer. By May the base price of the Revcon line ranged from $89,000 to $106,000. In July, the factory was cutting production to less than two coaches a week.
1983-Ernie Kniesel resigned the presidency. Randy Grages and Bob Michel were brought in by Gustafson to managed the troubled company with Grages serving as Executive Vice President. By the end of the year, Revcon prices ranged from $97,000 to $116,000.
1984-In March the Fountain Valley property was sold and the search was on for a new location. The search ended with the purchase of Apollo Motorhomes in Carson, CA and the relocation of the Revcon production to the Apollo plant. July saw the introduction of the new 96-inch wide Revcon with a heavier frame, straighter sides and a streamlined sloping rear with large windows (nicknamed the "whale-tail"). Randy Grages became President of Apollo.
1985-George Mikan of basketball fame became Chairman of the Board at Revcon, but by July came a second bankruptcy. Diel Gustafson landed in jail for a check-floating scheme at Las Vegas Tropicana Hotel. He was sentenced to 10 years but served only one year by becoming a government witness.
1986-Revcon completed the move-in with Apollo, which was now called Summit Luxury Motorcoach. Don Blanke was appointed President.
1987- Another year and another President, Gerald Utt. Revcon base price range dropped to between $89,000 and $99,000. Larry P. Brumfield was now President of Revcon Industries.
1988- In February Revcon delivered a coach to a customer at the Quartzite rally but had to return it to the factory because of nuumerous problems.
1990- Five Apollos were built and designed to sell for $50,000 or less and the company filed for bankruptcy the third time.
1991-The last Revcon was a 30 foot coach built for George and Mary Gene Alder. It had a modified slant nose with a square rear end.
Here's a shot or two of the Revcon we purchased in August of 2006.
The pics were shot in mid-2007, the exterior shot was taken at the GMC Co-Op in Orlando, Florida where we had the coach reworked. Just a little history, this coach was sold via EBAY, the seller assured us up & down the coach was sound before we bid, that we could do a fly & drive from Tennessee to Florida without problems, etc etc.... BALDERDASH! When we arrived we found four out of six tires were badly dry-rotted (which had to be replaced before we got on the road), we had to replace the coach battery at the dealership, and there was a problem with the windshield wipers in addition to the turn signals being out. The oil pressure gauge was completely out, the switch for the oil pressure warning light was non-op (meaning no warning light if things go bad), and there was an un-disclosed water leak coming from the bathroom vent cover. When we had the tires replaced a few miles down the road at a local service center we found a cracked right front brake rotor, which we had no choice but to travel on with as at that time we did not know the correct parts interchange for the brakes.
After overnighting in Forsyth, GA we started down I-75 and went about 25 miles before the engine lost almost all power. The short version is we ended up getting towed via AAA almost 900 miles back to beautiful Central Florida. The problem with the engine was traced back to a low oil condition caused by what we believe to be seal leaks, we didn't catch it as when we checked the oil it was full and both the pressure gauge & light were out, so no warning when things started to go South on us. You can guess what came next... engine rebuild time! More about the mods & rebuild later however.
On the West Coast of the US, Marty Moore's Motor Homes is one of your best options for Revcon service, they also have a very extensive inventory of OEM parts. Marty's is located at 4019 Hicock Street, San Diego, CA 92110. Telephone 877-893-8669. Marty is basically a living Wikipedia on the Revcon coach, he is the best available technical expert working on Revcon coaches today. As you are at the last remaining OEM service facility if you use Marty's, be prepared to pay a premium for service & parts!
On the East Coast of the US, one good option for Revcon service is Cooperative Motor Works, 5971 Anno Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32809. Phone (407) 857-5777. The owner is Jim Bounds, wonderful person to deal with. Jim gets a personal endorsement from me as being a honest & fair business owner, as well as being very well versed in front wheel drive RV's. Jim also specializes in custom mods and innovative designs for these coaches and can handle anything from minor service to powertrain changeouts and complete frame-off restorations. Make sure to call ahead with Jim's shop as he has RV's coming out every possible nook & cranny at his place. He also schedules months ahead for service due to high demand from the GMC community. Unless you have a genuine emergency, broke down on the road, etc etc... please schedule in advance with Jim as he stays very busy these days, although if you want to pop in to say hello Jim's always hospitable!
Another option for Revcon Service is Coastal RV, 3515 North US 1, Cocoa, Florida 32959, telephone (321) 636-2010. Coastal RV specializes in older and unique coaches, for example they maintain the Airstream "astro-vans" (converted RV's) for NASA's Kennedy Space Center. This company has done much work on my coach including a rebuild of the front-end, they also service FMC coaches as well as GMC FWD coaches. "Doug" is the service manager at this facility. Make sure to tell him you were referred over by our site.
For alignments and specialized front end services, Ramsey's Alignment Service at 5960 N. Courtenay Parkway, Merritt Island, Florida 32953, telephone (321) 453-3713 gets my vote. Mr. John Ramsey has been in business over 40 years and can align anything from a Ford Model "A" to current production vehicles. He will personally take the time with you that your custom coach deserves, and is fairly priced as well as extremely knowledgeable. As you know the Revcon demands precise alignment in order to drive correctly, Mr. Ramsey's shop is quite up to the task.
Based on information provided by “Revcon_Curious” Yahoo Group members, the wide-body series of Revcon coaches started with production number #2641 in 1984. If this is correct, the production run on this last series of Revcon coach is probably less then 150 units total. There were no coaches produced in 1986, this was during the time of the first Revcon bankruptcy and their co-location with the Apollo production facility. I had the pleasure of speaking via EMAIL in early 2007 with the former Chief of Engineering for Revcon (Mr. Peter Bryant). I was told by Mr. Bryant that after the (first) bankruptcy (in 1985-86) it was difficult to build coaches because the suspension uprights had been sold off with the sale of assets prior to the re-organization. The production figures seem to bear this out.
Production figures derived from actual coaches built between February 1987 to February 1989 (using serial number information from coach data plates) indicate only thirty-seven coaches produced, essentially an average rate of 1.5 coaches per month from the factory after the 1985-1986 bankruptcy. If you look at the raw numbers it looks like production was really falling off between April 1988 and February 1989 (four coaches produced in ten months), opposed to the production between February 1987 and March 1988 (thirty-two coaches in thirteen months). Revcon utilized two different numbering schemes for their factory line numbers, the commercial coaches (command vehicles, clinics, wheelchair coaches, etc...) all started with a "T" prefix. The RV series coaches from 1984 on all started with a "2" prefix.
Here’s the raw data I have been able to gather for coaches from 1984 on in this series for you statistical types out there.
|Coach Year||Make||Sequence number||Comments|
|08/1984||1984 Revcon||#2655||Jim Daniel's Coach|
|10/1984||1985 Revcon 29 (Showcoach for 1985)||#2672||None|
|01/1985||1985 Revcon 31||#2689||Greg's Coach|
|09/1987||1987 Revcon||#2729||Stan's Coach|
|09/1987||1987 Revcon||#2730||Howard's Coach|
|03/1988||1988 Revcon 34SE||#2747||H.R. Mcmillan's coach|
|04/1988||1988 Revcon||#2749||Paul's coach|
|04/1988||1988 Revcon||#2751||Marty Moore's coach|
|02/1989||1989 Revcon 31MB||#2752||My coach|
There was at least one commercial 1990 model-year coach produced before regular production stopped (not counting at least three of the 4X4 units). The exact amount has not been determined (only anecdotal information that says “very few”). The coach I have been able to locate was purchased by the Portland, Oregon Fire Department for use as a mobile communications/command vehicle. As of late 2008 this Revcon mobile command coach was for sale by a private owner in Idaho (Portland sold the coach at auction in October, 2007). Other municipalities that were known to be using later Revcon mobile command coaches include Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, CA, West Covina Police, CA, and Los Gatos Police, CA. The California Office of Emergency Services donated their coach to Yolo County SO several years ago. There are pictures of some of these coaches in the Revcon Curious picture sections on Yahoo groups.
Revcon also manufactured what they called the "Independence" which was a modified 33-foot coach with a wheelchair lift designed to give mobility to mobility-challenged individuals. There were several of these produced, at least two of these coaches were sold on EBAY in 2007. The only one I have been able to get firm information on is as follows:
10/87 - Coach #T643 - Revcon Independence
If you are a fellow Revcon wide-body coach owner and have your serial information and date of production (found on a plate just in front of your coach door) I’d love to hear from you and add your information to my research. You can EMAIL me by using the button below.