1976 GMC Avion mini-motorhome “Terranova”

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I never made any secret of wanting another motorhome, for extended-travel purposes.  So, when I stumbled across a badly neglected 23-foot Avion in Ohio, it followed me home for just $800.

Major project?  Yes.  But the Avion’s all-aluminum body (and relative rarity) appealed to me instantly, in the way that an RV will feel like “home” the moment you walk inside.  It’s much easier to drive than the Incorrigible, (not a surprise, being over ten feet shorter), but the really big surprise is that it’s also quieter.  The one-piece aluminum body is remarkably free of squeaks and rattles.

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The interior looks to be in reasonably good shape with original trim, but it’s all pretty severely mildewed and dry-rotted (the sofa-bed was actually rusted shut), so Terranova’s going to get a complete interior makeover, among other updates.  Sorry, Avion purists, but this one’s not going to stay original.

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Terranova’s leaning toward a self-contained, rough-and-tumble look as she absorbs influences from my novels and adventure-travel vehicles.  Thus far she’s grown a salvaged-materials interior and a scrap-metal brush bar.

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Rust repair and a new engine are on the menu next; a ’92 Chevy mutant with half a C30 van body riding on a short-bus chassis with a fuel-injected crate 454 V8 under the hood tumbled into my hands.  This was a no-brainer: Terranova will have an easier time climbing mountains with five hundred horsepower or so turning the wheels!  The van’s also got doors and fenders, bumpers and seats that will replace their tired counterparts on Terranova.


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