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 Post subject: 4WD GMC Vandura RV
PostPosted: June 22nd, 2017, 5:50 am 
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Joined: December 31st, 2016, 5:57 am
Posts: 114
Our first RV was a rare 4WD conversion of a GMC Vandura 3500 by Quigley. This capable off-road vehicle enabled us to access remote locations for spartan van camping. Thus Mr. Quigley eased us into the RV lifestyle, although far from Chinook luxury standards, of course. Unfortunately its measly 350 engine developed an ominous rod bearing knock and the bureaucracy in California prohibited an “interesting” motor upgrade not conforming to strict emissions regulations. So we left Mr. Quigley behind after we relocated to Arizona but good memories paved the way for our Chinook.


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"The Blue Chook" 2002 Concourse Dinette on 2001 E-350 chassis w V10
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 Post subject: Re: 4WD GMC Vandura RV
PostPosted: June 22nd, 2017, 9:34 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1833
Location: 1999 Concourse
Nifty! I can see that being a real memory machine. I like the Super Trak Van logo, and those G-vans have such a classic shape. I drove a '78 for one of my first jobs and it seemed SO modern. I mean, the seats were behind the wheels :D I often miss my (90's Ford) camper van, but of course I'm only thinking of the best parts, and not about the days stuck inside hunched over when it was raining, etc. Will probably always miss the side door tho!

Retro pics are the best - thanks for posting those.

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 Post subject: Re: 4WD GMC Vandura RV
PostPosted: June 22nd, 2017, 5:18 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
Posts: 526
Location: Northern NJ
Such great vehicle names back then. Vandura!

I guess my first RV was the ~1969 Dodge Travco Family Wagon I bought in 1978, when I mustered out of the Army in Tacoma WA. Looked pretty much like this:
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A friend and I towed a 1968 AMC Javelin behind it cross country all the home to NC, looping down to the Grand Canyon along the way.

Drove it up Pikes Peak as well, but it couldn't suck enough air through its oil bath air cleaner to make it all the way, so I popped the hood (inside next to the driver's seat) and took the filter off. That got us closer, but still ran of power about a mile from the top. A nice lady Park Ranger then came along and towed us the rest of the way up :)

The scariest thing was going over Wolf Creek Pass and losing my drum brakes coming down the other side, with that Javelin pushing us from behind. Dropping the automatic transmisson to Low gear did nothing, as we were going too fast for that big a change to be allowed. My friend and I were about to bail out before it was too late, and let it all go off a cliff by itself, when as a last desperate move I slammed the accelerator to the floor to rev up the engine to its redline. Bang! Woo hoo! That was enough to allow it to drop into Low gear and we were saved.

After that, I avoided vans without at least front disc brakes.

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Last edited by kdarling on June 23rd, 2017, 3:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 4WD GMC Vandura RV
PostPosted: June 23rd, 2017, 1:15 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
The Travco family wagon is just too cool!

(Although now I have "Wolf Creek Pass" running through my brain. You weren't hauling chickens were you? :lol:)

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 Post subject: Re: 4WD GMC Vandura RV
PostPosted: June 23rd, 2017, 3:07 am 
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Location: Northern NJ
Yeah I think I paid $600 for that Travco. Took it way up into Canadian back roads and all over the US before selling it to some fisherman in Raleigh in 1979. The worst thing is that after I sold it (and paid no attention to his name or address), I realized that I had forgotten my suitcase full of 8 track tapes under the jack knife sofa. World's greatest 8 track collection, gone!

Including yes, a CW McCall tape with "Wolf Creek Pass", which was playing during our trip over it. I had bought that tape from him personally, after I watched him play a tiny church meeting room concert in Ouray Colorado in 1975. That was about six months before he became nationally famous from his hit song "Convoy". I'm impressed that you know his other songs!

Here's a YouTube video I found of the trip over the pass that someone set to two versions of that song. The white knuckle road area where my brakes failed is at 4:30 in the video, just past a runaway ramp (figures). As you can see, there's no way we would've survived to the next ramp, brakeless in that Dodge van with the Javelin pushing it around from behind, if I hadn't luckily wrangled it into low gear.

https://youtu.be/KHb_0Lhegig

PS my favorite thing about that Travco, was that inside its popup top were two foldout cots, one on each side of the inside ceiling. Yep, bunk beds in the roof! That thing could sleep four in style, two on the sofa bed and two up top.

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 Post subject: Re: 4WD GMC Vandura RV
PostPosted: June 23rd, 2017, 9:17 am 
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Those reminiscences were SO fun to read. Neato!

I'll have to watch the video later when I'm taking a(nother) break.

kdarling wrote:
Including yes, a CW McCall tape with "Wolf Creek Pass"... I'm impressed that you know his other songs!


Well the reason why is kind of funny, given the circumstances. My parents, for some completely unknown reason (as they were more given to classical LPs) had a dozen or so 8-track tapes (maybe they came along with a car or something? - but no, they never bought a Travco - I would have been over the moon if they had). Anyway, in the collection was C.W. McCall and Wolf Creek Pass! (I also remember a Waylon/Willie tape in the batch.) I loved driving trips, so I must have listened to it a thousand times.

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 Post subject: Re: 4WD GMC Vandura RV
PostPosted: June 23rd, 2017, 11:36 am 
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Always learning something new here :) That Dodge Travco Family Wagon reminds me of the early Euro VW Kombi campers. Nothing but a thin sheet of metal “protecting” driver from frontal impact; no wonder you became agitated careening down Wolf Creek Pass! I assume the hand brake was the usual ineffectual drum unit too?

Our Vandura had a shocking noise from the rear end over bumps that took me ages to track down. Turned out the van was originally configured for servicing power lines in the desert and the maintenance pool had dropped a loose length of chain inside the rear door panel as a practical joke!

BTW, a Vandura became famous as the A-Team’s van and its Chevy counterpart was the Beauville. Indeed, some great old names.

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"The Blue Chook" 2002 Concourse Dinette on 2001 E-350 chassis w V10


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 Post subject: Re: 4WD GMC Vandura RV
PostPosted: June 23rd, 2017, 11:50 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
I can't remember if this was in one friend's 1978 VW bus, or another's 1968 Chevy van, but I distinctly remember sitting in the (over wheel) front seat and idly wondering: Hmmm, what's that bulge by my foot. Oh geez, that's the back of the headlight bucket! :shock: :o

Rokrover: I can only imagine how long it took you to track down that chain, and all the horrible possibilities were going through your mind as you mentally diagnosed the noise.

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