Friday, 18 May 2007

A dream come true

A dream come true.

Dad finally bought what he's been dreaming of for years: a 1975 Travco model 270 Class A motorhome.
That' right, 1975.
No, the thing is not exactly new...



The beast needs quite a bit of work. So I created this blog to document all the work Dad is going to put in his new toy.

But first, some explanations: why would someone go through the pain of restoring a 30 year old motorhome? You need to know my father:

The Project Manager

My father is a trucker. Now retired, Dad worked in the trucking industry most of its life. He's a pretty good mechanic, he's maintained his truck for many years. He does most of his car maintenance and repairs by himself, I can't remember the last time he had to bring one of his vehicles to a shop. Dad tends to keep his vehicles a bit longer than most people usually do: to give you an idea, his current vehicles are a 1981 Dodge van and a genuine 1982 Renault 5 car. Both vehicles are in pretty good shape, and he often gets offers for his Renault. His snowmobile is a 1968 model (that he bought new back in '68) wich still rides perfectly and is used every winter to go to our cottage. My Mom's 1997 Acura 1.6EL is the "new" car of the family (why, it's only 10 years old!).

Tool wise, Dad's garage - wich could be called "the miracle shop" - is pretty well equipped. Dad has pretty much all you can think of, including air tools and compressor, welding equipment, etc.

There isn't much Dad has never done on cars or trucks. The "miracle shop" has seen it all, from regular maintenance and repairs to complete engine rebuilts to paint jobs, utility trailers construction, etc. plus Dad's numerous inventions. Dad's a real handyman, he can fix just about anything. He's gifted with a sense of how things work, he can turn a piece of useless scrap into an essentiel tool or fix something with it (hence the name "miracle shop"). Dad never does anything hastily, he hates botched jobs, he always takes his time and does it right the first time. When he fixes something, it's usually fixed for good.

This is not his first motorhome rebuilt. Dad has completly rebuilt a Class C motorhome that he bought in 2001. This was a small 21ft Class C motorhome built on a Dodge chassis. This motorhome was the RV version of "The Money Pit" movie: not that it cost a fortune to fix, but just about everything on this motorhome had to be repaired, rebuilt or replaced: body repairs, plumbing, electricity, drivetrain, etc. The only thing Dad didn't fix himself was the transmission, wich he took out and sent to a transmission shop to have it checked. Bought in March for a planned trip to the canadian west with friends, Dad worked on this motorhome about 7 days a week until early July, tearing the motorhome apart. When everything was finally ready, he went for a short road test (in fact he went about 2 km away to fill up at the local gas station) and declared to Mom that "everything is fine". They packed up and went all the way to Alaska, and never had one single issue with the motorhome on this 20 000km trip.

My parents still have this small motorhome, with has been used every summer since 2001. But Dad wasn't satisfied. The Class C is small, has no permanent bed, it's a hassle to turn the dinette into a bed every night and back into a dinette every mornig to have breakfast.


Travco



Travcos are to motorhomes what old Airstream trailers are to trailers. Travco motorhomes are made of a fiberglass shell over a steel frame. They are extremely durable. The fiberglass shell is very sturdy and doesn't rust, the mechanical components are heavy-duty, reliable and easy to maintain. There are many Travcos around, especially in the US, some from the 1960's proudly rebuilt by their owners, just like some have done with their old classic Airstream trailers. Owning a classic Travco is not like owning any other motorhome, it's like owning a Harley-Davidson, there is someting special about them.

Dad has been looking at Travco for years. Back then, Travcos were among the first Class As on the road. They were the equivalent of today's large high luxury Class A palaces. Those being way too expensive, a used Travco is the perfect match for a handy man like my father. Dad's been watching the classified for years, looking for a good deal on a Travco. Last month a 1975 model showed up for sale on the web, and Dad bought it.

The Blue Whale

The day Dad brought the Travco home, Mom sent us an email stating: "the blue whale is home". The Travco is indeed blue and gray. These are not the original colors, it's been repainted, and not with the best color choice in my opinion. But first things first, the paint color is quite low on the priority list for now. However I believe the "Blue Whale" name will stick.

A few pictures of the Blue Whale the day it arrived home:





20 comments:

Jim said...

Your project is inspiring and fun to watch the progress. Keep up the good work and also the blog.

Carl said...

Thanks Jim. I'll try to update the blog at least one a week. Mom says she never seen Dad so eager to work on something, just like a kid with a new toy!

Carl

Travco coach said...

How are you? Me and my partner purchased our tenth coach, a 1971 Dodge 270 Travco on a 413 in January of 2007. It had sat for apprx 15 years or more. It didn't have any carpet in it and the ceiling material was peeling down due to age and lack of care. The upholstery however was flawless. The coach itself has only 24,000 miles on it. We have since completly restored it and we have many pictures to share. Our floor plan is exactly like your fathers. In the dinette area, we didn't want a table set up all the time, only for eating or playing games with guests on the inside. So, to solve that with what was already there, we placed the dinette booth seats next to each other along the wall behind the drivers seat (where they are now in your coach as well) to form another couch so that there are two couches across from each other thus greatly opening up the floor space there at the front of the coach. When a dinette is needed we simply place everything back in it's original position with the table stored behind the booth seats while in the couch position. Your dads coach looks great. He will enjoy it. After all these months of work, our coach is ready to hit the road after we have the carb rebuilt in two weeks and new tires installed from ordering from Discount Tire Company at $100 a peice. Again, good luck to your father and many happy travels. Lathaniel and Carl-Denver, CO

Carl said...

Thanks for your comments! Your double couch idea is interesting. It would be great if you could post pictures of your 270 on the net somewhere!

Carl

Travco coach said...

My email address is housemuz@hotmail.com...feel free to use it any time in regards to the Travco Coach. I have plenty of pics to send. The couch Idea is a good one. Opens the floor up quite nicely.

Travco coach said...

I have posted some pictures of my coach on here now. Thanks for your suggestion. Other people have told me to do the same thing but it took seeing your blog to get me going. I've just spent the ENTIRE day today, Saturday June 2nd doing it. Let me know what you think. I also used the same blog site you used. As you can see the double couch idea opens up the floor nicely. Keep us posted as to your fathers progress. Very interested to see how its coming. Thanks! My blog site http://travcomotorhome1971.blogspot.com/

Carl said...

Great photos, and great job on the restoration. I'll put a link to your blog on mine. For some reason I was not able to leave comments on your blog. Also you can get a free counter at www.expertcounter.com if you like.

I'll try to update my blog tonight. Stay tuned!

Carl

Travco coach said...

It looks like your dads coach had at one time an destroilet or at best the coach was prepped for it. Yes there were plastic toilets back then, however, the Travco incorporated something very new to the RV world, however, this creation didn't last very long past the Travco. It didn't catch on. It was called a Destroilet. Yes...you read that right. A destroilet did exactly what it sounds like. It would "destroy" the solid waste by incineration which would liquify anything in the toilet therefore eliminating the need for a black tank. Interesting huh? I just can't help but wonder if that would have created a smell...

Carl said...

Do you have more details on this 'destroilet'? How did it worked? What do you mean by incineration?
The current toilet in the motorhome seems quite ordinary, a simple foot operated valve to flush right in the tank right below.

Carl

Travco coach said...

I'm going to read from the description in the original brochures that I have. Under optional equipment one could have chosen a "Monomatic" toilet in lieu (yes they used lieu in the brouchure) of a standard toilet. As for the Destroilet, it was a gas incinerator-type toilet to simplify waste disposal. Other wise on a separte page or location in the brochure information is a picture of the "standard" toilet placed in a Travco Motorhome. It was indeed ceramic with a large foot pedal. Larger than what you'd normally see now. When I get a chance or an oportunity I will scan these brochures and print them out and put them on here somewhere are they can be found at mytravco.com too. If the site is working like it should. Good luck! When is the first outing planned for?

Carl said...

First outing is for next friday!
I might be able tu update the blog once more before friday, otherwise I'll post pictures of the camping weekend as soon as possible next week.

Carl

Carl said...

Found a picture of a Destroilet:

http://www.fortunecity.com/silverstone/alfa/45/camperoe1.htm


Carl

VoyageVixen said...

Hello! I love your travco. I have just started a site for my 1964 travco as well http://myrtleandme.blogspot.com/

Carl said...

Hi!

Your '64 sounds like a great project!
I just added your Travco blog in my links!


Carl

shinebyknight said...

I enjoyed reading your blog.
If fact what got my attention was the way you were speaking about your father.
It made me smile and cry both.
Your Dad sounds so much like my Dad.
Like exactly. My dad was also in the trucking industry all his life. He always could fix anything. He fixed my engine in my car once with JB Weld on my block that had a hairline crack no shops could find the problem, 3 times I had to have the head gasket replaced because my oil was orange and foamy on that car to get to it you had to pull the engine. After 3 times he said we will do it. So I helped him pull the engine. After he fixed it it never happened again. He learned mechanics while in the army WW2. But like you said he had so much more than that. If there was no part for something he would just figure another way or make it. And it was fixed for good. Like better than new. I got some of that from him and I feel lucky for it, for sure. When he died I was told I could have all of the stuff in his work room. My husband at the time said "This is a bunch of junk." Throw it away. I said "Are you crazy?, This is a gold mine". I have fixed so many things out of those weird parts for years. That's why your story made me cry and smile. For one thing I never find anyone like my dad anymore or your dad for that matter. Give your Dad a Hug. And Thanks for the memories.
His name was Roy Rogers (Not the cowboy)
Best Regards
Rhonda

Carl said...

Thanks Rhonda.
That's probably the most touching comment I've ever received on this blog, and believe me I really appreciate it. Thank you.

Take care

Carl

busterbear59 said...

I found your blogs by accident while researching the classic luxury rvs. I am so happy I am not the only "guy" who likes rvs!!! My sister has a class C 1976 with only 8900 miles on it chevy chassis, that she is holding for me to buy this spring.
Email me at Busterbear59@yahoo.com
Would love to chat with you!

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Anonymous said...

Hi guys, I just purchased a 1971 Travco, in similar shape as yours. I found your site so helpful thanks. I am having the most difficult time finding a place to purchase a "operator's manual" this travco had no manual's at all that came with it any ideas?? I need to know how everything works. Ac, Stove hook up..ect. Any info. would be well appreciated, Thanks Isobel

voyagevixen said...

In regards to an operator's manual, you may find some on ebay. here is one to look at: (double check to see if it is right for yours, but do an ebay search for dodge motorhome manual and see what you find)
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1970-1971-1972-DODGE-MOTOR-HOME-Shop-Service-Manual-/230480065382?pt=Motors_Manuals_Literature&hash=item35a9aeb366#ht_1714wt_859

Mine motorhome is older, 1964, so I could not find a manual for it but I dod have a manual on large dodge trucks that includes her 318 poly engine:
http://myrtleandme.blogspot.com/2009/07/book-resource.html
and a general manual: http://myrtleandme.blogspot.com/2011/09/dodge-builds-tough-trucks-operators.html