After driving many of the typical motor homes built on truck chassis, John Hall knew that this was not the best way to build a motor home. In fact, it was a terrible way to build motor homes. The truck chassis rode too harshly over bumps and the center of gravity was too high to handle corners well. The harsh ride often jarred cabinets, light fixtures and even the walls loose. The high center of gravity turned twisting roads and passing trucks into white-knuckled events. The wooden roof and walls often leaked, creating problems that no coach owner wanted.
But John Hall had an idea: an all new motor home, all new from the ground up. John knew that his motor home would have to be front wheel drive to get the low center of gravity needed for the superb handling he wanted. He also knew a wooden roof and walls weren't what he wanted, so this new motor home would be made out of aluminum like an aircraft. This was an all new idea, a totally new concept, a REVolutionary CONcept: a REVCON!
It's no secret that Revcon construction bears a striking resemblance to Airstream trailers. It's also no coincidence. John Hall was the stepson of Airstream founder Wally Byam. John knew that the all aluminum construction was far superior to anything else being built at the time. The entire shell was aluminum framing, with aluminum sheets riveted to the inside and outside. The walls and roof were built this way, with no seams in the roof to leak. It was also much more rigid than the typical wooden studs with thin aluminum siding stapled to the outside and plywood paneling stapled to the inside.
In 1966 GM's Oldsmobile division rocked the auto industry with the introduction of the Toronado. The Toronado was all new, nothing like it had ever been seen before. With swooping curves, hidden headlights, big-block power and front wheel drive, it was as luxurious as it was innovative. Powered by a 385 horsepower 425 cubic inch V8, GM's revolutionary Turbo-Hydramatic 425 transmission propelled the front wheels, an American first in 30 years. John Hall knew at once this was the drivetrain he needed for his Revcon. The front wheel drive would eliminate the need for a driveshaft from the front of the coach to the rear, and would permit the low profile and low center of gravity he envisioned. Once John Hall proved to GM that the drivetrain would work in a motorhome GM liked the idea so much that they copied it, and built the GMC motorhome.
In 1968, the first Revcons were built. They included aircraft aluminum monocoque body construction, and a custom built chassis with Oldsmobile Toronado front wheel drive. The lightweight, low profile and front wheel drive made the Revcon handle as well as any American car of the day, quite a feat for a 12,000 pound motor home. It certainly helped the fuel economy, consistently 2 to 4 MPG higher than the competition. The innovation didn't end with the drivetrain and body, Revcon took it to the interior as well. Lightweight materials were used throughout. Cabinets were constructed of aluminum honeycomb core sandwiched between 2 thin layers of formica. Not only did this save weight, it was much more durable than the plastic or pressboard cabinets that were typical of the era, and are still the industry standard today. Everything was then trimmed with genuine teak accents. The interior walls were aluminum sheets, with high quality vinyl wall covering. The wall paper inside my Revcon is over 30 years old and looks as good as it did when new. Quality didn't stop where you couldn't see it either. At a time when most motor homes were built with so called “wet baths”, where the entire bathroom doubled as the shower stall, all Revcons had “dry baths” with separate shower stalls/bath tubs, just like a smaller version of your bathroom at home. Regular production started in 1971, with Revcon leading the industry in innovation and luxury. By this time, Oldsmobile had increased the size of the Toronado engine to 455 cubic inches, even more suited for motor home use. Early models, affectionately called Flat-Noses, were built until 1977 and could be had in 4 models, the 220, 250, 260 and 290, with several floorplans built in each model.
1968 - 1977