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Cheers or Jeers: 1978 GMC Royale

Cheers or Jeers: 1978 GMC Royale  

7 members have voted

  1. 1. Cheers or Jeers?

    • Cheers! Beautiful shape and much cooler than a bland newer model.
    • Jeers! $72,000 is way too much for something so elderly and impractical!

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Cheers or Jeers: 1978 GMC Royale

In the heady days after the United States landed a man on the moon, General Motor engineers set out to design the ultimate traveling machine. Drawing on the excitement of the times, this vehicle had to exemplify the cutting edge of vehicle design and construction. This was not to be just another recreational vehicle. The common design of the times for RVs was a boxy, ungainly, top-heavy vehicle on a truck chassis. The GM vehicle was to be innovative in every way. Design work began in 1970, with release planned for the 1973 model year

The design would draw heavily on General Motors expertise in several areas. First, it was to be front wheel drive. A still rare concept in car design, much less motorhomes. The drive train and front suspension would be the same design that had been used successfully in the Oldsmobile Toronado since 1966: the 455 cubic inch Oldsmobile engine mated to a Turbohydramatic 425 transmission with torsion bar suspension. The rear suspension would draw on GMs leadership in bus design, using dual swing arms(one leading and one trailing) with a single air spring on each side. Automatic controls would be integrated into the suspension to allow the vehicle to compensate for changes in loading and maintaining a level driving condition at all times. The chassis was to be a steel ladder design. The body framing was to be aluminum and the body exterior was to be a combination of heavy gauge aluminum and molded glass fiber reinforced plastic as had been used in the Chevrolet Corvette.

The use of front wheel drive and the independent swing arm rear suspension brought many advantages to this design. The lack of drive shafts and axles passing under the coach allowed a very low floor height compared to other motorhomes. The low floor height also allowed a low overall height and low center of gravity for the coach. This gave the vehicle almost car-like driving qualities.

The emphasis for the design was to be on the traveling experience, not extended in-the-woods camping. This resulted in the exterior of the vehicle being dominated by large expanses of glass. Visibility from the drivers seat is panoramic to say the least.

Almost immediately, this timeless design attracted a fanatical following. Regional and national owners organizations sprang up to support the vehicle. Club publications were often the only source of information available. As interest in the coaches continued to grow, a cottage industry sprang up around them. Small manufacturers and garages began to specialize in providing products and services for the vehicles.

The major turning point came in 1992, as General Motors prepared to scrap all tooling and remaining parts inventory. Cinnabar Engineering purchased all the motorhome property from GM and negotiated a license to provide OEM parts for the vehicles. This assured availability of quality parts for the foreseeable future. In 1994, Cinnabar began publishing their own quarterly newsletter, GMC MOTOR NEWS, which details proper service, modifications and parts availability.

Our 26 GMC Royale with Rear bath is arguably one of the finest GMC Motorhomes on the road. Approximately 13,000 were built and we have had this vehicle inspected by Club Members and their consensus is that none have been thoroughly restored to his standard. The previous owner was a very successful man in the Publication industry and he spared no expense what so ever. It was a dream of his to have one of the very best GMC Motorhomes in existence, and he contracted Cinnabar to perform a full restoration of this vehicle. Over $110,000 dollars was spent it took two years and the vehicle came out spectacular. Used all OEM parts and proper installation of all components by the pros who bought the Plans from GMC. If you are looking for a GMC motor home this is the one to own. We purchased the vehicle last year from the gentleman who contracted all the work done. Unfortunately he never really used the motorhome the kids had grown up and moved out, his books were on hold and he couldnt find the time to travel. The vehicle was in mint condition and stored in a enclosed structure everything looked brand new and everything worked. The vehicle is fully loaded and includes a modern Audio and Video system with Satellite Direct TV we added blue Leds for ambient lighting. Below is a list of upgrades and repairs a full file of receipts from Cinnabar will accompany the vehicle noting much of these components. Every detail was addressed and there is too much to list the vehicle is simply brand new in every way and arguably The Absolute Very Best. We had driven it 800 miles on the first trip and have enjoyed it locally since, you will not find a finer example and if you are looking for the finest in GMC Home Motoring this vehicle is flawless.

Drive train:

Rebuilt 455ci Engine

(Including all accessory components and radiator)

Brand New(Not Rebuilt) GM 425 Automatic Transmission

New A/C Compressor (NOS) Supplemental Vacuum Power Assist (GM/NOS)

New Vacuum Lines incl. Dash air system

New Rostra Cruise Control

Rebuilt Carb

Updated HE Ignition System

Thorley Headers 3 inch Stainless Steel Exhaust W Twin Flowmasters

3:42 Final Drive (GM)

Fuel Line Cooling Loop (Prevents Vapor Lock)

Rebuilt Steering Column

Heavy Duty Radiator

Front Suspension:

Bushings including

Idler control arm ( Machined Custom ZERK Fittings)

Sway Bar bushings and Mounts

Shocks, Hubs Knuckles and Bearings

Rear Suspension :

Complete Rebuild including Lines, Controls, Bags, Shocks, Valves, Compressor for

Electro Level 1, Boogie Pins and Bearings


Front and Rear Complete rebuild with Hand Brake


Body was stripped to surface sealed, primed and painted. Frame was cleaned, etched, inspected and painted.

New Rub Rail

RAMCO Heated Electric Mirrors with Turn Signals

Custom Spare tire Cover

Accessory Doors flush mount locking

Accessory Doors (storage)

Accessory Battery Tray

Updated Rectangle Halogen Head lights with Matching OEM type bezels

New Grill

Re-Chromed front bumpers with Custom Rock Guard

Upgraded Wiper system

Wind Wings

All window frames painted new sealing, rubber and latch system

New Roof plumbing and Refrigerator vents

New Roof Air Unit

Thermostatically Controlled front and rear roof vents

Updated rear tail lights

New Front and Rear Clearance lighting (GMC)


New Head Liner

Color Keyed rear bath headliner

New Dash Gauges Speedo, Tach, Oil Pressure, oil temp, Trans temp, Alt/Volt meter, Air bag pressure and fuel level.

Custom GMC Leather steering wheel

Leather covered Dash and Side panels

New Upgraded AC heat and Dash control system

New Leather seats w/ 6 way power and Lumbar

In Dash CD, AM-FM/DVD-TV surround system

Original Coachmen Solid Walnut cabinetry

New Upholstery throughout

New Carpet w/ bound matting

Corian Counters and Table tops

Water filtration at Sink

New Convection/ Microwave

Restored Kitchen aide four burner stove

Upgraded 50k BTU Furnace

New Fridge w/ stainless steel panels

New Rear bath folding door

New Privacy curtains

New Day and Night Shades

Custom Walnut shelving New water system Pump on Demand

Rebuilt Toilet Plumbing System

New water heater and water exchanger

New windshields and rubber


Completely detailed engine compartment

NOS GM Rocket air cleaner emblem

Onan with 375 hours Serviced

New linkage and NOS electronic ignition

7 Alcoa Wheels New Michelin 10ply Tires

Front Wheel Track Spacers

All books, manuals and diagrams.


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