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Trail’s End: Rad And Regal, Testing Revcon’s 4x4 Motorhome

Posted in Features on August 27, 2018
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Photographers: Dave Epperson

Imagine flying the Goodyear Blimp down a New York City alley, parallel parking a 747, or sailing the Exxon Valdez up a drainage canal. The off-road equivalent is wheeling this 33-foot 4x4 behemoth. In October of 1989, we traded in our short-wheelbase rigs and longbed pickups for something even more immense—Revcon 4x4’s entry into the off-road motorhome scene. Let’s talk numbers. The RV was 10.6 feet tall, 8.3 feet wide, had a 12,000-pound winch, carried 60 gallons of fuel, weighed in at 18,500 pounds, required three Rancho steering dampers, and boasted a price tag (as tested) of nearly $200,000.

The backbone of the custom-built land yacht was a channel-steel frame, welded together from scratch in Carson, California. General Motors provided the power in the form of a high-torque 454ci V-8, which made some extra noise thanks to the 2.5-inch-diameter dual exhaust system with glasspack mufflers. The big-block sent the horses through the Turbo 475 three-speed automatic transmission and into the BorgWarner solenoid-operated two-speed transfer case. At the push of a button, the rig could be dropped into low range with a 2.68:1 reduction ratio.

The Goliath’s rear sat upon a pair of Dana 70 axles and was supported by a Hotchkiss-style leaf-spring suspension with two Rancho shocks at each wheel. The rearend was trussed for added support and the 5.88 gears helped keep the 44x18.5/16.5 Dick Cepek Mud Country II tires in motion. Up front was an IFS system unique to Revcon. The 1.25-inch-diameter longitudinal torsion bars, upper and lower A-arms, and halfshafts were all custom-fabricated in the shop. Each wheel received two Carrera shocks, and the steering system had three Rancho steering stabilizers.

On the inside, the giant Revco machine resembled a typical luxury RV of the time—larger-than-king-size bed, heating and air-conditioning systems, a flushing toilet, a standing shower, a galley to please any backcountry chef, and enough additional amenities to fill this page twice over. The outside, however, was far separated from a typical RV. To fit the 44-inch Dick Cepek tires and the brawny powertrain, the entire vehicle was treated to a 6-inch lift. The bow and stern were protected by custom tube bumpers, which were home to high-intensity Dick Cepek Super Off-Road lights and a pair of Super Off-Road foglamps.

We couldn’t just ogle this massive marvel, we had to subject it to as much of a 4x4 test as the big barge could handle. Before completely escaping the city traffic and the rubbernecked stares of passersby, we stopped for fuel. At the time, all it took to put 60 gallons of regular fuel in the tank was $70. After some quick math, we determined the Revcon rig was capable of 4.1 miles per gallon—if we held a steady 55 mph.

Off the highway, we quickly familiarized ourselves with maneuvering a wheeled apartment unit through the twisting washes and between the desert boulders. Neither mud bogs, nor hillclimbs, nor creek crossings stopped the beast, and the 11.5 inches of ground clearance kept the underpinnings from scraping the desert. At the end of the day, the testing crew reclined, enjoyed a mobile-home-cooked steak dinner, and retired to the sleeping quarters, safe from the 110-degree heat.

While this vehicle isn’t what most would call a wheeling rig, it is a motorhome outfitted to go where most motorhomes wouldn’t dare. Also, compared to the luxurious overlanding creations of the present day, this one came at a fraction of the price. What do you think about these big-budget rolling condos? Whether you’ve bought one, built one, or wouldn’t be caught dead near one, let us know what you think by sending a note and a high-res image to editor@fourwheeler.com.

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