The “Bobtail” coach
Many have talked about the difficulty of driving a vehicle with a large overhang like all motorhomes have, there are entrance ramp considerations, dips, bumps and even curbs need to be thought about when driving most any coach. Then there’s the “where can I park” problem. Traditionally, the answer to this was to own a “B van” camper. These are basic vans with tiny motorhome amenities built inside ($50,000+ new or $24,000 used). I don’t know about you but I don’t want my bathroom and kitchen to be the same and I really would like to stand up in my motorhome. I give you the “Bobtail”. An idea from a very creative customer that takes the best of both worlds – motorhome conveniences and van size. This coach is 21′ from bumper to bumper , it will park in a standard single car parking spot (10’x20′) and has no overhang to bottom out. Hopes are to actually build in a hot tub (American Standard 5′, 55 gal. jetted) and ceiling mounted Sharp C-1 projection video system using a KLH surround sound system with DVD, VCP, X-box, cable and provisions for satellite in the coach as well as a dedicated bathroom, galley, dinette and main sleeping quarters and make them normal size. This is a pretty tall order and just because this coach is shorter, don’t think it will be cheap to produce because the maximum use of space is critical so design perameters must be tight and efficient but this is a worthwhile project.]
We started be really tearing out the back section of a 23′ rear bath “Birchaven”. You have to break a few eggs to make an omlet and this coach had to come apart! Not only did the interior have to be stripped out but the body needed major modification. The , rear section of the body had to be shortened, the rear cap had to have its body mounts relocated and welded into place. The frame was boxed in and bumper mounts installed to relocate the bumper in the proper position. The rear section of the coach is tapered so we had to match up the cap and rear body dimensions. With body work though, the differences will be all but invisible. To date, the coach is mechanically sound and in good driving order. My son, Raymond (21 year old led foot) drove the coach with us to the recent GMCMI convention in Nashville and the “Bobtail” was seen for the first time where, as part of their 1977 25th Anniversary Celebration, to many curious GMCers – so many, in fact, that those parked in nearby sites suggested that charging admission to the continuous crowds might help pay for the renovation! The coach handled like a dream, the power to weight ratio was much improved over the original design and the coach could go effortlessly anywhere any car could go and park right next to them – an impossible feat until this project. New shocks (not heavy duty ones), tires and a 4 air bag system are coming up next for the Bobtail to further enhance the suspension characteristics. You may think shortening an already short coach is nuts, hold your judgment until you drive it and for those that are concerned about driving a big motorhome – you have just seen driving easy is possible. We also plan to install another pass. side window to make the drivers view less restrictive than any coach in existence, how’s them apples! This is a “work in progress” project. We hope to finish off the coach soon. Right now it is out there, just as you see it, waiting for the finish work.