This must be a topic I must do, it’s been so difficult to get to it. It’s been hot and heavy this week… with Fandango going out, We had targeted for “Rock the Alps” to also go out, changes took that pressure off but hey… we’re all lathered up, should just try and Get-r-done so we’re doing that.
This talk I want to point at you guys interested in picking up one of these. Like most small businesses and “great ideas” they start out with some romantic idea…. “Wouldn’t it be great if I could………. find a unbelievable price on a perfect coach…… “lets look at the cheap ones, there’s a deal in there somewhere”……. “My budget is $10,000 drive out ready to vacation”……. and a pile more. Yes, that WOULD be awesome but I will tell you now regurgitating and old saying “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. And another really good one us hot rodders know all too well, “the cheaper it is the more you will spend to make it nice”.
Now all this sounds like I’m setting you up to spend more money, the one thing I hate from someone I want to work with…. building it up before we even get started….. I HATE THAT so believe me when I tell you that’s not what I’m saying here……… The first step of knowledge is to know what you don’t know and getting involved in a 40 year old motorhome brother… please get some input before you step out… or you can just do it for the same reason most do… it just looked cool and I wanted it!
Yep, the same way most small businesses start up… a romantic idea, under funded with no idea how to actually run a business…. that truly IS the American way…. I WANT ONE…. OK so go get one a learn about it as you go….. but first get a little background, you may find your investment will pay off more.
A great example is actually Fandango These coaches can be anything you want…. Bill has been a seasoned car enthusieast since dirt….. he knows cars, he knows quality, appreciates it and seeks that level in everything he does. Hey that’s great and a good friend of Bills picked up a GMC…. wanting to do the travel thing with friends Bill set out to search for a good GMC and he found a really good, well kept survivor A good looking rare….. 23′ rear bath Birchaven…. and set out to make it theirs. Getting into the coach I saw right away his discriminating taste and we found Bill and his wife could have nothing but a real restoration on their survivor GMC. So shifting gears from a full mechanicals resoration we included paint and an interior update as well. Took some time and a pile of work Paint was complete . yeah, fiftymillion holes in the roof! a 3 color base/clear paint buffed to 3000 a pile of work. Then the interior came apart then going back together
If you want to see more of the finals look back a couple of days of Daily Pose entries.
This is an example of someone appreciating the coach and seeing where they wanted it to go. Here’s another success story:
A couple found a GMC on line over near Tampa. They came here while negotiating to learn more about the GMC. The owner drove the coach over for a mechanical review with us. Owned for decades by a true enthusiast it was still Palm Beach green but it had it where it counted. A retired engineer the PO loved and kept the coach in tip top shape.
Meet the new owners This survivor has been passed along. The love their coach just as it is….. and plan to use it just as Bill will be using Fandango to do what they want. One was a bit more investment but it too will be perfect for them.
And here’s a family who flew down for a Florida vacation who came by to sit on our “sofa” and talk about the GMC . I turned off the sound on the slot machine so the kids could play while we talked! Meet the next generation wanting to get out on the road as their Dads had taken them. These coaches STILL offer the same fun they did to the first generation of owners!.
The investment in a motorhome was expensive then and you must understand they are expensive today. Because it’s old, you don’t depreciate stupidly like a new motorhome but your maintenance curve right away will cost then continued maintenance will be @ $2000 a year that is AFTER you get everything updated and upgraded where needed. Mechanicals cannot be put off unless it will sit in your back yard and be an object of your frustration you being the head cook and bottle washer please understand it will take some time for your to get back anything from your investment. If you do all needed to at least make it run reliably you can use it… getting some value right from the start.
Guys there’s no way around saying this…… if you pay less than $10,000 for a GMC most bets will be that will be the LOWER check you will write to get the coach on the road and reliable. Hey… you may luck out but not addressing a mechanical issue and try to run with that is just not smart! If you have a survivor it top mechanical shape ready to run and you have less than $25,000 invested total brother you are doing pretty good. Hey and don’t fudge that….. ” the brakes feel really good….. great when you inspect them you will see new parts right? NO usually, they work good but they are really old parts and honestly you just can’t go out on the open road and take a chance those brakes will keep working….. please do not do this!
Likewise.. if you pick up a coach… have it mechanically reliable and all susyems checks and a go…. the exterior looking “pretty” whatever that means to you and comfortable inside to your liking…. brother is you have less than $50,000 invested and you really love the machine you are really doing pretty good! Bill will have more than that invested, the other couple will not but both are happy and will benefit from their investments……. that is if they both USE their coach! Let it sit call it a black hole…. drive it and call it a great investment…. see that’s up to you!
There are truths in ownership I have found over the years to be true. There may be different outcomes in both direction…… one guy grips “every time I get in the thing something is wrong”. I say to that man, “Get in the coach and use it more, fix the problems and they won’t bother you again”. Another guy says, ” I have funky problems every time I take the coach out…. brother go through the critter or it will make you stay greasy on every trip! These things are just too old to rely on any system that has not been seriously investigated and probably rebuilt. It has to be or you are driving a 12,000 pound projectile looking for a smooth place to land!…. and stop!
If you cannot sustain maintenance to this level and can’t afford to work with the coach my suggestion is to wait to buy. There will always be one when you are ready….. take your time but when you do see one you can afford and afford to invest 50% more than what you will pay to have the coach….. close your eyes… write the check and never look back because now your job is to make the best of your chosen investment. The journey will have started and I want you ready to climb that ladder. DO not buy a coach without funds to invest into it. Owning a coach without the ability to get it at least out on the road is a negative investment!
So now if I’ve scared you off know it was for the best… if you are still interested hurry….. get out there and find one! Fly into Orlando like the 2 couple I showed you, they stuck around, learned about these coaches and now own one for themselves. Understand what they are and looking for the right investment WITH your eyes open can only help but if you do just see one and have to have it still fly into Orlando learn a little before you start work. Seek information, we want you to have it! Come sit on the “sofa” and see what this is all about. Stay with us… we have 11 50amp AC outlets on our building and for $10 a night you can camp with us… learn and enjoy what this is all about.
OK… that’s enough stuff for this subject…. for now. I fell head over heals ending my electronics career and starting one caring for and restoring these machine over 20 years ago…. I made the investment and never looked back… and I can tell you this business is a blast! Cool machine, great customers and now a facility and workers that make this work. See ya later…. come see us, I’ll leave the light on…. .
Jim is right on the money here folks. I bought my coach and by the time it was ready to be driven out, I had bought it again!
There were a couple of surprises (like frame rust that was hidden until it was on the lift, 40 YO Brake lines about ready to explode, bad bearings, etc.) that weren’t planned, but I will say if I could have spent what I have now in it upfront, I would have had a nicer coach all around, however, I spent what I had budgeted and then immediately went 40% over my budget…
Do I have any regret? Nope not even an ounce 🙂
If your bored, you can read the early posts on my blog below for more detail…