Four Wheeler Magazine (Canoga Park CA), October 1989

The Big One; Four Wheeler Magazine (Canoga Park, CA); October 1989; Dave Epperson

For $199,000, you can take it with you.

Do you yearn to fly a 747? Park the Goodyear Blimp in a downtown alley? Sail the Exxon Valdez up Catfish Creek? You can achieve these fantasies – almost. Just slide into the one-of-a-kind Revcon 4×4 motorhome’s captain’s chair. Light off the below-decks torquer. Then simply roll away from home port into an ocean of rush-hour freeway traffic, or cruise serenely to the distant calm of some desert dry wash. With the Revcon, all things are possible – or so it seems.

From bow to stern, this four-wheel-drive ship of the desert measures 33 feet, one inch. It’s 10 feet, eight inches in height, until the crew raises the six-foot TV antenna mast – then, it’s taller. Overall beam measures eight feet, four inches. The vehicle carries a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 18,500 pounds. However, its over-the-scales weight with half a load of fuel and water comes to about 14,600 pounds. In sheer size, the vehicles itself resembles a tractor/trail

Our drivers, more experienced with more conventional 4x4s, initially found this massive motorcoach an exercise in how to over come fear of the unknown. The four corners of the motorhome, only dimly perceived in the far distance, at first seemed as far away as Antarctica. Backing, sliding up to a curb, making a turn, negotiating desert dips, or finding a place to park at the shopping center all raised drivers’ heartbeat levels. Finally, though, they got the hang of it and started to enjoy the huge vehicle, grooving exact locations of the Revcon 4×4’s furthermost ironclad extremities. Fortunately, no bashes, crashes, dents, or dings resulted from this learning experience.


Built from the ground up by the Revcon Division of RV Motorcoach Service Corporation (Dept. FW, 1400 Watsoncenter Rd., Carson, CA 90745, 213-834-5858), the massive 4×4 rests on a custom channel-steel frame. “We put the steel in a jig and start welding,” grins Dick Kreiger, Revcon chief engineer.

Power comes from a stock high-torque GM 454cid V-8 with stock intake and exhaust manifolds, but with a custom 2.5-inch dual-exhaust system and glasspack mufflers. The stock GM ignition remains. The big-block drives through a Turbo 465 three-speed automatic transmission with a 2,200 rpm stall speed to meet the heavy load imposed by the coach. A stock shifter operates through custom cable linkage.

Farther down the drivetrain is a solenoid-operated Borg-Warner 13-5600017 two speed transfer case. The pushbutton operated transfer case, with a 2.68:1 low range, drives a pair of Dana 70 axles.

The frontend is located by a unique front-wheel-drive independent front suspension, which was entirely fabricated in Revcon’s shop. The IFS system includes 1.25-inch-diamater longitudinal torsion bars, and upper and lower A-arms and half shafts. Two Carrera shocks take care of damping, and three Rancho steering stabilizers smooth potential steering oscillations.

The Dana rearend is complemented by a Hotchkiss-type, leaf-spring suspension, with two Rancho shocks per wheel. A Revcon truss further strengthens the rear. Axle gearing is 5.88:1. Revcon offers limited-slip differentials for made-to-order custom coaches. Locking diffs, though, don’t figure in the one-off prototype vehicle we tested.

In order to accept 4×4 powertrain components and large-diameter off-road tires, the Revcon fiberglass coachwork received a six inch lift, as compared with similar two-wheel-drive motorhomes built by RV Motorcoach Service’s Apollo division.

The original Revcon 4×4’s fuel tank shows a 60-gallon capacity; a fill-up of “regular” costs $70 or more. The company offers an additional 50 gallons of capacity via an optional auxiliary tank.

The Revcon 4×4 rolls on custom wheels, fabricated from heavy-duty forklift center sections welded into likewise heavy-duty 16.5×10-inch industrial rims. To accommodate Dick Cepek’s largest tieres, a set of 44×18.5/16.5 Mud Country lls, inside the motorhome’s wheelwells, the wheels show eight inches of offset.


Listing all the Revcon 4×4’s installed equipment inside and out likely would require more than space available. So, only an abbreviated list of equipment appears here.

Outside, the coach mounts nine Cepek Super Off-Road high-intensity lights at the front and two at the rear. Two Super Off-Road foglamps sit up front, as well as four “docking lights” per side, and red and amber clearance lights. Multi-tube hardware, precision bent by American Tube, protects the bow and stern. The front-end assembly includes a Warn 12000 electric winch and mount; the rear comprises a double-tube drawbar hitch-ball mount receiver, plus wiring for trailer lights and brakes.

An outside walk-around reveals access panels for a full-width storage bay below the engine battery; an electrically retractable three-step accommodation ladder; refrigerator controls; a half-width bay; fuel filler; another full-width bay; a small storage compartment; an Onan 6.5-kilowatt Emerald II auxiliary electrical generator; holding-tank drain valves; water fill; space heater; 20-gallon propane-storage pressure bottle; 110/120-volt external electrical source connections; and dual heavy-duty batteries for 12-volt operation. Two air-conditioning chiller/condenser units and a TV antennae ride atop the Revcon. The chassis includes leveling jack pads. Scratch-resistant polyurethane paint covers the vehicle’s fiber glass exterior.

Inside, the vehicle displays a custom panel with an array of Teleflex instruments: speedometer, tach, oil pressure and temperature gauges, voltmeter, and coolant and transmission fluid temperature gauges.

Also within, the Revcon represents luxury apartment dwelling on wheels – with 77 inches of headroom for tall people. Reclining chairs offer on-and-off road travel comfort for captain and first mate; a divan that converts into sleeping accommodation for two or serves as seating when travelers choose to erect a stowable dining table; a semi-rectangular bench-seat arrangement that converts into a larger-than-king-size bed at the rear; and full carpeting.

Between front and rear compartments, Revcon amenities include a microwave, Revcon amenities include a microwave/convection oven; a four-burner propane range with vent hood with electric exhaust fan; double-tub stainless-steel galley sink; an 8-gallon hot water heater; two Motiveair 14.5cfm forced-air furnace/air-conditioning units; telephone jacks; and a multitude of lit storage closets, drawers, and cabinets. The bathroom door swings out and latches across the central passageway to create separate private sleeping rooms. All windows feature solar tinting to reduce interior heat.

An AM/FM/cassette deck, VCR, and Panasonic 10-inch color TV provide a broad range of entertainment. A small convenience bar with wine rack rests between two occasional lounge chairs on the vehicle’s left side.


We scheduled a weekend with the Revcon 4×4 and picked up the vehicle late one freeway Friday. Driving impressions of this vehicle embody a range from stark terror to fun and frolic. Driving a 33-foot vehicle for the first time, and on slow-and-go freeway at that, the stark terror came first. This vehicle is bigger than anything we’ve driven lately. Somehow, the sea of cars and trucks parted to allow passage of The Big One, perhaps intimidated by its massive steel-tubing crusher arrays front and rear.

Finally, the Revcon took aboard its load of four passengers, food, drink, sheets and blankets, and incidentals, then headed into mid-evening freeway traffic, south and eastbound toward California’s low desert and some four wheeling in the magnificent home away from home. Lesser vehicles gave way to the Revcon; others pulled alongside, way down there, to rubberneck, astounded by the vehicle’s size and exterior equipment.

Before starting to climb over a mountain range, we decided it would be prudent to refuel. We topped the tank and calculated the vehicle had traveled 4.1 miles per gallon of gas consumed at an average 55 mph or so. Yeow.

The climb, on a secondary two-laner, went more swiftly than anticipated, the 454 V-8 producing adequate power to move the near 14,000 pounds uphill. Feeling better now about the Revcon’s length and width, twisting roadways and hairpin bends created far less anxiety than at first. The down side of the mountain range required a manual shift to First gear for compression, along with some heavy braking. We could smell ’em, but no fade became apparent.

On the desert side, things went smoothly. A half moon lit the turnoff into a broad dry wash, our campsite – if you can call luxury apartment dwelling “camp” – for the night. We parked and celebrated a little, just for getting there.

The next day, we considered well-known narrow canyon trails, but in light of the Revcon’s 4×4’s size abandoned these for wider washes and a jaunt through a tamarisk oasis trail, a muddy, gooey sinkhole. Here, even in the harshest, most stark desert environment, groundwater seeps, rising to form a shallow stream, a haven for birds and a breeding round for vicious insects.

Pushbuttons put the Revcon first in wheel drive, then 4-Lo. We pulled in the staircase, then motored off sedately into the rising sun. The vehicle’s suspension worked easily, albeit in an elephantine manner. Its long travel sponged up washboard and pothole surfaces while the mobile condo swayed rhythmically from side to side as it trundled serenely over the desert floor.

We challenged the deep mud and won hands down – no contest, truly. The Revon’s 11.5-inch ground clearance stradled everything in its path. The Cepek Mud Countrys live up to their name – literally. They also provided effective traction in loose granite sand, broken hardrock, and silty material from an ancient sea bed.

Three Rancho steering dampers smooth out oscillations when those big Cepek Mud Countrys encounter roadway irregularities. IFS includes a front stabilizer bar.

The electrically operated Borg-Warner two-speed transfer case supplies power to the rear on demand.

At length, we came to crossing a narrow erosion channel. Would the vehicle snag on its long rear overhang, or would it pass through? We eased the Revcon down into the narrow crack, very slowly; the rear tube bumper/drawbar caught the silt, but easily plowed on through, scooping up a little dry powder as it vent.

We continued onward, taking in scenery, visiting favored spots, sipping iced soft drinks, eating fat sandwiches, comfortable in our recliners, luxuriating in an air-conditioned atmosphere. The outside air temperature now pushed 110 degrees. We meandered slowly back through the mud bog to a shady flat spot for a siesta, power steering taking the effort out of the task. At dusk we prepared a steak barbecue. During supper we exchanged looks and said, “Road testing is really tough work, huh?” Everybody laughed. We crashed for the night in a monarchical comfort.

In the morning, well after breakfast, a fuel fill at a border Texaco station showed the vehicle delivered but 3.41 mpg in a 4-Lo/off-pavement mode. Double yeow. We headed for home, some 200 miles away. The Revcon 4×4 managed 4.66 mpg on this trip let. Yeow again, but with not so much high-pitched emphasis.

On the freeway, running at legal speeds, the Revcon motorcoach handled well – better than expected, considering the penchant of its large, cobby tires to follow rain groves in the pavement. Uneventful, comfortable, effortless, smooth, take your choice to describe the Revcon ride home.


Hard-core members of the Jeep CJ ilk may contend that Revcon motorcoach travel isn’t exactly four wheeling. The Revcon 4×4 can neither run the Rubicon Trail nor compete in the Baja 1000. This vehicle can, however, transport four people over freeway and backcountry trail to remote locations where other, less-capable vehicles can not possibly travel. Moreover, those four travelers drive, ride, or rest in cushy luxury, the kind of urban accommodation comfort heretofore unknown in the outback among off-pavement vehicles Sure, the Revcon 4×4 is a motorhome, but it’s something else, too. For $199,000, plus those little extras, you can take it with you – whatever it is, wherever you want to go.