[Many thanks to Dave for this write-up. His website is offline, otherwise I'd link to it. Here's his text, with my limited edits.]
So you came across a Revcon for sale and you’re wondering, what is a Revcon? Why would I want to buy one? Since the manufacturer is out of business, can I still get parts? How do I get technical support? Are some models better than others? What’s the difference between a flat nose and a slant nose? Well friend, you’ve come to the right place.
A Revcon is a unique, high end, lightweight, front wheel drive motorhome. Originally designed in 1968, it's built on an Oldsmobile Toronado front end, similar to GMC motorhomes. In fact GM required Revcon to do significant stress tests on the Tornado drive train, and then later introduced its own GMC motorhome after Revcon proved the concept. Later Revcons were built on a custom drive train as described below.
How Revcons are built and why they're special
The Revcon is built on a custom box channel frame. This makes it much more rigid than conventional C-channel designs used in most motorhomes. The coach is constructed using aircraft aluminum exterior skin, frame and interior skin. The front and rear end caps are fiberglass. It features two-inch high-density fiberglass insulation in the walls. The interior skin is coated with a decorative layer of plastic. Advantages of this construction include extraordinary weight savings and protection from moisture. Even early Revcons offer better protection from rot than many new motorhomes. The inside surface is very easy to clean, as it can be scrubbed with a stiff brush without damage.
This riveted stretch form construction is an elegant design, and is noticeably more rigid than conventional laminated layers of fiberglass, wood, and foam. The interior cabinetry was constructed by stretching Formica over a wood frame. The core is semi-hollow, with a honeycomb weave for support. This makes for a very lightweight, durable surface. Most cabinetry in a Revcon will look as good as it did the day it was new, even though it might be 25+ years old. The underbelly is totally enclosed and stuffed with six inches of fiberglass insulation, which insulates and minimizes road noise.
Much has been said about a Revcon’s ride and handling. As noted above, Revcon spared no expense in making its chassis solid and lightweight. The low profile enabled by the front-wheel drive and lightweight chassis resulted in an unusually low center of gravity. In addition, the rear axle on the later models is a tandem configuration. Compared to a dually, where the effective average load bearing point is in the center of the two dually tires, the Revcon’s effective load bearing point provided by the tandem axle single wheel is in the center of the tire making the load support about six inches wider on each side. As anyone who has driven one will tell you, a Revcon will handle tight corners at a higher speed and with far less body roll than a conventional motorhome. Also, it is unusually stable in a crosswind. Because of the low profile and aerodynamics, Revcon advertised the slant nose with the 454 engine to be the fastest class A built, with a top speed of 98 miles per hour (although rumor has it that Revcons will hit triple digits). This supreme handling and speed made it earn the reputation as the Ferrari of the class A’s. It handles so gracefully, it makes scenic byways a truly enjoyable experience.
The Revcon motorhome dates back to 1968, when a man named John Hall conceived the idea of a low-profile, front-drive coach with a lightweight aluminum monocoque body. This was not entirely a coincidence since John was the stepson of Wally Byam, the founder of Airstream.
John Hall worked for Airstream for 20 years as an engineer and later in marketing. Articles make the case for Hall being the driving force at Airstream in trailer design. That he dedicated himself to starting Revcon in 1968 was no surprise.
Production started in Fountain Valley, California, with the 1972 model using the Oldsmobile Toronado 455 engine and drive system. By the end of the 1970s, however, Olds had downgraded its drive systems, which were no longer suitable for motorhome use, so Revcon designed its own front-wheel drive system using the Chevrolet 454 engine. They also redesigned the nose of the coach at this time to the beautiful streamlined shape that was in use with minor variations until the end of production in 1989.
It's not hard to imagine the impact these coaches had 20 and 30 years ago when they were so far ahead of all the competition that they still do not look outdated in today's world.