Flatnose Frank: Our Renovated Vintage RevCon Motorhome ("Is that an Airstream?")

Flatnose Frank is a 1972 RevCon model 250 aluminum motor coach. RevCon was started by John Hall, the stepson of Airstream’s founder, Wally Byam. John's "Revolutionary Concept" was to add a big Oldsmobile motor and a front-wheel-drive transmission to the iconic aircraft aluminum body. “Frank” is named for the Frankenstein array of American auto manufacturer parts used by RevCon from Olds, AMC, Chevrolet, International Harvester, Dodge and who knows what others.

My wife and I saw Frank’s classic aluminum-and-rivet style hiding beneath his very rough exterior. It was abused by transients and moved around the outskirts of town every 72 hours to avoid being impounded. When it showed up parked a block from my house, I happened upon the owner while I was leaving a note to ask if it was for sale. Surprisingly, he had a clear title. After a couple days of sketchy negotiations, Frank chugged and creaked into my driveway and was ours.

I love restoring cars and my wife loves home design, so this complete renovation seemed like a project made in heaven. Predictably, it was way more work and cost than we really expected. We tackled the project by working between 5 and 7:30 am on the weekdays and on every spare night and weekend.

We love retro modern design so we took that approach with this project. Light, airy, modern, but with classic lines. A bit of auto leather plus "70's color, patterns and style liven up the interior.

We finished our RevCon project - or at least ticked off the last, original "to do" - in Fall 2018. It took a total of 1200 hours in over a year and a half. The result is a one-of-a-kind accomplishment that will bring us years of enjoyment, adventure, and conversation with family and new friends.

As 2019 rolls in, Frank's seen about a thousand miles. Look for him and us at vintage RV shows and rallies that we discover throughout West!

I’ve photo documented the project here on Flickr: flic.kr/s...

Brad Johnson uploaded Flatnose Frank: Our Renovated Vintage RevCon Motorhome ("Is that an Airstream?") through Add A Home.
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Flatnose Frank - 1972 RevCon 250 in the rough. This is after a complete interior gutting and being "cleaned up" for the bodywork estimate.

Polished top half required 40 hours to strip manually and 18 hours of professional work by Universal Metal Polishing from Alameda, CA. Frank's now ready for the paint shop.

Here's the lower section body work well underway at Fleet BodyWorx in San Jose, CA.

Next step...paint (Lexus Nebula Gray Pearl).

Adding exterior detail like new locks, chrome lugnut caps, and a thousand more things.

The paint is incredible - metallic pearl gray changes with the angle and light.

Cabinet building in process. Everything is framed and built from stratch.

Cabinet installation in progress. This crew of brothers from Pride Painting went above and beyond helping with our crazy project. (The temp storage from PODS housed all the cabinetry while the RevCon was in the body shop.)

Cabinet installation continues with semi-gloss white paint.

I discovered this treatment that dates to the 1600's - cerused wood finish on original teak trim achieved with black dye, shellac and liming wax. All wood trim received this finish.

I reupholstered this huge 94" dashboard in black vinyl to match new black leather driver/passenger seats.

Adding the "retro" to retrofit on the gauge panel - it's very old-school aircraft inspired. The center cluster is a custom ABS plastic box I learned how to build with supplies from TAP Plastics (I became a regular).

Finished dash and steering wheel. Aluminum and black is the theme for the cab.

This is the original two-passenger front seat from RevCon, reupholstered to match the leather driver's seat.

Retrofit Mercedes GL450 leather, 6-motor driver's seat is fully adjustable, swivels 90 degrees , and is super comfortable.

The galley features tin tile backsplash from Home Depot, Atwood stainless range, Hengs hood, Kraus faucet, laminate granite-look countertop and the original RevCon stainless sink.

This is the finished main area fully designed by my talented wife.

Right rear couch / double bed with inspiration paisley fabric on pillows. Cushions, leather seats and pillows were all stitched masterfully by Barrios Upholstery in Morgan Hill, CA.

Bath area refinished. Notice the push-lock latches. I bought these in bulk from China. We saved the original chrome t-paper holder and soap and cup holder (on the left, closed. It revolves open).

Side view. Hot-rod look and sound thanks to custom built 19.5" wheels from American Specialty Wheels in Kennewick, WA and 3" exhaust welded up by Luna's Mufflers in San Jose, CA.

Architect
  • RevCon
Interior Design
  • Monica Johnson
Photographer

Overview

Bedrooms
  • 1
  • Full Baths
  • 1
  • Structure
  • RV
  • Style
  • Traditional
  • Year
  • 1972
  • Square Feet
  • 200
  • Lot Size
  • 0