1970 GMC ROYAL
70’ GMC pusher chassis/ 1955 Spartan Imperial Mansion
J. Paul Getty’s Spartan Aircraft company of Tulsa, Oklahoma made high quality travel trailers and (Spartan trailers 1946-1960) mobile homes. Bodies were aircraft aluminum, all riveted. Woodwork on interiors were birch. Wiring and plumbing were done in copper. In 1955 the Imperial Mansion was the apex of the company’s line.
Enter Dr. William Schultz of Bishop California. Being familiar with Spartan trailers he noted that none of the motorhomes on the market could compare. In 1969 he owned two 55’ model Imperial Mansions and he decided to convert one to a motor coach. “Royal Motorhome Manufacturing Co”,
Dr. Shultz And two employees set out to build the coach. A “prototype” the plan was to build and market a new motorhome brand utilizing some of the remaining Spartans as a basis. Shultz purchased a brand-new school bus chassis for just under $7000.00 from his local GMC dealership.
The rear pusher chassis came with a 401 cubic inch V-6 gas engine producing 273 horsepower and 372-foot pounds of torque. It has a 5 speed Clark transmission and a 2-speed drive axel. It came equipped with air brakes, power steering and 22.5” Budd wheels, a new front end for a gilling bus was factory sourced from the Oakland, CA factory. Mated to the trailer body it gives the coach a windshield, headlights, and an access door for vehicle electrical panel. The new chassis was nearly $9000, equal to two corvettes!
The dashboard was fabricated of steel. The GMC chassis came with a steering column, pedals and a dash panel with amp, oil pressure and temp gauges. Added by Shultz is a S.W. gas gauge (switchable between 2–60-gallon tanks), a tachometer, an air pressure gauge, and a manifold vacuum gauge. The dash included map storage and cassette stereo wired with 3 pairs of speakers throughout the interiors.
Dashboard was trimmed with aluminum and padded switches for lighting, heat, defrost, air seats, ect. Are easily accessible. From the body rub rail up, with the addition of the cockpit it’s a 1955 Spartan Imperial Mansion, serial number 1321. Below the rail is all designed and built by Dr. Schultz and his team, 12 compartment doors, all keyed alike accessed the rear engine, the generator, propane fuel tanks and multiple storage compartments. The engine bay is entered through the rear door and through an opening in the interior of the coach. A rear control panel allows engine to start and shut off.
The generator is a Kohler, it was last run in 2016. It is a gas powered, water cooled, 4-cylinder model with its own radiator. Access is through a side door on the passenger rear and through the engine bay.
A fold out set of steps to the main entry door are air actuated.
In 2014 some major upgrades were made to the interior. New insulation and wiring, wall coverings, day & night shades with valences, 2-way lights, individually adjustable work on both 110 and 12 volts with wiring for both, roof air conditioner and emergency escape hatch added, a new flex steel convertible couch, recliner and front drivers and passengers air ride, air adjust seats with armrests which swivel 360* for use in living area. The passenger seat is a recliner.
Radiant heat was added front to rear with separate control for bedroom and bath, all covered with high quality Berber carpet. The dinette was reupholstered matching the recliner and shade valences. A microwave oven was installed under the counter. A comfort air king size bed with dual controls is in the rear bedroom. The bath was upgraded with new cabinet lighting. A safe is built in, details to new owner.
In 2014 it made a nearly 10,000-mile trip cross country to tour the fall colors of Vermont Connecticut and New Hampshire. In 2015 the trip was repeated.
It was parted and used as a guest house, Man cave and air-conditioned hot weather retreat until purchased by the current owner in 2021. Since then, it’s received a major tune-up, new fuel pump, belts, oil and filters and new hydraulic clutch line, master slave cylinders and new HD vehicle battery. Permanent Washington registration was added. The coach runs and drives as it should. Very solid and reliable in every way. Standard shift lineage and all systems fully adjusted and smoothly functional. Good visibility and handling. Cruises easily at 60 miles per hour.
Featured on page 150 of 2006 book by Doug Keister, “Mobile Mansions” copy of the book included videos on YouTube “1970 GMC Royal Motorhome, Spartan Motorhome”
We have a suitcase of manuals, diagrams, and photos.