Seeking Ways to Improve the Human Condition

United Earth for Peace

Some images may be disturbing to young viewers as it is our intent to put a real face on the human suffering war and hunger that the lack of peace in the world have caused.  Viewer discretion is advised.

Design Library - Housing/Shelter

Housing the homeless is the first step toward creating a better world. Here we will present various ideas for creating shelters, both long term and short term habitats built out of as much of the local materials as possible.

Prototyping the Individual Habitat

We asked ourselves what does one need in a dwelling to live a minimal lifestyle detached from a system that holds humanity hostage? Because houseboats and recreational vehicles are by their nature  micro habitats designed for individuals  or small family groups that seemed like a logical place to begin our study and experimentations.

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Owner’s Manual for a 1982 REVCON

With 1984 Updates

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The next step was to clean out all the junk and repair all the electrical wiring. At the same time, we stripped most of the old paint off and primed the outside of the vehicle. We also replaced all of the rodent damaged heater ducting.

We started with an old REVCON RV body we bought, saving the old motorhome from the scrap yard. It looked a lot like a combination of these two, except filled years worth of junk and buried in the mud with the engine sitting on the ground. The rats had a field day chewing on the wiring.

Then we painted it so that it would fit in with one of the stories we tell and sell online to help fund our many projects and websites like Starfighter Command, an ever evolving story that has caused us to change the visual appearance of the model to keep up with the story’s evolution. It is within this format that we chose to create a demonstration model of independent living completely detached from the electrical grid while still living a modern lifestyle.

The REVCON is the most under-appreciated motorhome ever made. Related to the Airstream Trailers and based on the Oldsmobile Toronado of 1971-1978, in 1978, REVCON changed to a Chevrolet 454 based drivetrain of their own design. It too featured the same construction but with a new, molded fiberglass nose section and wheel openings.

The REVCON RV is built on a box channel frame.  This makes it more rigid than 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 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.  The underbelly is totally enclosed and stuffed with six inches of fiberglass insulation, which insulates and minimizes road noise.

The elegance of its design is clearly visible here. The front wheel drivetrain with a Turbo Hydramatic transmission bolted to the bottom of the ladder frame. The torsion bars for the original Toronado front suspension are visible extending rearward from the drivetrain unit. Where you see that torsion bar cross member is where the factory Toronado frame ends, from there back, the rest of the coach is effectively a trailer being dragged by the powertrain unit. This design allowed for an exceptionally low floor and accompanying center of gravity; as a result, the REVCON handled like no other coach of its time.

The low profile enabled by the front-wheel drive and lightweight chassis resulted in an unusually low center of gravity.  Also, 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.  This vehicle 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, and the 454 engine, this RV is thought to be the fastest class A ever built for its time, with a top speed of 98 miles per hour (although REVCONs will hit triple digits).

Demonstration Model - Page 2