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Tuesday, January 31, 2023
StartAutomobilesThis 1940 GMC motorhome built for Jane Russell is an extremely...

This 1940 GMC motorhome built for Jane Russell is an extremely rare gem.

The 1940 GMC motorhome is a very special vehicle, commissioned by Howard Hughes for Hollywood star Jane Russell.

If you're not overly familiar with these names, you should know that Hughes rose to fame in the late 1920s when he produced big-budget and often controversial films such as The Racket, Hell's Angels, and Scarface.

He also acquired the RKO Pictures film studio in the 1940s.

Hughes was also an enthusiast and pilot of aircraft, set up his own company and survived no fewer than four plane crashes.

He set a round-the-world flight record in 1938 and a transcontinental speed reference in 1937.

Jane Russell didn't fly planes, but she was one of Hollywood's top sex symbols in the 1940s and 1950s. She landed her first film role in Hughes' "The Outlaw," which hit the screen in 1943 and is now considered a Western. iconic.

Back to our GMC in question, this short bus was commissioned by Howard Hughes for “The Outlaw”.

It is one of eight vehicles ordered by the producer and is what Jane Russell used during filming.

More specifically, it's the kind of vehicle that actors used to change costumes, redo makeup, and rest between scenes or filming sessions in the old days. And sometimes they were also used as dormitories.

This GMC doesn't have a bed, so it didn't fit as a trailer, but it was pretty much a motorhome with no bedroom.

Because it had a fully equipped kitchen with a folding table, gas stove, sink and lots of storage cupboards, it also included a small shower cubicle with WC.

Fortunately, the vehicle is very complete and still includes all the original furniture. It is unusual for this type of bus to remain intact for so many decades, but I think it was lucky and not destroyed after being decommissioned.

Its history between being a movie trailer and becoming a barn-style heirloom is a mystery, but the GMC spent a good few years in the Rob van Vleet collection in Sydney, Nebraska.

And it looks like the owner has already started restoring it, as the old paint job has been sanded off and the bus now has new tires. Thankfully, he's also spent most of his life in California, so he's a rust-free survivor.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, this bus is based on the first medium trucks that GMC introduced in 1939. Built for just a few years, the series included a conventional truck known as the AC and a cab, over-engine variant sold as the AF. .

The latter also spawned a military version during World War II. While not exactly valuable as classic vehicles, AC/AF trucks are pretty rare these days.

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