1976 Palm Beach






GMC Trivia


Why our GMCs have door latches from Peterbilt trucks



The door from my

neighbor's 1973 

GMC showing the

stainless steel patch.



This is the door on 

my 1976 GMC and

it doesn't have the 

stainless steel patch.




May 24, 2001

I'm curious as to what door handle you have. The early ones had a pot metal handle like you see on campers of that era. When they recalled them they put in a Peterbilt latch like the later GMCs have and a stainless steel patch with a GMC emblem on it to cover up the old hole. At one rally a few years ago Alex Birch told quite a story about the early latch. They were demonstrating in front of a crowd and were supposed to open he door in front of the audience, but couldn't open the door, so the recall.

Milt Wade-Las Vegas


I asked my neighbor (the original owner of a 1973 23' Canyon Lands) if he knew why his door latch was different than mine.  Without prompting, he told me a story about a trip that a group of GMC executives made to an event in a GMC motorhome.  He recalls the event as being the Detroit Auto Show.   When they got there were photographers on hand to take pictures of the arriving motorhome.  For some reason the original design latch failed and as a result they couldn't get the door open.  They were forced to exit the coach through a window with a ladder.  This was supposedly in front of the photographers.  As a result of that episode, Peterbilt latches began to be installed on all the coaches. 


I never heard this story before.  Some version of it must be true. 


I've been looking at my neighbor's coach since 1978 and until I read the post on the GMCnet about the door latches I never noticed the stainless steel plate.  Actually I rather like the way it looks.



ZipDee awnings

...I thought you might like to hear the reason beyond the ZipDee name.  The awning was invented by Henry Duda (pronounced Doo Dah) in the early 60's.  The name ZipDee came up because of the Walt Disney song "Zip a Dee Doo Dah".  This is true - I am not making it up.    ...http://www.zipdeeinc.com/AboutUs.html

I met Henry about 1970 when I stopped by the factory in Elk Grove Village, IL to buy an awning for my Dodge Travco motorhome.  The factory is right near O'Hare Airport.  After his death his daughter Judy and his son-in-law, Bob Miller took over the company.

For those that have ZipDee awnings you can go to their web site for information http://www.zipdeeinc.com

For more specific maintenance info go to http://www.zipdeeinc.com/Maintenance.html
Emery Stora
77 Kingsley


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Page was last modified:  10/10/2004 11:55:14 AM