TransMode Commercial Upfitters - GMCMI

GMC TransMode Commerical Upfitters

>> The History

The TransMode is the product name designating a vehicle whose chassis and body were produced in the GMC plant, but delivered to another upfitter who completed the coach. The TransMode, an “empty motorhome” advertised as “The Mobile Anything” for those who wanted to build their own interiors, was available from 1975 through 1978. Many companies were upfitting the new TransMode as both motor homes and for commercial applications.

TransMode upfitters for commercial purposes, were many. A few of the vehicle uses were: ambulances/emergency vehicles, bookmobiles,mobile ATM/Banks, airport shuttle buses, mobile showrooms, mobile radio stations, hearses, courtesy coaches for beer and soda distributors, as well as many more.

No doubt, the extraordinary ride of the GMC Motorhome was a big reason that it was used for such a variety of applications. How many of you have left a bottle of water on the counter, traveled to your destination and found that the bottle of water was still standing on the counter? Imagine the comfort to a patient in a GMC TransMode ambulance.

The 1978 model year began with new TransMode features such as; floor insulation of urethane foam, previously an option, now standard. The steering wheel, column and hand brake were now saddle color and the front end “GMC” logo previously decals were now raised letters.

Motorhome and TransMode production finally ended July 1978. Total production of TransModes were 3,206. Of these it is unknown exactly how many were used for commercial vehicles. Over the years, many of us have encountered the GMC Motorhome in many forms and may not have realized at the time that they may have been a TransMode. We invite you to explore these web pages and discover the colorful and varied history, with some units continuing to serve even today.

 >> Sales Aids (GMC produced)

TransMode Sales Development Guide | 30mb (Source: Bill Bryant)

To assist in the selling of the GMC TransMode Commercial Vehicle, GMC created a Sales Development Guide. The guide was divided into five sections. The first section listed upfitters with contact information and capabilities. The second section contained concept descriptions of the many uses to which the vehicle could be adapted. The third section contained the “work sheets”. GMC encouraged that the dealers actually use these worksheets and offered them the opportunity to order and replenish them. Section four contained the specifications including body drawings, loading instructions, tire information and chassis wiring diagrams. The last section contained actual literature from upfitters which told their story, the product and their ability.

TransMode Concepts Book | 15mb (Source:Bill Bryant)

This tabbed informational piece produced by GMC truly illustrated the versatility of this vehicle. The concepts contained in the book were actual applications customizing the TransMode to their needs. As mentioned in the letter of the book, the book was to be updated every six months with additional pages describing new and varied TransMode applications.

TransMode Jetney Brochure (Source:Bill Bryant)

 >> General Motors Corporation Report for Third Quarter 1973

1973 GMC Report for Third Quarter (Source: Bill Bryant)

 >> Please Help Us!

GMCMI along with GMC Motorhome Historian Bill Bryant are working on compiling additional information on the TransModes. If you currently or previously owned a TransMode and have documentation and/or photos, we ask that you please do share them with the GMC Community. Please contact us at or 612-501-4600. Thank you.