Curbside Classic: 1991-1992 Coachman Clarion – Clarion Call

(I’ve never seen one of these or knew of its existence. Another bold and creative motor home from an era when there were a number of them. This one is FWD, using a Ford F-350 4WD frame and chassis, but with only the front axle driven.  PN)

A strange shape appeared as I was cycling in Calgary the other day.  Was it an EMC Eldorado Starfire profiled by Paul on August 3 ? No, not an anteater nose, but something sleeker. The web reveals that this is a 1991-92 Clarion, only 270 built by Coachmen at a dedicated plant in Holland, MI.  The vehicle’s construction and build process depicted here in an 8 minute video, once you get past the strange first  minute.

Web and video reveal that the structure is a gel coat fiberglass over balsa wood (!) core, set on a Ford F 350 4×4 chassis converted to FWD (rear axle not powered). Length 23′, couldn’t find weight without further research. Price around $ 74,000 in 1992. Performance 0-55 mph in 18 seconds, reportedly 14/16 mpg city/hwy. Rear axle with individual trailing arms “Made in Germany”.

The rig looked in very good shape, and in current use. It was plugged in to a residence with a fan circulating air inside the RV.

I’d like it retrofitted with a modern diesel as in the European “Promasters”, or probably one engine size up from that.

Postscript: Here’s a pretty thorough look at an owner’s Clarion, although he is a bit hyperbolic about certain aspects: “it’s as aerodynamic as a bullet”. These do seem very well built with its balsa-fiberglass composite construction and other details. PN.