Thursday, November 30, 2023


Incredible makeover turns this 1973 GMC RV into an out-of-this-world spaceship

Wow! Check out this 1973 GMC spaceship makeover! Theodore Zen and his wife, Hannah B Free, were tragically burned out of their home in the Woolsey fire in California in 2018. Homeless and in shock, they decided they wanted to be mobile if and/or when disaster hit again.

They found a 1973 GMC RV at auction that looked so much like a spaceship they decided to turn it into one. Now, the spaceship is available for sale, rent or lease on a piece of property in Half Moon Bay, California.

I reached out to Theodore and Hannah for more information on their “spaceship.”

Before 1973 GMC

Taking the 1973 GMC spaceship off-grid with solar

Theodore wrote, ”We wanted a sanctuary that was totally off-grid and self-reliant so we started with one solar/battery system and eventually built two. The first system is a 600-amp-hour lithium battery bank with a 3,000-watt inverter. The second system is anchored by two Tesla modules and a 6,000-watt inverter, which powers an A/C unit and an in-line water heater.” 

Soon they will be adding flexible solar panels to get a lower profile on the roof and increase the current 1,400 watts of solar panels. They have also decided to change out the on-demand water heater to propane to save power and will also add an outdoor solar shower tube. 

Building the 1973 GMC spaceship in place

Theodore says, “After being burned out we basically built in place! We would scrape up enough to buy a Ryobi (a brand of power tools) combo package and build in the back of Home Depot, etc. We had basic knowledge but got by on raw determination and being broke from the fire.” 

Design theme inspired by Ryobi tools

A Ryobi tools pack from Home Depot

Theodore and Hanna were inspired by the black and bright yellow-green look of Ryobi. They wrote, “We love how the color jumps out and that was our design theme for the spaceship.” They sanded and painted all of the cabinets with chalkboard or camouflage. “When in doubt camo is always a good choice!”

Interior industrial touches

Staying with the GMC brand, they changed out the old seats for new leather Cadillac seats. The bathroom is painted with a universe and has a compost toilet. 

No shag carpet here or in any space station! “For the flooring, we went with some dark gym squares that snap into place. If they get abused, we just get another square from Home Depot.”

Photo from Theodore’s Instagram page, @theodorezen

Where does everything go?

“When you live in a tiny spot you learn to prioritize and have things serve dual purposes. Little things are important. What do we do with the shoes?” They added a shoe rack. “What are we doing with cleaning supplies?” They built cleaning storage areas. “How do we get coffee?” They built in a sliding coffee bar but soon found out that an automatic coffee maker burns through too much battery power. They now heat water with their propane stove and pour it through the machine.

It’s a wrap!

What a cool exterior! They designed the 3M wrap and incorporated jet fighter decals into the design.

Photo from Theodore’s Instagram page, @theodorezen

The headlights were old and weak so they were replaced with Jeep halo headlights that are really bright. Theodore was surprised: “It was amazing to me that they just plugged right in with a little persuasion—’70s technology working with 2022 headlamps: amazing!”

The build-out took three years  They put in a new transmission and rebuilt the 455 Oldsmobile Rocket 88.

Upside to COVID

COVID came along and they had more time to finish their spaceship and created an amazing children’s book, “Hannah the Hummingbird Girl.”

“Lose everything to be free”

Theodore concludes, “We remember being homeless at Zuma Beach and people rich and poor were just walking around in shock. We were amazed that we weren’t dead yet and, while we were beaten up and charred, we had to lose everything to find we were free!”

You can rent, purchase or lease out this incredible 1973 GMC spaceship RV out of Half Moon Bay, California. It sure would be an out-of-this-world experience! Learn more on their Craigslist listing.



Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.



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Larry Lee (@guest_199610)
1 year ago

This is a fantastic story!
I was so disappointed when I learned that GM stopped making these incredible front wheel drive RV’s because their accountants said they would make more money on the same assembly line if they would use it to make ordinary heavy duty trucks. So they did just that. Sad.

Donald N Wright (@guest_199506)
1 year ago

This is so cool !

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