History of SMC (Safari Motorcoach Corporation)

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History of SMC (Safari Motorcoach Corporation)

Post by stuplich@ymail.com »

The following is the Safari portionof an article titled "Monaco, Holiday Rambler, Beaver, and Safari History & Info" by CountryB, (copied directly from his recent post to the new monacoers.org, formerly the Monacoers Yahoo group).

Safari Motorcoach Corporation (SMC) background:
Safari Motorcoach Corporation (SMC) and the Trek line of motorhomes was the brainchild of Mat Perlot, the former marketing manager for Beaver Motorcoach Corporation. When Beaver Coach decided to pass on creating a Class A motorhome with a $80,000 to $120,000 price point, Mat Perlot along with Curt Lawler, also a Beaver Coach employee, left to create Safari Motorcoach Corporation. SMC was incorporated in Eugene Oregon in 1986.
Safari production operations began in 1987. The initial product included coaches ranging from 30 to 34 feet and retailed for about $100,000. Over the next several years SMC expanded its product offerings to both higher and lower price points, to include coaches ranging in length from 24 to 45 feet, and with retail prices ranging from $128,000 to $757,000.
In 1991 the “small to moderate size” Trek Class-A motorhome was introduced. The popular Trek brand ran from 1991 to 2001. The length ranged from 24 to 28 feet and was initially built on an Isuzu NPR chassis (3.9L diesel) and later built on the GM P30 and P32 chassis (with 454 gas or 6.5L diesel engine).
In 1993 SMC expanded by opening their own chassis plant, the “Magnum Chassis Company”. Previously SMC was buying their chassis from outsourced suppliers (Spartan and Gillig) and decided that by manufacturing the chassis inhouse, they could provide a higher quality, better ride, and achieve cost advantages over those competitors that do not build their own chassis.
The first Magnum chassis produced was the B-series chassis (“Magnum Air”) used for the 1995 Patriot redesign. Within a year, Magnum Chassis began manufacturing the chassis for seven of the eight model lines of Safari and all the Beaver products, with the Safari Trek being the only model not using the Magnum chassis.
In 1994 SMC opened their own fiberglass plant, Composite Technologies Inc. (CTI) and created their electrical/electronics subsidiary, Electronic Design & Assembly Inc. (ED&A) Inc., which were located in Burns and Bend Oregon, respectively. SMC made daily truck runs to ship the fiberglass body components to their assembly facility in Harrisburg, about 130 miles away.
Safari acquired the Beaver Coaches Inc. in 1994 after its bankruptcy, and renamed it to “Beaver Motor Coaches, Inc.”. SMC then positioned the (Beaver) Marquis as its flagship product and continued manufacturing it at the Bend, Oregon (the original Beaver) facility.
By 1995 SMC had over 1,100 employees and annual sales over $50 million. SMC had five subsidiaries (Safari Motor Coaches, Magnum Manufacturing, Beaver Motor Coaches, Electronic Design & Assembly, and Composite Technologies). In 1996 SMC bought Honorbuilt (El Dorado a Class-C, which failed) and further diversified with another Class-C line under Harney Coach Works, but it was said that “it was the wrong product at the wrong time”. In 1997 SMC introduced the first “slide out” room.
In 1997, Safari’s new Magnum Chassis division developed a new chassis for the Marquis. Previously, the Marquis was constructed on a purchased Gillig brand chassis. When Gillig decided to cease production of the chassis in 1997 to focus on their school bus industry, SMC Magnum Chassis acquired the rights to manufacture the chassis from Gillig. After making some modifications specific for the Marquis', the new chassis (called the Magnum “Blue Diamond”) went into production.
In 2000 SMC tried to enter the Bus Conversion market (e.g. Prevost-Newell-MCI) and built the Solitaire, a 45-foot Tag axle coach with one and a half baths and all the amenities, with an initial retail price range from $729,000 to $757,000 (14 were built).
SMC’s (too) rapid expansion, purchase of Beaver, startup of their chassis, fiberglass, and electronics facilities, and diversification into Class C motorhomes, resulted in cash flow problems and increasing debt. By 2001 SMC’s stocks plunged from $12 a share to $3.68 a share. On June 25, 2001 Monaco Coach Corporation announced that it has agreed with SMC Corporation to acquire all of the outstanding shares of SMC pursuant to a cash tender offer at a price of $3.70 per share.
In 2002, Monaco Coach completed the purchase of the Safari and Beaver brand names and assets. Monaco kept the Safari Harrisburg plant open, and the Beaver Bend Oregon assembly plant where it continued to operate that plant until the end of 2005 at which time all Beaver productions moved to Coburg Oregon.
[end of quote]
'96 Sahara 3530, mine since '01
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Re: History of SMC (Safari Motorcoach Corporation)

Post by TDJohn »

There are a few mistakes in this article. The two most obvious ones are, the chassis that SMC were buying were predominately Oshkosh/John Deer chassis. Gillig chassis was not purchased pre '93 as the article states, they started purchasing Gillig chassis when they acquired Beaver in '94. The '93 and earlier coaches were predominately Oshkosh/John Deer,, Isuzu for the Trek models, and very few Spartan for Kalahari models that were offered only for two years and it looks like some of the Beaver models were built on Spartan chassis, after they were bought by SMC, and before before they switched over to the in house Magnum chassis.
Also, some of the post Isuzu chassis Trek brochures show that one could opt for a Ford chassis with the 460ci engine instead of the standard P32 chassis. I don't recall how long they offered that option.

The B series chassis was NOT the first Magnum chassis made. The first chassis that Magnum made were the M series (Blue Max) and the S series (Blue Streak) starting in '94 and later model years.
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Re: History of SMC (Safari Motorcoach Corporation)

Post by bertchrw »

John, My wife and own a 1995 Safari Serengeti M37. We performing part numbers research for a brake system overhaul. The only part number I'm still looking for is the rear calipers, which have a larger piston bore than the front. Any help would be appreciated.
Russell W. Bertch, Jr. (Bertchrw@gmail.com)
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Re: History of SMC (Safari Motorcoach Corporation)

Post by TDJohn »


On my coach the front and back brake the front brakes and calipers are the same. I have seen some '95 Serengetis have smaller brakes up front.

Try these part numbers for the rear:

Caliper (NAPA part #) : SE8556 (2.88 inch bore).

Brake pads are NAPA part # UP-7149-M (D236)

If you get numbers for the rear rotors, please post them.
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In need of front rotors for Magnum M-series "Blue Max" chassis

Post by chuckster »

Hello Safarifriends,

Been awhile since I have posted. Hope everyone is doing well!

Just got the bad news that the rotors are cracked on both sides of the coach. Tried a couple of places including Hendersons in Grants Pass, OR which I would have to drive there. Too far and too far a wait (June). Striking out in a few places. Is there a NAPA part for these rotors and the pads?

2001 Safari Zanzibar 3646
Magnum M-series “Blue Max” chassis - Chassis ID S36IO03228
Chuck & Mitzi
'01 Safari Zanzibar 3646 (side entry)
Cat 3126B / Allison MD3060
Magnum M-Series "Blue Max" chassis
2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland toad
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