You also might want to check out the Triple E (LTV) Unity van which sits on a MB diesel chassis. It has a slide out, which gives more room. Also when you visit the web site, take a look at all the videos that they have there - one shows the reactions of an owner of a 42' DP, and what he thinks of the Unity. They have other models there as well.
Send an email to their web site, and they will respond within 24 hours. I have been looking at their GT29T, and am really looking forward to getting an order in for one. I have a class A at the moment, and we need to downsize some so that my wife can feel comfortable driving it. Good luck
Actually having it pass emissions is not all bad. First, it will help all of us breath better, and second, the adjustments that may need to be made or the replacement of "not working" parts will eventually give you better gas mileage. Also most of these emissions requirements are based on the year of the engine, so the old engines don't need to meet the new engine standards, just the old engine standards. Do us all a favour and do it right.
One thing you may want to remember about dragging your butt going in/out of driveways, is to drive at an angle in/out, so that only 1 wheel is up at a time. This allows one of the back wheels to lift the back end a little before the getting the whole back end down and rubbing on the pavement. It helps most of the time when crossing those types of driveway entrances.
I know that you didn't want a slide, but you should take at look at the Triple E Model GT27S, here at this site:
Once you have tried a slide, you will really appreciate it. They are a well built Class C, with the bed in the rear. Don't give up on a slide.
We bought a 1984 used Class C Coachmen in 1989, on a Ford 350 with the 460 engine, with 104,000 miles on it. We drove it all over North America, from coast to coast to coast, and sold it in 2003 with 150,000 miles on it. The only thing that happened was in the Yukon where the timing chain broke. We had it towed, replaced the timing chain, and carried on. It was a great RV for our first one, and I wasn't too concerned with the mileage. Good luck on getting the right one for you. Like path1 said, get the floor plan you like, and don't worry about the mileage. Just get the Good Sam roadside assistance program and then enjoy.
We have a 2003 VW Jetta TDI standard for a toad. I didn't know if it would work until I spoke with a fellow who had the identical car used as a toad. He had towed it for 3 years and we have now towed ours for over 6000 miles with no issues. I don't even know what VW says about this, but so far it is working great.
We have had Good Sam ERS for a number of years, and before that CAA Plus with RV service. I changed to GS because it was a lot less money. I have used it 3 times, twice in Yukon, in the middle of no-where. Glad I had it to take care of the $2500 tow bill. Also towed my car in town to the local garage. Most tow companies can't tow a big RV, but they get the right ones for the tow. In the Yukon, they sent a flat bed truck because of the 300 miles that they had to go to the garage. They have been fast, courteous, and always make sure that we are satisfied. I wouldn't be without them.
We had a pod on the top of our Class C, which I bought while we were travelling to California. We needed it to carry something that my wife bought that we had to have, and it wouldn't fit anywhere. Well, climbing onto the roof all of the time became very boring, and after about 10 years, I decided to sell it for a few bucks, because I hadn't used it in years. The other thing about the pod on the roof is the holes that you need to drill in the roof, and then seal them so they don't leak.
One thing that I think would be a lot better is one of those single wheel trailers that fasten on the back of the MH at 2 points, so that you can back up with it, and it follows (leads in this case) everywhere you want to go. Also, there is no climbing onto the roof, and a lot less extra weight on the MH.
If I was needing more storage, I think I would go with the trailer idea, speaking from experience with the pod idea.