More than 100 classic GMC motorhomes will be arriving at the Branson, Mo., KOA Campground this week for the international Convention of the GMC Motorhomes International Club.
Emery Stora, president of GMCMI, said members are expected to attend from all over the U.S., Canada and Australia. This year is the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the GMC motorhome by General Motors, according to a news release.
“Visitors are certainly welcome to come out to the campground and see this American icon for themselves,” Stora said. “GMC owners are always anxious to talk about and show their coaches.”
There is no charge for visitors to view the coaches, but visitors are asked to check in at the campground office when they arrive. There will be an open house at the Branson KOA from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22. Visitors will have a chance to tour the interiors of the GMC classic motorhomes.
The GMC motorhome was originally manufactured from 1973 through 1978. It is the only motorhome manufactured by an American automobile manufacturer. The Classic GMC Motorhome Registry now accounts for more than 8,000 of the original 12,921 units manufactured by GMC.
The motorhomes at the rally will feature factory original models up to the most modern innovations and paint schemes.
The 3rd Annual Florida Sunshine Statesman GMC Drag Race from Orlando, Fla., is now live on the “RV Buddies” website.
Eastern correspondent and friend of the program Jim Bounds, owner of Cooperative Motor Works hosts this “RV Buddies” Online special event showcasing the historic GMC motorhome, according to a news release promoting the online program.
Born of automotive heritage, the GMC boasts a 403 or 455 front-wheel-drive drive train — revolutionary for its time. These cult classics can still be seen throughout the United States and Canada.
There are a number of shops specializing in the restoration, and in some cases “severe modification” of these classic coaches. “RV Buddies” is currently involved in a massive GMC project. Bounds is known for his extreme projects, which include dramatic styling changes, high-end audio and video systems and performance from turbos, new engines and diesel transformations.
Some GMC owners drove thousands of miles to attend the event. The camaraderie, along with the pride of ownership makes this one of the closest-knit communities within an already close RV world.
There are over 20 clubs nationwide under the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) umbrella dedicated to these GMC aficionados alone.
There was a lot of fun at the event. Besides the GMC RVs, motorcycles, trucks and cars ran down the drag strip. Initially, the audience was a bit taken back by the site of the motorhomes. The video shows some traditional “trash-talking” as spectators and contestants alike brag, boast and predict all possible outcomes. Strategies included whether to empty the holding tank or not for better traction on the track. One racer pondered turning the TV on during his run for entertainment.
Action in the pits was ever-present. GMC owners and experts helped each other out with maintenance and upgrade issues. Fire Fight, a provider of fire suppression systems, was on hand to educate the GMC owners on the value of these life-saving devices.
There is nothing as American as an RV. And RVers love NASCAR and drag races. So the idea that the front-wheel drive of an RV can burn rubber down a drag strip has to be a dream-come-true.
The winner of the event who set a new record (22.514 seconds at 62 mph), was Bob Heller, driving #9587, a 1974 GMC running a 455 big-block engine with 110,000 original miles. Heller does all his own work and maintenance.
Many more events are planned for the future; and all who participated vow to continue to set new speed records.
Cooperative Motor Works is an association of automotive artisans and GMC owners dedicated to the preservation, renovation, restoration and yes recycling of the classic front wheel drive GMC Motorhome built by General Motors from 1973-1978. Contact Bounds at CoopMotorWorks@Yahoo.com or call (877) 275-4462.