Scattered across the United States is a group of people who are passionate about a vehicle that was built during the 70s. That vehicle is more than just a truck or a car for those who own them. It is a motorhome, and only 12,921 of them were ever manufactured.
From 1973-78 GMC and its truck division developed, manufactured and sold the GMC RV. Today thousands of those RVs are still on the road, and a few of them rolled into Redwood Falls, Minn., this past week.
The Redwood Falls Gazette reported that those with an affinity for the GMC RV in Minnesota and the surrounding states formed a club known as the Greater Midwest Classics, with members from North Dakota and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and elsewhere.
“We even have a member from Australia,” said Bob Miller of White Bear Lake, one of the founding members of the club.
Miller, Howard Glenna of River Falls, Wis., and John Parker of Redwood Falls, all owners of one of the RV models, talked about the motorhomes they are so proud to own and enjoy. Not only do they all know the history, they all have their own story of how they ended up driving one.
“I bought mine in 1982,” said Miller, adding he like so many had seen them during the 70s and had always wanted to own one.
In fact, said Miller, he has had people with much more expensive campers express how envious they are of his GMC RV.
“There is a certain mystique about these RVs,” added Glenna.
He said not only is the RV itself an enjoyable experience, but meeting others who own them only adds to the fun of it all.
The early GMC RVs came with a 455-cubic-inch Oldsmobile engine with a Toronado drivetrain. Unlike other motorhomes, the GMC RV is front-wheel drive and has a tandem axle. It also has air suspension in the back and is built low to the ground.
Glenna added he really enjoys all of the glass in the RV, especially up front when he is out on the road.
Glenna, who was a pilot, said he saw the United States from the air and wanted in his later years to see the same places from the road. The panoramic view of the GMC RV gave him that chance.
The Midwest GMC RV club conducts three rallies each year – summer and fall – and it was club member John Parker who encouraged the group to come visit southwest Minnesota and Redwood Falls.
There are about 100 coaches officially registered with the club, with about 200 people involved.
According to Miller, one of the great things about the club is how well the people get along despite their different walks of life.
He also said among the members of the club are many who are mechanically inclined, and because of the uniqueness of the RV are often helping each other with maintenance and repairs.
Parker said when he first bought his RV, the club members took it to an old airplane hangar and spent hours going over it to get it travel ready. While very popular, the GMC RV still remains affordable, as most can be purchased for about $25,000 with those needing work available many times for less than $10,000.
The appeal of the GMC RV continues to grow, and those who have them believe once you have experienced the GMC RV ride you are never going to want to ride in anything else.