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There are many reasons why someone puts in his or her efforts to break a Bonneville record. For some, it’s the recognition, camaraderie, or thrill of racing. But others, like Britt Palmer, do it to bring attention to worthwhile causes. And the way he chose to do that is by picking a class of Bonneville competition that one wouldn’t expect there is even a class for. A GMC motorhome

Why was the GMC motorhome built for Bonneville?

GMC motorhome
1977 GMC Bonneville race motorhome | Palmer via Facebook

They say you can bring almost anything to Bonneville as long as it has at least two wheels. But a Bonneville record-holding motorhome is beyond the pale. Yet, this is a record to beat, at 102.7 mph. So the class to compete in, and the goal drove Palmer’s plan.

Bringing attention to Charcot Marie Tooth Disease, if you choose Bonneville for a platform, then a running billboard is a good choice. Sounding like a dental disease, it is actually a neurological disorder that, as of now, there is no cure for. 

With all of this in his vision, Palmer contacted Vehicle Effects’ fabricator Dennis McCarthy. You may have heard of McCarthy before. He is the one who does much of the fabrication for the “Fast & Furious” movie cars. 

VE started by gutting the inside of the 1977 GMC Kingsley motorhome. Yes, GMC built these swoopy motorhomes from 1973 to 1978. An Oldsmobile Toronado front-wheel drive engine packaged in the rear powers these futuristic-looking motorhomes. 

What engine powers the motorhome?

1977 GMC motorhome
1977 GMC Bonneville race motorhome | Palmer via Facebook

With the interior gone, aluminum sheets, a 20-gallon fuel cell, a fire suppression system, and a 360-degree camera system replaced it. A racing cage and a RacePak IQ3 dash were also installed, along with a Kirkey racing seat. This contains readouts of different engine functions but also stores information about the run to review on a computer afterward.

Power is from a 700 hp Chevy 502 ci big block spinning a TH425 automatic racing transmission. A nitrous injection system with a 125-wet shot aids power. This means when you deploy the giggle juice it gives an instant added shot of 125 hp. 

Did the GMC motorhome win its class?

1977 GMC motorhome
1977 GMC Bonneville race motorhome | Palmer via Facebook

Further modifications included adding six-wheel disc brakes, Ridetech Air Ride System for the suspension, and some aero aids added to the front and rear corners. This is to manage some of the airflow moving around the whale of a body. Then, it was off to the salt.

For a Bonneville record, you make your first pass. The time is set, then you have one hour to back up the record with a second run. The two times are averaged, and that is your speed. In the case of the GMC motorhome, it ran a 122 mph average, beating the previous record by 20 mph. 

1977 GMC motorhome
1977 GMC Bonneville race motorhome | Palmer via Facebook

All of this is to give some background should you like the motorhome enough to own, as it is for sale. You can see it on Facebook Marketplace with a $95,000 price tag. While that seems like a lot, we doubt it comes close to what this crazy project originally cost, and it’s street-legal. So that should give you a certain pleasure as you’re blasting off to the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone at over 100 mph. 


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