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Weekend Edition: Yet Another GMC Motorhome Experience

LongRoofian October 13, 2013 All Things Hoon 13 Comments


Last month at some campground up in Branson, Missouri, there was a gathering of supposedly over 100 of those highly desirable GMC Land Yachts. Of course, my brother, Bus Plunge, had to wander over from his cabin in Rockaway Beach to gather this image to place on his page over at that book about his face. This olelongrooffan shamelessly stole it to provide the lede image for this post. It’s about another gathering of GMC Motorhomes much like the experience I had here. Click on through should you be interested is reading a bit about this adventure.


But before we get to that adventure, let me share a brief tale about the dude in the hardhat above. The firm this olelongrooffan gathers a paycheck from these days had just picked up a new project up in MickeyMouseLand and part of my duties are to measure the openings where our stairs are to be installed. Now my usual work attire is an oxford shirt over one of the highly desirable t-shirts The Missus Mad-Science sends clear across the country just for me, and blue jeans. When I spotted TheHardhatDude for the first time, and he just looked in charge, I merely stopped my xBenz on the street got out and introduced myself.

Now at this point in time, this olelongrooffan must mention that the Hooniverse Overlords had just allowed me to publish that tale about how I had updated my newish xBenz.

I then moved my xBenz to a vacant lot, removed my oxford as it was August in central Florida and this olelongrooffan knew a bunch of sweating was getting ready to commence and I gathered up my needed supplies and headed over to where TheHardhatDude was standing. He looks at me and says, “So you’re John and wearing a Hooniverse t-shirt.” I mentioned that yeah, they let me blog over there. He looks at me, looks at my xBenz and back at me and exclaims, “You’re the longroofian.” Yeah, although this olelongrooffan has previously been called out by one of my fellow Hoons, this was the first time it happened unplanned. I think we both were flabbergasted. Yeah, there are Hoons all over and I had just met another one. And he is pretty dang cool as well.


So, this olelongrooffan got that measuring done and wasn’t in a huge hurry to head over to the Ronald Reagan Turnpike to get on down to my Miami styled bungalow. I had remembered that in that post about the GMC Motorhome place over by the big lake, one of the commenters directed here by Hemmings had mentioned that particular place must be the GMCCoop. As that place wasn’t, I pulled out my newfangled iphone and googled that name. It showed up and this olelongrooffan knew that inevitable trip down Florida’s highway 91 would just have to wait.

And as much as this olelongrooffan wanted to just stroll into that GMC filled yard, this is not the Daytona International Speedway, I kinda figured I should at least introduce myself to the powers that be prior to my doing so. I entered the office and a pleasant young woman came out and this olelongrooffan introduced myself mentioning my visit to that other GMC place, the Hooniverse and Hemmings. She laughed and mentioned Jim would be in in just a moment and sure enough Jim came walking in the door right then.

He got washed up as I relayed my then recent GMC experiences and we sat down and chatted it up a bit. Of course, he knew of Alex and he mentioned, “Alex is a Purist, I am a Butcher.” It seems that Jim will, and does, customize these land yachts into whatever your heart desires. A bit more on that later.


We also talked about a sideline business he has that really opened up this olelongrooffan’s eyes. He has a company that offers vehicle equipment friendly fire extinguishers. Apparently, those everyday red fire extinguishers, that spit out caustic powder, seen at nearly every car show are extremely corrosive to wiring and paint. Should you put out a vehicle fire with one of those, you have ruined a bunch of stuff. And while it may not matter at LeMons, it would be problematic with a vintage car. Jim came up with a foam dispensing extinguisher similar to airport fire suppression and has several varieties available. I asked him if they could be ordered via his website and he said “No, I’d rather speak with a potential client to determine their actual needs.” As he has started advertising over on Hemmings and they did a feature article about this product, I would suspect that may soon change. Great idea and something I never knew.


After this conversation concluded, Jim lead this olelongrooffan out into the yard, talking all the way. He mentioned that while Alex, down by the big lake, and he shared a love of these old land yachts, “Alex would never modify one.”


“But, we will do whatever is requested to one of these. This one is undergoing modification into an ice cream truck and it is going to England in a month or so.”

Hey Rusty, keep an eye out for this will ya?


With this particular GMC, his firm added two additional rear sections and 


nearly gutted the interior. He also installed two halves of a semitruck fuel tank as wheelwells.


Additionally, the rear of it has been modified to include a full lift rear body panel, much like a minivan. Why? Well to provide for his customer’s need to transport a “Big Healey” in GMC style. Seriously, this olelongrooffan cannot make this sh*t up. Apparently, when the air is released from the rear air bags, this former motorhome can lower itself enough to allow the Healey to enter that rear compartment with merely short aluminum ramps.


And after showing this olelongrooffan that future auto transporter, he pointed out this test frame for the engines he builds. It is from a true 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado. He then set off on how they rebuild these engines with roller cams and such. It was, at this point, he realized this olelongongrooffan was becoming blurry eyed and he released me to check out the “back lot.”


And what a back lot it was. Not really sure of the reason for this conversion. Hauling a couple bikes maybe? Or was it a glorified tailgating machine?


Jim did mention this was a dish possessing vehicle that would be positioned out in the hinterlands to provide relay transmissions for our troops. And how did he become the owner of one? Even he didn’t ever remember.


And know this, GMC Motorhomes aren’t the only things that hold that man’s attention. There are, not one Jaguar Mark’s


but a pair of them. One has the steelie wheels and dog dish hub caps and the other has the wire wheels that are o-so-cool. And from the fifties no less.


And on the other side of the yard were these two sweeties. An old Mercedes and a Conty to complete my adventure to the GMCcoop back yard. Oh! Wait! How about that hose reel to the left?


Not quite yet though. There was this nearly pristine twenty eight footer that caught my attention. Yeah, this olelongrooffan loves this one.


Check out this site to find out a whole lot more about “The Butcher” and see what he is doing to drag race one of these down here around these here parts. And yes, he did have a part in that Bonneville run a whiles back.


And just for Bus Plunge, he does perform repairs on old Airstreams, should you need some while in the area.

Hopefully sometime soon.

First Image via Bus Plunge Facebook

All others Copyright Hooniverse 2013/longrooffan

Disclaimer: Fire Fight Products did provide this olelongrooffan with a free $25 dollar fire fighting device but I do believe FireFightProducts  is worth checking out.

  • That sawn off one is a tragedy of half assed fabrication. The cabin part looks good (maybe it was one of the Air Force trucks?) but the back end seems to be whatever was lying by the side of the road. IDK what that black foam rubber doodad with the cable coming out of it, between the wheels, is but it gives me a good idea for a linked horizontal air bag suspension for 2 axle trailers.

    • That is the air bag rear suspension system found on every one of these. Something I didn't know a month ago!

      • windbuechse

        Actually that is the dual-bag conversion/upgrade as the original hotdog airbags are no longer produced. The boxes are the 110V Onan genset on the left and propane locker on the right. I have a white 23' '74 – the flying fridge.

  • Tim Hogan

    My dad owns a Palm Beach that I've been across the US in… That thing is sweet. He was so proud of installing an Edelbrock intake manifold and Olds vacuum gauge to measure gas mileage.

    He also brought me home when I was born in a W-30 and I have a Rocket 88 tattoo, so I can only hope I inherit the preceeding vehicles someday.

  • These things are / have always been / will always be awesome. And I will certainly keep my eyes peeled for the Ice Cream Van. It's never hard to tempt me towards a frosty cone, even in the bleak midwinter, which runs from January 10th to January 9th.

  • Irishzombieman☆

    Saw a transit bus version for sale years ago. Should've bought it. That would've been the easiest RV conversion ever.

  • Slow_Joe_Crow

    Was it a Comcoach conversion? this was a company based on Log Island in the late 70s early 80s that did rental car shuttles using a GMC motorhome with a screwjack operated sliding door. I got to tour the factory as a kid and saw the door test rig, a dental clinic i a step van and some other odds and ends.

    • Irishzombieman☆

      'Twere an Argosy. See above.

      Here's the only thing I could find on Comcoach–an ambulance!

      <img src="http://imageshack.us/a/img132/9536/x0ay.jpg&quot; width="400/">


      • Slow_Joe_Crow

        That looks right, Valley Stream is on Long island so Comcoach would have been close by.

  • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

    TheHardhatDude and you meeting like that was great to read!

  • Tom Lee

    Glad you are back, miss these outa way places and stories.
    Bus, have camped at the park you visited, the only level spots were the pads to park on.
    everything else was true Branson – up and down, up and down.
    Facebooks is nice, but blogging is better.
    tom the poor horsefarmer in the nation's oldest city.