Land speed records are a thing of hell. Imagine traveling down the Bonneville Salt Flats at nearly 500 miles per hour in a custom-built rocket-shaped vehicle, or even just over half that in something that looks a little ordinary. The thrill you can get from traveling at that speed is something most of us can only dream of…unless you buy or build something record-setting capable.
One such example is the 1977 GMC motorhome. Yes, a motorhome. But this isn’t just the RV you’d use while taking your family on vacation. Instead, it’s a record-breaking 700-horsepower beast capable of a whopping 122 miles per hour—fast for a top-class motorhome.
This speed demon began life as a 1977 GMC Kingsley Motorhome. Its owner, Brett Palmer, decided he wanted to beat the 2006 land speed record set by a different GMC motorhome and raise awareness of a neurological disease called Charcot-Marie dental disease while doing so. The winning number was 102.7 mph. So, as Autopian points out, GMC was sent to the custom manufacturer behind many of your favorite sedans The Fast and the Furious concession, Dennis McCarthy, for preparing the salt flats.
McCarthy and his team from Vehicle Effects completely destroyed the motorhome. Every cabinet, appliance, and piece of wood decor was stripped from the inside and replaced with aluminum panels. A 20-gallon fuel cell was added, along with a fire suppression system and a 360-degree video camera mirror system.
A modern race cockpit is built for Palmer complete with RacePak IQ3 Dash racing seat and Kirkey. And since the RV was built to run at high speeds, a full chromoly cage was installed from front to back to protect the occupants in the event of a crash.
The Chevrolet Ram Jet 502’s 700-horsepower engine is mated to a TH425 automatic transmission. The engine gets a power bump from 125 wet shots of nitrous and is geared for top speed thanks to a final gear ratio of 3.07.
Palmer and McCarthy also picked up a few updates outside the interior and power plant to tie things up. All six wheels received modern disc brakes, and the old factory suspension was replaced with the Ridetech Air Ride System. The outside also received some aerodynamic treatment to help it cut through the air, but there are only so many ways you can shape a block of stone to cut through the air more easily.
Overall, the modifications were enough to break the previous land speed record for a Class A motorhome. The ’77 GMC was able to reach 122 mph, which broke the previous record of 102.7 mph, but couldn’t beat some of the more modern small houses like The current record holder is 141 mph.
However, you may be destined to beat the record afterward. Palmer RV put up for sale at $95,000 on Facebook Marketplace He suggested that the new owner could use the mobile home for whatever he felt best suited his needs. Maybe a food truck, party bus, or race support crew van? Or, just maybe, build it to go a little faster and break the overall LSR of the world’s fastest motorhome.
The choice is yours, all that’s missing is an RV.
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