How familiar are you with Family Motor Coach Association’s roots?
By Todd Moning
FMCA Web Editor
1. On July 20, 1963, FMCA’s founding families gathered at the Hinckley School in Hinckley, Maine, to watch which event?
a) Solar eclipse
b) Full moon
c) Automobile trade show
d) High school football game
Answer: a. Twenty-six families who owned “house cars” gathered to watch an eclipse. Many years later, Bob Richter, L1, FMCA’s first national president, recalled the gathering: “It was an experience impossible to describe as we first heard “” and then saw “” the 26 coaches arriving, one after another, with our new friends. The coaches varied from a simple school bus on its fifth engine with only a mattress, a crib, and a stove in it, to a lush executive coach costing well into six figures. What a sight it was to see them coming up the hill! And what great people!”
2. During that weekend, the families discussed the possibility of forming a motorhome owners common-interest group, one that also would promote friendship and fun activities. Ray Fritz, L4, suggested the name Family Motor Coach Association. Which one of these other names was not considered?
a) House Car Owners Association
b) Freeway Cruiser Association
c) Automotive House Car Owners Association
d) Private Motor Coach Owners Association
Answer: b. According to the official minutes of a campfire meeting July 20, “The suggested aims of the association would be fellowship, the dissemination of information and mutual aid to owners, and those interested in owning motor homes, and promoting and facilitating the ownership and usage of self-propelled motor homes.”
In 1962 Bob and Jean Richter converted a 1940 GM intercity bus to a “traveling home” and traveled in it that summer and fall with their four children. “The only flaw in an otherwise delightful summer was when we attempted to park our bus overnight on a family-owned waterfront lot at the nearby seashore. From the reactions of the town government we quickly learned that we were not welcome there; perhaps this prompted our first feelings that an organization of folks whose interests in travel paralleled ours might be welcome and worthwhile.” Bob later wrote.
In April 1963, the Richters mailed a mimeographed letter inviting coach owners to the Hinckley School in Maine to view a solar eclipse. During that gathering in July 1963, 18 families decided to form a nonprofit association, and they elected Bob as president. He served as president for one year and as FMCA’s first executive director the following year. He stepped down in 1965 to devote more time to his electronics business.
3. The headmaster at the Hinckley School at the time of FMCA’s formation was:
a) Bud Stone
b) Allen Vickers
c) George Hardin
d) James Hodge
Answer: b. Alan Vickers was a friend of Bob and Jean Richter’s. He allowed the group of house car owners to meet on the school grounds free of charge. The school provided an ideal site “” a level area atop a wooded hill “” for viewing the eclipse, and also had an access road for large vehicles.
4. The FMCA monument, on the grounds of Good Will-Hinckley School in Hinckley, Maine, displays FMCA’s membership emblem and founding date. The stone portion was cut to shape and shipped from:
Answer: d. The monument, dedicated on July 4, 1994, is made of India black granite. It consists of FMCA’s black membership emblem portion, which weighs 3 tons, mounted on a 7-foot-6-inch base. It arrived in the United States in January 1994, with computer stenciling and final stone cutting to be completed. The inscription refers to the July 1963 meeting that led to FMCA’s formation. Individual FMCA members and chapters have purchased bricks and engraved granite paving stones that now form a beautiful patio in front of the monument.
5. The first issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine is dated:
a) January 1964
b) Fall 1965
c) June 1964
d) February 1964
Answer: d. Issue One is dated February 15, 1964. It contained 36 pages, and 2,100 copies were printed. Pasteup work took place in Bob Richter’s cellar. Dick Parece, F22, printed the magazine in his basement. Volunteers collated the pages at the home of Doc Whiting, F7. At first, the magazine was published four times per year.
6. The first FMCA chapters, all chartered on April 10, 1965, were:
a) Northeastern, Heart of America Coachmen, Midwest Coachmen
b) California, Heart of America Coachmen, Michigan Knights of the Highway
c) Midwest Coachmen, Rocky Mountain, Michigan Knights of the Highway
d) Northeastern, Midwest Coachmen, Michigan Knights of the Highway
Answer: d. Northeastern, Midwest Coachmen, and Michigan Knights of the Highway were FMCA’s first chapters. Early on, FMCA members realized the advantages to forming subgroups based on coach type, common interest, or geographic area. Other very early chapters include Pioneers, Badger, California, and Twentieth Century Wagontrainers. Today FMCA has more than 500 chapters and counting.
7. Who was assigned membership number F120000?
a) John Madden
b) George Bush
c) Alice Detrick
d) Lee Greenwood
Answer: b. President George H.W. Bush was bestowed an honorary F120000 during his appearance at FMCA’s convention in Richmond, Virginia, in June 1989. Sports commentator John Madden is not an FMCA member, although he has purchased several motor coaches from FMCA commercial member Custom Coach Corporation.
8. FMCA’s first national “gathering” (later called a convention) took place in 1964 at:
a) Greenville, Ohio
b) Syracuse, New York
c) Bowling Green, Kentucky
d) Ticonderoga, New York
Answer: d. It was held July 17-19, 1964, at Fort Ticonderoga, with 106 member families in attendance. The largest state representation was from Massachusetts, with more than 30 coaches. New York was next, with 12. Activities included get-acquainted meetings, a demonstration of the Centaur folding motor scooter, a discussion about citizens’ band radio, a meeting centered on the future of the motorhome industry, and the association’s first annual meeting.
“Future convention planners learned at Ticonderoga to avoid sites downwind from odoriferous paper mills, fields with hidden potholes that would swallow a motorcycle, and flies by day and mosquitoes by night that could carry off an innocent bystander!” wrote Bob Richter.
9. Which of these states has never hosted an FMCA convention?
a) South Dakota
c) North Dakota
Answer: b. Tennessee. To date, California has hosted the most FMCA conventions, 11. (1970, 1979, 1982, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006). One more will soon be added to the count when FMCAers gather in Pomona, California, February 25-28, 2008.
10. Which of these entertainers has never performed at an FMCA convention?
a) Linda Ronstadt
b) Roy Clark
c) Glen Campbell
d) Patti Page
Answer: a. Vocalist Ronstadt has not yet joined the ranks of Tony Orlando, Melissa Manchester, Jim Nabors, and others who have entertained throngs of FMCAers.
11. FMCA has held conventions at each of the following universities except:
a) New Mexico State University
b) Iowa State University
c) University of Notre Dame
d) University of Texas
Answer: d. Five FMCA conventions have been in Texas “” four at the Joe & Harry Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio “” but none at the University of Texas. The convention at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces in March 1998 attracted 7,258 motorhomes, a record at that time. The August 2000 convention in Brunswick, Maine, holds the all-time record, with 7,422 coaches.
12. The first commercial member of FMCA, joining in 1964, was:
a) Camperama Inc.
b) Ocala Springs RV Park
c) Cortez Motor Coach
d) Crown Coach Corporation
Answer: d. Crown Coach joined FMCA in January 1964. Other early members included Blue Bird Body Company, Custom Coach Corporation, Krager Kustom Coach, and the Rominghome Company. Since the Manufacturer’s Advisory Board first met in January 1965, the commercial connection has remained strong. FMCA today has a Commercial Council composed of industry representatives. FMCA commercial members have supported the association over the years by exhibiting, sponsoring, and performing coach service at rallies and conventions; advertising; and providing discounts to FMCA members.