By David L. Greenberg, F22009
The phone rings. It’s a GMC motorhome owner calling to ask whether I know what engine is in his newly acquired 1977 coach. An hour or so later another owner calls to say he is confused about some wiring in his coach and would like to contact a previous owner.
Several times a week, calls come in from GMC motorhome owners and “wannabe” owners looking for some information of a specific or general nature. Occasionally, a few calls will last an hour or more, or the individual may call several times a day.
How did this all come about? How did I become a central repository of important and trivial information about the GMC motorhome?
It all started in early 1976 when my wife, Jan, and I bought a new GMC Palm Beach from Arthur Glick GMC Trucks in Upstate New York. Although I was still gainfully employed at IBM Corporation and was traveling frequently for work-related reasons, Jan and I tried to take our two youngsters out in the motorhome as much as we could. After purchasing the GMC, we immediately joined FMCA and the GMC Motorhome Owners Association (MOA), which was sponsored by the GMC Truck & Coach division. We also signed on as charter members of MOA’s GMC Heritage Cruisers club, which eventually would become an FMCA chapter.
After 10 years of ownership, which included storing the motorhome in Tucson, Arizona, while we lived in Asia, we were transferred to Florida and decided to sell the coach and have a boat built, which we enjoyed for another 10 years.
In 1993 we decided to go RVing again, and after seeing the crop of box-on-truck-chassis motorhomes being offered, we decided to look for another GMC. After finding a motorhome and getting it ready to go, I began to wonder where our old 1975 Palm Beach had gone. This bit of idle curiosity had me raising every passenger-side engine hatch on any and all GMCs we encountered. Before I realized it, I had TZE numbers and owner contact info on several hundred coaches.
That’s how the GMC Motorhome Registry began. Now I shall share with you what it has become.
Currently, the registry has listings for nearly 7,800 of the 12,921 GMC motorhomes produced between 1973 and 1978. Most of these motorhomes are still on the road being used as RVs; in commerce; or by local, state, and federal agencies. Some have been destroyed by accidents or fire, and some have been used to create stretched coaches. You may ask, “Well, where are they?” They are everywhere!
There are 80 GMCs in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and South America. Of course, most are in North America, with the vast majority in the United States. The top five states with registered GMCs are California (1,050); Florida (785); Texas (596); Michigan (406); and Ohio (310). The leading Canadian province is Ontario, with 141 coaches.
The registry also includes important information about GMC motorhomes, such as when significant changes were introduced into production. Examples include the models in which the 455-cubic-inch engine was replaced by the 403-cubic-inch engine; changes in the air suspension systems; the original paint codes; and even minor issues such as the phase-in of rain gutters.
All owner information in the registry is considered confidential, and it is not provided to any commercial institutions. However, GMC groups, upon request and for recruiting purposes only, will be provided contact information for owners residing in their area as long as they share their chapter or club information.
For more information about the GMC Motorhome Registry, send an e-mail to [email protected] or call (772) 579-9489. You also can visit the registry Web site at www.gmcmhregistry.com to list your motorhome or find out additional information about these great old motorhomes.