Land speed records are a hell of a thing. Imagine traveling down the Bonneville Salt Flats at nearly 500 MPH in a purpose-built rocket-shaped car, or even just over half that in something a bit more mundane-looking. The thrill you might feel from traveling that fast is something that most of us will only get to dream of doing…unless, of course, you buy or build something capable of setting records.
One such example is this 1977 GMC Motorhome. Yes, motorhome. But this isn’t just any RV that you’d use while taking your family on vacation. Instead, it’s a 700-horsepower record-breaking beast capable of doing a whopping 122 mph—brisk for a Class A motorhome.
This speed demon started out life as a 1977 GMC Kingsley Motorhome. Its owner, Britt Palmer, decided that he wanted to beat the 2006 land speed record set by a different GMC Motorhome and raise awareness for a neurological disease called Charcot Marie Tooth Disease while doing so. The number to beat was 102.7 mph. So, as The Autopian points out, the GMC was sent off to the custom fabricator behind many of your favorite cars from the Fast & Furious franchise, Dennis McCarthy, to prepare for the salt flats.
McCarthy and his team from Vehicle Effects completely gutted the motorhome. Every cabinet, appliance, and piece of faux-wood decor was stripped from the interior and replaced with aluminum sheeting. A 20-gallon fuel cell was added, along with fire suppression, and a 360-degree video camera mirror system.
A modernized race cockpit was built for Palmer complete with a RacePak IQ3 Dash and Kirkey racing seat. And, given that the RV was being built to gallop at high speeds, a full front-to-back chromoly roll cage was installed to protect the occupants in the event of a crash.
Powering the beast is a 700-horsepower Chevrolet Ram Jet 502 motor paired with a TH425 automatic transmission. The motor gets a power bump from a 125 wet shot of nitrous and is geared for top speed thanks to a final gear ratio of 3.07.
Palmer and McCarthy also opted for some modernizations outside of the interior and powerplant to tie things up. All six wheels received modern disc brakes, and the aging factory suspension was replaced with a Ridetech Air Ride System. The exterior also received some aerodynamic treatments to help it cut through the air, but there are only so many ways you can shape a cinderblock to cut through the air more easily.
In all, the modifications were enough to break the previous land speed record for a Class A motorhome. The ’77 GMC was able to get up to 122 mph, which beat the previous record of 102.7 mph but couldn’t beat some of the smaller, more modern motorhomes like the current record holder of 141 mph.
That being said, you might be destined to beat the record next. Palmer has put the RV up for sale at $95,000 on Facebook Marketplace and has suggested that the new owner can use the motorhome for whatever they feel fits their needs best. Perhaps a food truck, party bus, or race support crew vehicle? Or, just maybe, build it up to go just a little bit faster and break the overall LSR for the fastest motorhome in the world.
The choice is yours, all that’s missing is this RV.