5 outrageous reasons to love 1970s FMC Motor coaches


Motor coaches are fascinating to me. Gigantic rolling boxes filled with everything a person needs to lead a fulfilling life, all neatly packed in locking cabinets and fold-out compartments. A 1973 FMC 2900 R is about to close on Bring a Trailer brought these homes-on-wheels back into my daydreams. This thing very well could have been the coolest motor coach on the market—if not exclusively for these 5 reasons.

Two air conditioning systems

1973 FMC 2900 dual zone ac
BaT / Alfredmohr

With 29 feet of exterior length, interior square footage on the 2900 R was also substantial. To keep all parties happy while on the road and parked, the cabin cooling duties are split between two systems. An engine mounted system keeps the driver cool while covering miles, and a roof mounted system keeps the living quarters chilled whenever the need arises.

Charles Kuralt was a fan

1973 FMC 2900 R badge
BaT / Alfredmohr

When Charles Kuralt travelled the country for the CBS On The Road television show, he did so along with the crew in a motor coach. He went through six different models during his time on the show, eventually finding (mobile) home in a FMC 2900 R. The On The Road motor coach now resides in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Other notable FMC owners were Mario Andretti and Parnelli Jones, as well as Clint Eastwood.  

FMC built the 2900 R as a side project

1973 FMC 2900 R side profile
BaT / Alfredmohr

FMC stands for Food Machinery Corporation. Initially a producer of canning equipment, FMC had diversified in many directions by the 1970s.  The 2900 R was birthed during a lull in military ordnance contracts, as FMC set sights on a new market. Prototypes arrived in 19- and 23-foot length, but the final production was 29 feet. FMC also produced buses and other heavy equipment, so the large motorhome was a perfect side project.

Built with a muscle car heart

1973 FMC 2900 R engine
BaT / Alfredmohr

The blank-slate design was finalized in a pusher configuration, meaning it is rear-engine and rear-drive, with a Mopar 440 V-8 backed by a 727 TorqueFlite transmission. Sure, more powerful combinations were available, but the 440 had already proven its worth in other motor coaches and industrial applications.

The toilet burned your waste while you drove

Thermasan waste destruction system

In the modern age of composting toilets, the Thermasan waste system seems… extreme. Using heat from the engine’s exhaust, the system would incinerate the human waste deposited in the coach’s restroom. A brochure for the system invited motor coach owners to join “the unhooked generation” by installing their system. Claiming the exhaust heat would break waste down to “micron sizes,” the system waited until the engine was up to temp at cruising speed and then injected waste directly into the exhaust system. And you thought following a garbage truck on a warm day was bad.


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