This Gorgeous RV Combines Vintage Looks With Modern Duramax Power

This FMC 2900R is a classic RV that can handle modern driving.

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A vintage RV is often a more aesthetically pleasing alternative for someone who wants something different from a big, boring modern RV. But owning an old RV generally means dealing with an antiquated powertrain. This 1976 FMC 2900R for auction on Bring a Trailer is the best of both worlds as it’s a beautiful vintage RV repowered a modern Duramax turbodiesel engine.

In 1883, John Bean invented an insecticide pump and started the Bean Spray Pump Company. The company would change its name to Food Machinery Corporation in 1928 when it got into making canning machinery. FMC’s footprint would continue to grow until, as the Bring a Trailer ad notes, it began manufacturing military vehicles. Eventually, the military contracts ran thin and in 1972, FMC entered the motorhome market by establishing an RV division in Santa Clara, California.

This FMC 2900R comes finished in a cream color with metallic turquoise, blue and green striping.

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Photo: Bring a Trailer

FMC’s motorhomes were quite expensive, notes the FMC Motorcoach library, setting buyers back $27,000 to $54,500, or 179,345 to 362,011 in today’s money. You could buy multiple houses for the price of a single one of these. Still, these houses on wheels attracted celebrity attention from actors like Clint Eastwood and James Brolin and from race car drivers like Mario Andretti and Parnelli Jones.

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The FMC 2900R measures in at 29 feet long and features an open floorplan.

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You get plenty of space to stretch out, cook and sleep. This 2900R was refurbished and has a period-correct interior with modern touches.

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There isn’t much luxury going on in the interior. You get everything you’d expect in an RV, like a full bathroom, propane heat, a kitchen and dual air-conditioners, but you don’t get much more than that. It’s unclear if this 2900R has the optional horrifying Thetford Thermasan system that was designed to burn toilet waste in the RV’s exhaust.

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Electrical power is handled by four 145-Ah batteries charged by an AIMS power inverter and a 245-amp alternator. You’d maybe expect some more luxuries considering the high starting price, but it looks like a home built in the 1970s does.

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The star of the show is the 6.6-liter LBZ Duramax mounted in the rear. It replaces the Mopar 440 V8 that the coach came with from the factory. Manuals for the 2900R don’t say how much power that engine made in this application, but these engines were choked by emissions equipment in those days.

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This engine was lifted from a 2007 GMC Sierra 2500HD and is bolted to a Chevrolet Kodiak’s six-speed Allison transmission. The ad notes upgrades to both units like a billet triple-clutch torque converter and larger oil sump pan for the transmission and a six-core radiator and two inline oil coolers for the engine.

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Photo: Bring a Trailer
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Up front, the driver pilots the rig with the help of an instrument cluster from a GMC Yukon.

The swap is a mishmash of different parts, but the work looks very professional.

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Photo: Bring a Trailer

That engine makes about 365 HP and 660 lb-ft torque stock, so the RV has plenty of enough power for modern driving situations.

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FMC produced about 1,000 of these, so they’re a pretty rare sight. At $27,250 with less than a day to go on Bring a Trailer it’s far cheaper (accounting for inflation) than it was new.