Now here’s a practical solution: drive your motorhome to Bonneville, and then go for the record books. Nothing to tow, and a nice quiet ride over the sand. The motorhome LSR has been contested several times, and until last year, it was held by this fine GMC powered by a Chevy 454 that was timed at 102.76 mph in 2006. But as usual, someone stole it away, and a somewhat unlikely contender too: a motorhome with a 2.3 liter engine.
But first, a bit of history. The oldest record in semi-modern history was set by a Toronado-powered Travoy (we covered it here), which kicked up a plume of sand as it went 97.613 mph in 1970.
A Chinook Concourse (no, not mine) , a fairly light and aerodynamic compact motorhome, set out to top that long-standing record in 1998. The Triton V10 powered coach was timed at 99.776 mph, which was less than expected because apparently the engine was not optimized for the high altitude at Bonneville, and they later ran an unofficial 113.
So that brings us to Jim Rosenburgh’s GMC, which had a 500 hp Chevy 454 transplanted in place of the stock Olds 455. His 102.76 mph record was set in second gear (!), which is plausible enough, given the GMC’s aerodynamic frontal area and a healthy high-revving 454. There was talk of him going back with the expectation of doing 115 or more, but maybe he lost interest.
But someone else set out to break that, and not even at Bonneville. Goldschmitt Enginnering took a Fiat Ducato-based Hymer motorhome, and warmed up its 2.3 liter diesel to some 200 hp, and went 207 kmh (128.62 mph) in 2010. And they’re going for 230 kmh, eventually. The main changes were aerodynamic, with a full belly-pan and flush windows. Being a narrow-bodied European van has its advantages.