The FMC Motorhome has an interesting lineage, for FMC is the acronym for Food
Machinery Corporation. FMC got its start in 1883 when inventor John Bean developed an
innovative insecticide pump. The name was changed from the John Bean Manufacturing
Company to the Food Machinery Corporation in 1928 when the company got into the
canning machinery business. The company kept adding mechanized products and
eventually started producing amphibious vehicles for the military.

During a lull in its military vehicle contracts in the late 1960s, FMC turned its sights toward
the burgeoning recreational vehicle market. By 1972, FMC had transferred personnel from
its ordnance division and formally launched a motor coach division in Santa Clara,
California. Initial prototypes were 19 and 23 feet long, but neither went into production.
FMC settled on a 29-foot size, and the first one was completed in late 1972.

The well-made and pricey coaches, which sold for between $27,000 and $54,500 or about
the same price as an average home of that era, were popular among upscale Motorhome
buyers. Race car drivers Mario Andretti and Parnelli Jones owned FMCs, as did
entertainers Clint Eastwood, Carol Burnett, Pat Boone and James Brolin. But the most
famous FMC owner was CBS reporter Charles Kuralt, host of the popular news feature On
the Road With Charles Kuralt. An FMC was the last of Kuralt’s six motorhomes. It is on
public display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. FMC coaches were
manufactured from 1973-1976. The 1973 energy crisis put a damper on the manufacture
of all brands of motorhomes, so FMC was in a difficult position from the beginning.

By 1975, FMC had a contract to produce the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and in September
1976 converted all the tooling in its factory to the manufacture of tanks. The FMC motor
coach had reached a dead end.

The final tally for the FMC was slightly more than 1,000 units, approximately 135 of which
were transit buses. About half of the transit buses were eventually transformed into
motorhomes. There is believed to be 7-800 units still out there.

Text from the book Mobile Mansions by Doug Keister. Additional
information about the book is available at
The story of FMC Motorcoaches