In a recent comment, Bob Amundson promised to send me a picture of his new Urban Assault Vehicle, a la “Stripes.”
True to his word, he did, and here’s what he had to say about it:
I’ve been meaning to email you since you posted with a mention of the movie Stripes. Attached is a photo of a REAL EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle, which I own. The FMC Motorhome has an interesting lineage; FMC is the acronym for Food Machinery Corporation. FMC started in 1883, kept adding mechanized products, and eventually started producing amphibious vehicles for the military. During a lull in its military vehicle contracts as the Vietnam War ended, FMC turned its sights towards recreational vehicles; FMC coaches were manufactured from 1973-1976. The well-made and pricey coaches that sold for between $27,000 and $54,500 (about the same price as an average home of that era) were popular among upscale Motorhome buyers, including race car drivers Mario Andretti and Parnelli Jones; and 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. By 1975, FMC had a contract to produce the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and in September 1976 converted all tooling in its factory to the manufacture of tanks. The final tally for the FMC was slightly more than 1,000 units; there is believed to be 7-800 units still out there.
Ours is a 1975 – it is built like a military vehicle, especially the 4 wheel independent suspension and 440 turbocharged MOPAR engine. This vehicle actually has a bullet hole in it – the story is that the vehicle was confiscated at the US-Canadian Border after a gun battle between Border Police and Drug Runners. It has a fiberglass body, so for it’s size, it is relatively light. I am going to make it into an Urban Assault Vehicle; “wrapping” the fiberglass body to mimic the Stripes UAV. Throw in a few machine guns, probably a rocket launcher. We will completely renovate the interior – state of the art, top of the line, small, efficient. Once that is done, wife Joan and I will take a trip. Maybe TV? Marketing will lead to renting the UAV – I just need to figure out how much I can charge!
The ”REAL” EM-50 UAV was a GMC Motorhome, and about 36,000 of those we made. I think my find is cooler, and I found it less than a mile from our RV Park. Another time I’ll tell you about the classic 1965 Airstream Travel Trailer I bought from the Park’s neighbor. It has a “GRIMM” story.
So it’s almost ready to roll, and as I look around at you people, I’m thinking, “These are exactly the kind of go-getters I want working on my EM-50 project in Italy!”