Ray Swartzendruber is a member of an antique motorhome club called General Motors Corporation Motorhomes International (GMCMI). The organization is dedicated to promoting the legacy, enjoyment and use of vintage General Motors Motorhomes. They provide opportunities for fellow enthusiasts in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe to communicate and/or travel together. They also host two six-day conventions that offer members the chance to connect, learn about the technical and non-technical aspects of 'motorhoming' and to join in fun activities.
One of these activities is a PineCar Derby of sorts, called PineBlock Derby. They use PineCar Wheels and Axles and GMC motorhome-shaped wood blocks. Yes, you read that correctly...they race motorhomes. No aerodynamic competitive edge in this race!
"Walt Halley and Bob Schwartz of the Great Lakers Club started having races at their local meetings," said Ray. "At the time Carol and I were the Convention Managers in charge of planning the rallies, and they twisted my arm to try it at the international level. The members seemed to enjoy the event, so I built an aluminum track and timing mechanism, along with several hundred kits per the specs developed by Walt and Bob. The race took off and we've been doing it ever since.
"We do have some rough guidelines, and I make all the kits which people can modify to some extent, and decorate/paint them however they want. Our only real enforced restriction is that they do not weigh over 16 oz. Most people build one or two cars, and use them at each race, applying some secret tricks or improvements they learned about between races. One of the fellows, Dale Ropp, has had a lot of success racing these things. He and one of our perennial winners Laurie Burton have put on seminars on how to build, tricks, etc., at our rallies.
"There are some rough guidelines for race participants to follow. They must use the supplied kit and the finished vehicle cannot weigh more than 16 ounces. People decorate them to look like their coach, or do to them whatever they want. One lady painted her coach pink and put eyelashes over the headlights, lipstick on the grill, etc. Another guy hollowed out his coach and carved out people to be in it, along with interior lights, etc. Some get very creative. We vote for our favorite at each event.
"This whole event is done in the spirit of having a good time. We have about 25 participants at each race, with many more spectators. We are a pretty close and loose group, and there is a lot of hooting and hollering going on during the race. We project the results of each heat up on a screen for all to see. Some people take it more serious than others, but at the end of the day, it is all about having a good time."