I can't speak for anyone but myself. Being a member of FMCA saved me $800.00 a year on insurance for all of my vehicles. Well worth the yearly membership.
The chapter I belong to, Great Lakes Area Converted Coaches, only has one member with something newer than 3 years old and that is a 2011 Prevost.
The next newest is a 2006 Prevost. We do however have a 1948 Spartan A,1955 GMC TDM,1954 Flxible Visa,1958 Flxible Starliner, and many in between those. There are two s&s Holiday Ramblers both over 10 years old.
They are a great group, kind of split into two groups. Those who bought it and those who did it themselves. Those who bought a coach already finished, mostly Prevost, obviously aren't in my price range. I don't have much in common with someone who can afford a bus that just having a slideout adds $100,000 to the price. They were however very friendly. They are less likely to show you their toys, but probably would have if I would have asked.
The do it yourselfers on the other hand couldn't wait to show you their latest build/accomplishment. They all thought my sliding screen door was really cool, and there was much discussion on how it might be made to work on their buses, but since almost none of them have a square door opening it would make the entry too narrow. I did get the plans to build a cruise control using a late model GM cruise module. It doesn't use vacuum so it will work on a diesel.
And I told them it was because of the "thank the dealers" ststement
I find this statement to be just plain silly. Why wouldn't a large organization urge you to buy from their supporters/advertisers? They didn't say "If you don't buy from them you can't play with us anymore" Who knows you might have total brain fade and might want to buy a s&s motorhome with all of the cheap plastic stuff that will fail just after the 30 day warranty runs out. You could run out and buy from one of them.
The last few issues of FMCA mags have had some really good articles with pictures of the early days of FMCA. Most of the coaches were converted buses. Sure there are articles and advertisements about all of the newest motor homes, they help pay the bills. The mag isn't why I joined. You can pay good money for a magazine off the rack, all you get is a magazine, with maybe one good article about something that interests you, and you get a LOT of Pro this or that biased tests and advertising. For some reason I've been getting the Good Sam magazine, seems to be mostly a Camping World Catalog.
These ARE NOT like minded people.
FMCA is the parent club, there are hundreds of chapters of people that may be like minded to you. I could care less whether you join this or any other group. I found a group I like. My son is in it. My wife likes it (means didn't object and went along) I obviously had the lowest dollar least finished bus there, and the only skoolie. Did the owners of the million dollar coaches come running over to look at it? No, why would they? Were they friendly? Yes. The group as a whole were friendly, nice, and helpful. Their rallies are close enough to be affordable, and they have a lot to offer. Many seem to be retired engineers of some sort. I'm not saying an engineer can necessarily build anything, but they have a lot of good ideas.
By the way, my son is an engineer, and he can do it too. This is the inside of his bus.Everything designed and built by him.
The ladder to the roof hatch.