CC For Sale: 1970s Winnebago Chieftain – Relive The Seventies On The Road

The RV boom really got under way big time in the seventies, thanks to rising incomes and the falling price of motor homes, like this Winnebago. The Forest City, IA firm revolutionized the industry by introducing efficient production methods starting in 1966. By 1968, the F17, priced the same as an Olds Toronado, really started the ball rolling. In 1970, Winnebago went public, and in 1971 its stock was the highest flying of any on the exchange, up 462%. Winnebago was the high tech IPO of its day.

I’m not sure of the exact year of this 24′ Chieftain one, but it appears to be from 1977, possibly 1978. And it’s got a For Sale sign in the window, so this could be your opportunity to travel the wide open spaces of the West in true seventies style.

RV sales grew strongly during the 70s, peaking in 1978 with 390k units sold. The second energy crisis put the kibosh on that, sending sale tumbling to 106k in 1980, followed by a long slow climb. Finally in 2006, that ’77 record was tied at 390k, to tumble again during the great recession. In 2016, a new record of 430k was finally set, which was of course soundly thrashed by the Covid-fueled RV mania of 2021, when 600k units were sold.

The helm looks original and in pretty good shape, right down to the original green upholstery. These were all built on Dodge chassis until 1979 when Dodge suddenly exited the RV chassis market due to the huge slump and Chrysler’s near-death.

The original fake wood paneling in the kitchen and dinette have given way to green paint, perhaps to cheer up the atmosphere. That stove/range looks very familiar; our ’77 Dodge Chinook had the exact same unit.  I couldn’t get anymore interior shots, so you’ll have to call and make an appointment.

Here’s the number. it’s been a few months since I shot this, so I make no guarantees.


Related reading:
Curbside Classic: 1968 Winnebago F-17 – The Model T Of Motorhomes