Vintage 1966-style Winnebago ‘Brave’ motor home — production begins this week

Plus: 11 vintage photos of classic 1960s and 1970s “eyebrow” Winnebagos

Burma_original_BraveRetro revival fever continues to run high in every corner of the U.S. consumer marketplace. Now: Winnebago is introducing a new RV styled after its classic 1966 “eyebrow” Winnebago.  The Winnebago Brave and Itasca Tribute — sister models (like a Ford and a Mercury) — come in hippie color schemes including Mellow Yellow, Crimson-N-Clover, Woodstock, Aquarius, Bell Bottom Blue and Tobacco Road. Production of the Winnebago Brave and Itasca Tribute started just this week — they’ll be rolling off the assembly line and into dealerships just in time for summer. Read on, retro road warriors, for more information and some groovy historic Winnebago photos, too.

winnebago-camper-1960s-braveWe reached out to Sheila Davis, PR representative for Winnebago, to answer our questions about timing, pricing and gas mileage. Her reply:

The Brave shown in the photos was our prototype that we introduced at our Dealer Days event in Las Vegas in April.  We are just starting production this week, so the first units will be going to our dealers within a couple of weeks.  It will take a few months for them to populate all our dealer network.

MSRP starts at approximately $95,000.  I would estimate the mileage at approximately 8-10 mpg.  The Brave is built on a Ford F53 chassis with 362-hp 6.8L 3-valve Triton V10 SDF1 engine.  So it has a lot of power and can tow up to 5,000 lb. to bring along a boat, motorcycles, jet-skis, passenger car, you name it.

According to Sheila, the two models — the Winnebago Brave and the Itasca Tribute — are the same in all ways except available colors.

From the Winnebago press release:

It Was “Out Of This World” As Winnebago Unveiled New 2015 Models
— The Brow Is Back —

FOREST CITY, Iowa — The Brow is Back!  Winnebago has blended vintage with a modern twist with the introduction of the all-new Brave and Tribute. In the ’60’s and ’70’s, there was no mistaking a Winnebago motorhome with the distinctive “eyebrow” design and flying W logo.  It was the motorhome that made America fall in love with the RV lifestyle. The new Brave and Tribute breathe new life into the legendary design, providing the opportunity to re-live childhood memories for a new generation of motorhome enthusiasts.

winnebago-Brave-retro-campervintage-winnebago-brave-trailer retro-camper-winnebago-brave

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winnebago-camper-1960s-brave vintage-winnebago-1960s

1960s-winnebago-camper Retro-Winnebago-photos Santa-in-mini-vintage-winnebago retro-Winnebago-Chieftain

retro-camper-bell-bottom-blue retro-tribute-winnebago-camper-tobacco-roadBeyond the retro styling, the Brave and Tribute are loaded with today’s best features and offered in two versatile floorplans with exciting color schemes like Good Vibration with Cherry Cola Cherry cabinets, as well as a price to fit the budget of a young, traveling family.

“This is the most exciting product launch I’ve ever been involved with,” said Winnebago Industries’ Chairman, CEO and President Randy Potts.  “The new Brave and Tribute are going to take the market by storm.  The retro, yet modern image they project is fun, while they offer great new features that are sure to capture the eye of new buyers.”

“They hit the nail on the head with the new Brave retro look,” said Carl Jensen from Sierra RV, Sunset, UT.  “The updated interior styling was wonderful and the colors are bright and fresh.  The new Brave and Tribute will appeal to all ages.”

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winnebago-interior-fabrics-retro Winnebago-Brave-fabrics-Calypso

It seems to us that whenever a company revives a retro product or makes a new one with retro styling, it is always referred to as fun and exciting — but we knew that already, didn’t we?

We love the exterior colors and exterior graphics, in particular. We wish that Winnebago had been able to push the retro touches on the interior even further — but we can guess that they needed to walk a very fine line between satisfying retro enthusiasts and the much larger market of potential mainstream customers who aren’t quite that far along (or back), design wise.

winnebago-brave-floorplan-1Retro-camper-floorplan-winnebago-brave

You can see the interior and learn more about the Winnebago Brave on the company’s informative YouTube Video.

Winnebago-historyWe read through the Winnebago history and learned that the ‘eyebrow’ Winnebago RV design originally debuted in 1966 under the name F-19, built on Dodge chassis. It wasn’t until 1970 that the motorhome line expanded to include the affordably priced ‘Brave’ model. We’re surmising as in “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.” Who knows for sure? The vintage ads are rockin’ wonderful!

1971_BraveBrochureCover1971_NatGeo_ad

Mega thanks to Sheila Davis from Winnebago for sending photos and answering our many questions!

All photos, floor plans and color swatches Courtesy of Winnebago Industries, Inc. Unauthorized use not permitted. Copying of images for further distribution or commercial use is prohibited without the express written consent of Winnebago Industries, Inc.

And hey, while we’re at it: A reminder that all photos as featured on this blog are copyrighted by this blog. If you would like to publish any of the photos published here, please contact us for permission first. It’s good karma, too. Thank you.

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Comments

  1. Mary Elizabeth says

    Wow! These are lovely! I am paralyzed trying to decide which exterior color to drool over. Still stylin’ in my 1982 trailer with the gold shag carpeting, but if it ever fails me, I know where to go.

    Since my trailer was made just before the “slideout” feature was introduced into trailers and motorhomes (mid to late 1980s, I think), I don’t think the second model of the Brave featured is an accurate reproduction. And as you point out, the interiors are more typical of new motorhomes. (We have no flatscreen TV/DVD player in our old camper, and we like it like that!)

    Our campground is hosting a Vintage Trailer campout weekend this season. Are you interested in photos?

  2. GreenChair says

    This almost makes me want to go camping …ALMOST! I have a love for Airstreams that runs deep, but this is pretty cool. The bright yellow stripe is everything!

  3. Robin, NV says

    As an unabashed gearhead, I’d say they did OK with the new design but missed the mark just a tad. The original split windshield is an iconic design element (we’d say “defining feature” in historic preservation-land) and it’s sadly missing from the new Winnie. I’m sure they did that for safety reasons. Also the cantilevered or “winged” rear edge is missing. If they’d add that to the new one, it’d have much more of a retro vibe.

    That being said, I love the “Aquarius” color. And it’s really no biggie that the interior is “modern RV chic.” Just add some retro accessories! My mom turned her RV into a hippy wagon just by hanging some “bohemian” curtains, making slip covers with retro fabric, and throwing some Oriental rugs on the floor. Voila!

  4. JKM says

    When I was a child the late 1960s, my cousins had a Winnebago that looked like the ones in the advertisements so it must have been one of the first. I never went on long trips with them but they took it all over the place during summers – Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, etc. I remember the interior had lots of golds and greens with woodgrain cabinets and cubbies so everything had its place. I always thought it seemed like fun.

  5. Mary Elizabeth says

    Robin, what a good idea your mom had. If you picked the Winnebagho interior with the yellow, you could do a lot with midcentury “earth tones.”

    For those who need retro camper interior revamp ideas, two books I love: “Glamping with Mary Jane,” by Mary Jane Butters and “My Cool Caravan,” by Field-Lewis and Haddon. The second author team also has come up with “My Cool Campervan.”

  6. Lauryn says

    Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness, I’m so excited I didn’t even read the article! Be still my beating heart and calm down long enough to read post.

  7. Kelly Wittenauer says

    Very cool. Winnebago is the name of a Native American tribe, and their models had names like Brave, Indian & Chief. Some friends of my family has one in the mid 70s. It had the classic green trimmed exterior & I seem to remember green, brown & gold plaid upholstery.

  8. Melanie says

    I want one too!

    I saw one of the real-deal, genuine originals one morning early this spring. I go past the walmart parking lot on my way to work, and there sat an old Winnebego with a very faded green stripe down the side. Very few things make me slow down in the morning, but checking out the old Winnie parked beside a snow pile did.

  9. ali says

    Very cool and exciting! I love that mainstream companies are getting retro. My heart also belongs to Airstream, but this may be enough to tempt me!

    I personally am super happy about the retro exterior. My eyes are getting really tired of seeing the current variety of camper and RV exteriors.

    Way to go Winnebago!

  10. Brad says

    This is great news! Finally, some design class brought back to the motor home market. I have not been able to stand the modern motor homes seen on the highway with the haphazard “swirl” graphics on the side. Their placement seems no purpose. If I were in the market for a motor home those graphics would STOP me from purchasing such product. Congrats to Winnebago for bringing back the classic, good sense, stylish and simple graphics of old to the exteriors
    . As mentioned, one can glam up the interior in a vintage fashion and ENJOY the open road!

  11. Monica says

    I went to an RV show and saw a couple of these inside and out. While I was dazzled by the exterior, the interiors unfortunately seemed very cheap looking. They didnt really match the retro vibe. It was more like a modern interior styled to look slightly retro. I would have preferred the interiors to be pretty close to what you wouldve gotten in the original design. Not 2014 with retro colors.

    Anyway the area where the driver sits (cabin) is huge and bright and would be really fun to drive.

  12. Carter says

    The 1966 Winnebago did not have the “eyebrows” found on later models. The 66 was on a Ford P350 chassis. U guys should know this…..

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      Carter, commenters on this site do not know everything about cars and motorhomes and houses and furniture and so on from the mid-century. Think of us as on a voyage of discovery, sharing what we find out and what we do, and Pam and Kate are our captains. Hope you like sailing with us. 🙂

  13. Adam Hayden says

    I just picked up a 1969 D-18 in original condition. It looks like it just popped out of one of these old adds. I can’t wait to get her in cruising mechanical condition again. So sweet! Wish I could post a photo. I love the classics!

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