$800 Brave: 1972 Winnebago Brave

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Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

Here’s a cool little rig, it’s a 1972 Winnebago Brave and it’s on Craigslist in East Bethel, Minnesota, about 30 miles north of Minneapolis. The seller is asking a very reasonable $800 or best offer for this one!

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I think this is an D-18 model, as in an 18-footer, but I’m not positive and there is no mention of it in the ad. Winnebago Braves came in three models, but with a twist: 20-footers had the option of either Dodge or Chevy drivetrains. The D-18 (18-feet, side dinette, Dodge 318 V8), the D-20/C-20 (20-feet, side dinette, Dodge 318 or Chevy 350 drivetrain), and the D-20RD/C-20RD (20-feet, rear dinette, Dodge 318 or Chevy 350 drivetrain)! I may run and look at this one as soon as I can get in touch with the seller, just for my own curiosity.

No  matter which configuration, length, or drivetrain choice you settled on, these came standard with power brakes, power steering, dual rear wheels, and on the interior they had a water heater, shower, pressurized water system, 3-burner stove with oven, forced-air furnace, gas/electric refrigerator, etc. A heck of a camping machine for $6,700 in 1972! In 1973 they modernized the look a bit with rounded window corners (rounded corners?!) instead of the square corners seen on this one. I like the look of these square-edged windows, it just adds to the vintage feel for me. We had a 1969 Winnebago pickup camper that my mom and dad bought brand new but we secretly always wanted a little Winnebago motorhome like this one, that would have been quite a step up.

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There are no interior photos or engine photos, unfortunately. This one, being a D-18, has the 318 Dodge V8. Expect to get around 7 mpg with this l’il rig. They mention that the roof has a bit of damage which you can sort of see in this photo. Hopefully that wouldn’t be hard to repair. A bonus is that it comes with a fairly new Generac generator with just 250 hours on it. They say that this motorhome “starts and drives”, and it looks like it has 99,331 miles on it, or that’s what the odometer currently shows. It has good tires and a 4-year old awning that’s probably worth a good portion of the asking price. Have any of you ever owned an older Winnebago like this? Or, any motorhome?

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Comments

  1. Francisco

    This looks like the rolling meth lab in “Breaking Bad.” Cool find.

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    • RichS

      That one would be a Fleetwood Bounder – ’87 or ’88. I only know this because I owned one for about a year.

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      • Francisco

        Like this.

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  2. grant

    My grandma had one of these when I was a kid. Mostly the kids had sleepovers in it lol. Nice.

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  3. DanaPointJohn

    No interior or engine photos? Should be free.

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  4. MikeG

    Not exactly streamlined, but as a kid my family had wonderful times in ours!

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  5. RoselandPete

    Never had one but always wanted a small one like this.

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  6. BradL

    “Brave”. Describes the person who would buy this.

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    • CarlyJ

      Thanks 😉 it’s actually turning out to be quite a nice little camper.

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  7. angliagt

    What could possibly go wrong?

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  8. Brad C

    Buy this, fill it with friends dressed as zombies… and you’ll win Halloween!

    1+
  9. Wayne

    That roof damage looks like water has entered, and swollen (rotted) the timber frame, causing the roof cladding to lift. I agree with BradL, you would be very “Brave” to buy this.

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  10. Jesper

    Brave?
    Its a 800$ camper.
    If nothing better, use it as hunting cabin, or garden house for kits.

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  11. JW

    If you have a pool this would be great for a changing room and or a party house so your home stays dry and clean. A guy on the edge of town bought a caboose just for that reason. For $800 you can’t go wrong.

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  12. Howard A Member

    Scotty and I share a similar upbringing. Both our families had campers of some sort. So to see this from him is no surprise. The old man pulled trailer campers for years when I was a kid. When I was a teen, he “graduated” to the motor home set, with a unit EXACTLY like this. I had just gotten my license, and the old man “threw” me behind the wheel. “If you can drive this, you can drive anything”, he said, and he was right. It was a beast. A box on wheels. The chassis is a truck chassis and it rode like one. Bias ply tires (radials would have helped) was all over the road, and hang on to the steering wheel in a stiff cross wind, or semi coming at you on a 2 lane. I remember it had a voracious appetite for gas, seemed we were always stopping for gas, which was fine, to get out of that thing. Motor homes have come a long way, however, if you want to go somewhere, you have to take the motor home, or pull a small car, lowering the mileage even more. This unit is probably pretty rough, but for a local jaunt,( or dad’s pad when mom’s mad) the price is right. Remember, this has truck components, so while parts are plenty, it’s going to cost you. Cool find.

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    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      I think you’re right, Howard, maybe just for a hundred miles or so, to the local lake or state fair or something. I’m not sure about taking it cross-country, at least without a pretty thorough rebuild on the mechanicals. And, then there’s that 7 mpg.. but no hotel costs if you stay in wally-world parking lots.

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  13. dj

    It’s an $800 camper, not a $800.000.

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  14. Another Bob

    Why be homeless?

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  15. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Soooo, I talked with the seller, a super nice guy. He bought it a few years ago and drove it to some land that they own, I think basically for a weekend hunting shack, and it’s been sitting there for three years. It ran like a watch when he drove it there but now with 3-year old gas in the tank it runs rough off of the gas in the tank, but runs great when running from gas in a can with a hose to the carb.

    The roof did, and does, leak, unfortunately. And, they have had a lot of rain, so every weekend or two he goes up and opens the windows to let it dry out, so expect possibly some mold and water damage. The interior is classic early-70s colors and patterns as you’d expect, and want, hopefully. It sounds like a great project if the water damage isn’t too severe, that’s really the only wild card. He’s had a lot of calls on it and is taking appointments (!) for people to see it next weekend! It will NOT last long; just a guess. I’m going to check it out on Saturday morning if the person before me hasn’t already nabbed it. He even had a guy who wanted to gut it and turn it into a food truck, but when I said that I’d rather restore it to original spec, he said that’s what he was hoping for.

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  16. geomechs

    Hey, what’s with all the thumbs down stuff? Just making an observation.

    A lot of these out west over the years. Drove the wheels off them despite them having the aerodynamics of an open parachute. Interiors well laid out; quality second to none, for an RV. My dad had trailers, then slide-in campers, then finally got a 23 foot Mini-home on a Chevy G30 chassis. They used it a lot till my youngest sister and her girlfriend (sweet 16s?) took it to Glacier Park for the weekend. They were visited by a couple of guys from school and despite my sister and her friend spending an entire day scrubbing it out before returning home, it still smelled like a cross between a brewery and marijuana smoke. Dad abruptly sold it.

    Myself I owned a 27 ft. 5th wheel. It was a lot of fun although I seldom took it anywhere; it was a home away from home at a lake/resort less than an hour away. I leased a pad there and parked the trailer on it for the season. Nice home away from home while it lasted.

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    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      I noticed that,Geo, I was hoping that it was a mistake maybe, using a phone and maybe hitting the wrong button?

      Ha, open parachute, that’s about it! I don’t have an indoor place to store this Brave but I would love to have it as a retirement-restoration-project. I think it’ll go for more than $800 with so many people making appointments to look at it, it could be a bidding war. I’d better bring more than $800 with me. A little “flex-seal” sprayed on the roof, badda-bing, roof leak solved! (according to the infomercials)..

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      • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

        Ha! Yes, a thumbs down for talking about thumbs down! Classic.

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      • Howard A Member

        Well, well, the squeaky wheel DOES get the grease. I see no more “thumbs down”. Thanks to Jesse and Josh. I just feel, we are losing touch with interaction as it is, and I want to hear from folks that don’t agree with me. I learn something new all the time here. And as a 62 year old, know-it-all, retired truck driver, that is pretty cool.
        Since I’m “spillin” here, BF’s is my #1 favorite site, just inched ahead of Hemmings ( which, I feel has gone downhill, interaction wise). The variety of vehicles that comes through here, is a varied as the author’s imagination ( in Scotty’s case, pretty wild) Thanks again for a great site.

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  17. Jim Clark

    Having been in the RV biz here in Mn for a few years, consider this a project at best. There will more than likely be substantial water damage. The upside is construction for that time period was fairly simple. If sweat equity is your deal, you could have yourself a nice little camper that would make Cousin Eddie green with envy.

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  18. John Alley Member

    We Honeymooned in the exact same coach we owned for 4 years. It was during the gas rationing time. I put headers on it with glass packs to help the mileage and it would backfire likes a shotgun! On the coast I was followed into a little town by a kid with a hopped up Mopar when a cop came by the other way. Just then it backfired and the cop did a u-turn and stopped the kid! I still laugh thinking how the kid must have blamed me in the motor home!

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  19. Jeffro

    Make sure the sewage tanks empty

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  20. Veloce33

    An old motor home is like an old boat: the most efficient way to blow tons of money with very little return when it comes time to move on. These things are cash vampires, second only to a race car. And unfortunately I speak from experience on both!

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    • roselandpete

      Are moho’s cash vampires in general or just the old ones? I’ve never had one but I always thought about getting a small one.

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      • JW

        Well my sister and ex brother in-law bought a 1992 model back in the late 1990’s for 14K then in 2005 they divorced and they can’t give it away. It’s still sitting at her ex’s country home. Now my neighbor and her husband bought a 1994 in 2006 for 16K just to take to their lake property 5 miles out of town, he died 2 years ago and she won’t drive it so she sold it for 8K last year. Both my neighbor and my sister & ex brother in-law;s motor homes never went further than ten miles from their homes. Seems a waste to me. My bank once told me they refuse to loan money on 2 vehicles which are motorhomes & classic cars because both take too look to sell to recoup their money if you default. Just my experiences with people who’ve owned them, I’ve always wanted a mini motorhome but the wife says NO !!!

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  21. Jay M

    This is a great family project. When our kids were small, we bought a 1979 C class Winnebago for cheap that needed work. Our whole family worked on it to make it ours, and we still have it.
    You can’t replace those memories.
    Of course, I had to “tune up” the 440 a wee bit…Cam, intake, carb, headers, MSD ignition, etc.
    Kids always grinned when the secondaries opened wide-passing slower MoHo’s.

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  22. angliagt

    “That there’s an ARR VEE”.

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  23. Glen

    Back in the 70’s, we would get picked up in one of these and head up to the dump and watch for bears. good times.

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  24. Fogline

    We had a green one that was a little longer. Good fun for hanging out at swim meets and playing cards. Seems like that one leaked too and it was the early 80’s. Also seems like it had a double passenger seat that would spin around, but I could be wrong on that. We had a lot of fun in that thing but I think it drank gas like no tomorrow, which probably resulted in it being sent down the road.

    Like the idea of taking it and parking it somewhere if you could get it to stop leaking.

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  25. Keruth

    We had one as I was leaving the teenage years. Dad took an extended vacation out to the left coast after he had me rebuild the front end on a larger (28′ maybe, not a Winnie) Dodge 300 chassis, just as square, 318 auto, larger wheels (19″?)
    Blew the motor a few years later, dropped (slid) a 360 w/HiPo parts from a 340.
    Now that made it “surprise” a few people, ha ha.
    He bought a van front one (also Dodge) later as my girls were younger and “Papa” didn’t like stopping except for gas. They even named it!
    Good memories of weekend jaunts for them.
    I’m not the vagabond he was! But if it were closer, hmmm !

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    • Keruth

      Big plus on the roof air, too

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  26. GRAY WOLF

    Best chicken coop you can find! Maybe a guest house??🙀

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  27. Black Cat

    Still have fond memories of the family’s 18′ Brave. My father had the slightly later, rounded -window version. I remember going to the RV dealer while he was shopping, and that there were two floor plans: one put the loo amidship, and the other put it in the stern. The mid-ship loo design had the large bed In the back, while the rear-loo design kept all the living/sleeping area forward. We had the latter, and it was the better layout, I think.

    8 mpg was about right. At the transition from middle to high school, I played navigator, charting the routes on the maps and road atlas, calculating fuel economy, and enjoying the scenery. One trick was to flip the air cleaner lid to an inverted position, slightly improving air flow without totally bypassing the filter element.

    That tank took us to many great places: Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Yosemite, Sequoia, Tahoe, Crater Lake, most of the time towing a Honda CVCC Civic for runabout duty, and other times hauling my Honda QA50 mini bike. Good times.

    When the kids were grown and my father lost interest in road trips, it became a sideyard fixture. During college, I used it as a storage unit for the loads of NOS and repro parts acquired to restore my derelict XK-120 Jag. Like this one, the roof eventually began to leak, at which point Dad sold it cheap to an RV dealer, end of story.

    I saw one recently, parked out in the CA/NV desert, and it brought back memories and thoughts of making an offer. But that one may actually be a meth lab, so I’ll just stick to the happy, innocent memories circa 1974.

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  28. SLUGGO

    Looks like a real mice RV.

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  29. JW

    Here’s the one the Ring Brothers are taking to the Sema Show in Vegas.

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