Be Brave: 1975 Winnebago Brave D-21

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

Spring fever is hitting hard here in the Midwest, although having temperatures in the 50s and 60s in February was highly unusual and the snow went away a few weeks earlier than usual. Even though I drive 40,000+ miles a year all over the US, I dream about having something like this to travel the country in. This 1975 Winnebago Brave D-21 is listed on eBay with no reserve and a current bid of around $1,000. This boxy beauty is located in Inyokern, California. Thanks to Ed V for sending this one in!

This Brave looks like it has had its”rally yellow” wide stripe painted brown for some reason. I guess the reason would have been that someone liked that color better. This is, I believe, a D-21 model with the side bathroom and being 21-feet long. Or, 21-feet 4-inches long, to be exact. This is the era when Winnebago was introducing new designs, such as the Brave II. I prefer the classic Winnebago shape, but that’s just me.

Talk about a perfect platform for taking photos! The seller says that this one has no rust and they bought it from their “neighbor some time ago and it spent its life on his pistachio farm in the California high desert. He did not work on it due to his health and it has not been on the road for about 10 years.” These can be both fairly simple and nightmarishly complicated to work on because they combine all of the systems on a vehicle with almost of the systems in your house, all in a rolling box not much longer than a Lincoln.

In a nod to Craigslist ads the world over, the photos on this one are not that clear or plentiful, even though it’s an eBay auction instead of a CL ad. There are only two photos of the entire interior, if you don’t count a close-up of the White-Westinghouse stereo and CB Radio, which is obviously much more important than showing photos of the bedroom area, dining area, storage, mechanical systems, or bathroom would have been. There is a generator, which is a nice addition for those stays away from civilization when you just have to catch up on the latest hijinks of those wacky Kardashians and you don’t have any power for your flatscreen tv.

Here is a photo of the kitchen. Being 42-years old, the comforts in this Brave will be light years from the quality and luxury that a new motorhome would have, but there’s a certain quaintness about these old RVs. Or, there is for those of us who did a lot of hard-sided camping in this era. There are no engine photos, but this one has the optional Dodge 440 cubic-inch V8, which unfortunately isn’t currently running. It does turn over and this rig was last on the road in 2010, traveling a mere 57,000 miles since new.  Have any of you owned a Winnebago motorhome from the 1970s? Do you think this one is worth saving? It sure looks good to me.

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Comments

  1. glen

    Back in the 70’s, some friends of my parents had one of these. We had a cottage at the time(now a home). They would pick us up and take us to the local dump to watch the bears in comfort!




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  2. boxdin

    Different strokes, I go nuts for Chinooks like this Ford. These get twice the milage of the boxy Winny.




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    • Mike Holden

      They do indeed, I have a 91 like the one pictured it gets 10-12MPG and my Eurocoach 38′ with a carbureted 460 get 4-6 depending on speed and whether or not I am Pulling a vehicle with it.
      The Chinook is still worth $20000-$25000 and there is a cult like following.




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      • Mike Holden

        Heres a pic




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  3. geomechs

    I remember when these were everywhere. Obviously those who could afford one didn’t care about fuel economy. As far as trim is concerned I’ve seen several different combinations, including blue. My Dad had a smaller version (23 ft.) based on a Chevy Vandura. He and others said that for the price you could stay in a lot of fancy hotels and eat some fancy meals. But then, if you have a collection of old cars……




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  4. Jeffro

    Looks like a Brady Bunch colored interior. I can dig it though. Alice better get her a$$ in the kitchen and make me a sandwich!




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  5. Buster Monasmith

    My dad had a Winnie like this one, and it rode like a cement truck, very stiff, but for the price it sure did beat sleeping on the ground. Winnebago now makes a look alike for around 60k, that has all of the modern feature’s.




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  6. Fred w.

    One of the better looking motorhomes I’ve seen for 1K or so. Bet you could have it running in a day or two. Doesn’t have the look of one rode hard and put away wet.




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  7. lawrence

    Mine’s earlier – called the Brave – same wheel base…..strong 318 powers it.




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    • boxdin

      “Powers” is a relative term.




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  8. Black Cat

    Great memories of this one’s little brother. My Dad had an 18′ Brave from the same time period. ‘Remember going with him to look at the variations (there were two floor plans, as I recall, one with the loo amidships and a master bedroom aft, and ours with the loo/shower at the aft end and no master bedroom). In such a small package, the loo at the stern was a wise choice.

    From the SF area, we visited Crater Lake, Oregon, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, Yosemite, Sequoia, Lake Tahoe, the central California coast, etc. I think she averaged about 8 mpg, usually pulling a Honda Civic CVCC behind, and I would perch on the engine cover with large road maps and a mechanical wheel gauge to plot the route, segment distances, and fuel economy. No wonder I always admired the B52 navigator in “Dr. Strangelove”, as he kept recalculating how their fuel-leaking bird might get some target before having to ditch! Good times. “Thanks, Dad”, if you were still here it would be fun to do again.

    The rig’s undoing was pretty common to these. Water leak at the A/C unit caused a roof sag, and repairs can be a pain when the aluminium/foam sandwich material gets saturated. Dad sold it to an RV dealer rather than incur the repair cost.




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  9. Howard A Member

    A motorhome like this was the old man’s 1st motorhome, after years of pulling various makes of trailers. His was an older model, ’67 maybe, and all I remember about it was what a miserable POS it was. While the camper part was pretty standard, driving it was downright dangerous. I remember on 2 lanes, a semi ( especially cabovers) coming at us, my old man would grab the wheel, and it would almost throw us off the road ( with my old man hollering expletives) Crosswinds too. I remember more than once, we had to wait, because a trooper said a motorhome blew over up ahead.( and some gusts of wind made me nervous in that thing) His was a 318, which was severely underpowered, and we liked the dismal gas mileage, because we got to stop a lot and get out of that tin can, especially when it was hot.( no a/c) It’s a truck chassis and it rides like one. Not to mention, trying to get around, which is why people pull cars and such, further lowering the mileage. Motorhomes have come a long way from these beginnings. Short trips would be great, my dislikes were because we went too far in it.




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    • Howard A Member

      Oh, one more thing. The only thing to rust is the frame. It’s made of aluminum and plywood.




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      • Ed P

        That is not exactly true. Aluminum will deteriorate when in the presence of water and electricity (electrolysis). The aluminum will turn to a white powder with prolonged exposure.




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  10. David Miraglia

    Never cared to much for the winnys. I’ve been a bus driver for 27 years. I’d take a converted MCI, Eagle, Flxible or GMC from the same era. No rust and those coaches were all built like tanks with the two cycle 8v71 and 6v71 engines.




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  11. rando

    Can we cook meth in it? Surely I’m not the only one that thought it???




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    • CaCarDude

      I like these, and the first thing I thought was the big W stands for Walter White mobile, I can see it driving thru New Mexico now…




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  12. John Duke Wayne

    Absoulutley worth saving! I’ve had 3. The first was the toy my mom bought me as a young boy. On how I loved it. The second was a ’74 brave with the dodge 440. The third I’m living in, is a ’72 brave with the 318. I sometimes wish I would have swapped the 440 and 318 tucked it in. ’72 . Either way I was hooked on them from the first one!




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    • AMXSTEVE

      Did you say you’re living in it now?




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  13. Squanto

    Is that an outrigger on the side for when the high desert winds tip it over?




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    • AMXSTEVE

      No man, that’s an awening.




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  14. tammy

    I would love to have one of these!!!!




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