Sister Steals Battery, More at 11: ’76 Winnebago

Barn Finds reader Pat L. spotted this interesting Winnebago here on craigslist, and here’s why I found this listing so curious: the seller has listed it for his sister, who swiped the battery before leaving town so no one would steal her camper. I did not know old Winnebagos were theft targets, but I suppose the TV show Breaking Bad may have inspired some copy cats. Regardless, you’ll need to bring a battery if you want to test it out.

That’s perhaps my favorite part of some listings: not the vehicle itself, but the crazy stories that go along with it. Apparently, the seller’s sister (and rightful owner of the Winne) had grand plans to live in this thing full time, but issues with a either a gummed-up carb or timing faults forced her to leave it behind, and take the aforementioned battery so no one ran off with it. While you will have to sort out the running issues, at least the body looks good.

These were not the most attractive vehicles when new, but they were certainly intimidating! It comes with a Chrysler 440 motor, as these Winnebagos often sourced Mopar engines for powerplants. The owner of the camper bought a bunch of parts for an eventual mechanical restoration it seems, but never got around to installing any of the parts. These include a new starter, coil, tires and a used but working water pump. All are included in the sale.

We don’t have much to go on as it relates to the most important items, which I always count as the interior fixtures. This one photo does appear to show an organized cabin, but it’s impossible to determine if it’s been damaged by water leaks or hacked apart in other areas. I would guess if the owner intended to live there, it should be mostly complete. Odd stories aside, is this Winnebago worth buying a battery for?


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  1. Rock On

    I know that I will probably get more thumbs down than Howard A, but I would yank the 440 and transmission out of this camper to use in a muscle car. Sell off the brand new tires and anything else worth money and you would be laughing.

    • Jeffro

      Thumbs up from me. Exactly what I thought after reading.

    • kmoney

      Hey it worked for the guys on Roadkill…

    • Howard A Member

      HA! You wish.

  2. JW

    This thing looks like something I would expect to find some unscrupulous people living in a trailer park, I call the guys story on the battery BULL, if he wants to sell it very bad go to Walmart and pick up a cheapo battery. Talk about a gas hog this would fit the bill !!!

  3. Chris

    Super sketchy.

  4. 68 custom

    comes with free meth making tutorial!

    • Blindmarc

      And I’ll throw in the video for free!

  5. Dirty Dingus McGee

    Got the motor and trans out of this ones twin about 6 years ago. Guy had been living in it behind his workplace. Job went away and so did he.Building owner was going to have it towed to the scrap yard, but I offered $75 for the engine and trans. Cutting torch, forklift, and 45 minutes later they were mine. Both have been built now and will be installed next year in a 68 Valiant I recently got.

  6. redwagon

    i’m still not clear on who owns this beast and who has the legal right to sell it.

    personally I would heave no interest aside from the engine and even then i recall some obscure thread that these are not the same engine as installed in your favorite Mopar go fast racer.

    • Jim L

      You are correct, it is a truck engine and has many differences. The block is the same but you would have to get everything for the front end from a passenger car engine.

  7. KeithK

    I would buy this just to be my own “Winnebago man”
    A must see if you haven’t already. Also the subject of a poignant documentary.

  8. Howard A Member

    Yeah, we’ve talked about older motorhomes before. My old man had one very similar to this. Motorhomes have come a long way, and this is just a straight truck with a camper on the frame, and rides like one too. I agree on the shady story. I wonder if some pissed off gal gonna come a lookin’ for her motorhome, and it ain’t there. Oh, boy. Might want to stay clear of this one for several reasons.

  9. Part Time

    I bet cousin Eddie has a spare battery that you could borrow!

    • Rob

      I hope the you-know-what isn’t full.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Rob, maybe that’s why she moved on. :) ( the battery was the most valuable thing)

    • Charlie H.

      “Well Clark this here’s one of them R Vees….”

  10. Mark S Member

    HI Howard sorry to see someone has a real hate on for you three posts nothing offensive and three thumbs down, I think that it’s kind of childish to continue to target everything you say so take heart not all of us are jerks. As for the winabego sadly there not worth anything but if you really wanted to cruise in one I’d transplant a cumins diesel with its heavy overdrive transmission. This one doesn’t look that bad but as others have said be carefull who your buying this thing from. As for the new ones they’re still sitting on truck chassies just with better suspensions.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Mark, not to worry. Lots of great folks here. Besides, I think I know one thumber for sure. Like I say, my old man had these, and they really are a pain and thirsty, lots of gas stops, which wasn’t all bad, at least we got to get out of that tin can. I mean, sure, they’re great when you eventually get to where you are going, but even then, without some sort of car you pull, which drops the mileage even more, you have to pick up everything and take the motorhome to “Ruby Falls”, bringing up a whole new set of problems ( watch that overhang, oh,oh) As with anything, you have to start somewhere, and this was it. And there’s always this.

  11. rustylink

    My old man had one of these – 76′ 28′ – 440 – we used it from time to time for family vacations, guest accommodations, and at one point my brother lived in it. At some point my father’s desire to haul a motorcycle with him had him grafting on a huge steel structure to the front of it – complete with a ramp to get his bike off and on. He told me he averaged about 8 mpg and it dropped down to 6 mpg with the structure on it. It always ran well – never any problems with the drive train. It had massive dual tanks that my brother and I would “borrow” from to fill our various vehicles at the time. These all had truck motors – and its not a one for one swap with a passenger car 440.

  12. Chebby

    Hillbilly soap opera. Why would anyone get involved?

    • Woodie Man

      lol…..really.she took the battery and I got the shaft!

  13. IanW

    In regards to fuel consumption, I have a Mercedes Benz Sprinter set up as a motorhome which returns 30 mpg at 60mph from the 2.15 liter 4 cylinder diesel engine and auto transmission. So much better for traveling than one of these monstrosities.

  14. IanW

    Why the thumbs down for my comment and many others commenting here? What a sad, twisted and pathetic life you must have.

    • Jim L

      It has been my experience that the people with the least knowledge are the fastest to hit the thumbs down button. After all, it offends how they “feel”.
      For some unknown reason I received two thumbs down for my comment about it being a truck engine.
      Having worked extensively on a Winnebago Brave doing an engine swap, I bet I’m a WHOLE lot more knowledgeable about what the differences are between the truck engines and the passenger car engines.
      But I’m willing to bet that there are some out there that think that just because it says 440 the engines are all the same. Let’s see them apply that logic to the big block chevrolet truck and marine engines and see how far they would get on an engine rebuild.

      • Woodie Man

        Guys…its the internet…trolls be trolls. Car guys be car guys.

  15. Cargirl

    Does the sister know he’s selling it? Are we looking at title issues here? If not all out theft, the very thing she was trying to avoid?

  16. Raoul Robichaud

    100 percent Garbage!

  17. Blindmarc

    In today’s world , this isn’t even worth the scrap. Pull the engine and leave the rest for the homeless.

  18. Jeffro

    Hey guys…my new girl friend(also my second cousin)has a battery for sale. She said it came out of a RV that belonged to her former old man. She’ll let it go cheap cause she’s gotta buy some Christmas present. And they’re having a sale on potted meat.

  19. Rich Nepon

    Every one I ever saw had a warped exhaust manifold and a noisy exhaust leak. Mine was in a Pace Arrow.

  20. Rob F

    no one else has said it yet……… any pics of the sister?

    • Jim L

      You just HAD to go there, didn’t you!


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