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Winnebago Industries has been manufacturing its eponymous recreational vehicle since 1969. In 1973, the company had four Winnies on the market: two large-size family RVs called the Indian and the Chieftain II, and two small-size models called the Brave and, for the first year, the Minnie Winnie. Each has similar features standard to the Winnebago brand.
Winnebago's Chieftain family RV is 27 feet long and accommodates heights of up to 6 feet 6 inches inside. Like the other models, it comes with a range of special features, depending on whether you have the company's Chieftain II or more elaborate versions like the D-24. The chassis comes from a Dodge M375 with a 159-inch wheelbase and a V-8, 265-horsepower engine. It comes with power steering, power brakes and a range of room configurations. The Chieftain features captains' chairs to the right of the door, a dinette directly across from the door, a living room/sleep area for up to five, then a full bathroom with a tub/shower combination. Shag carpeting is featured in a variety of colors in most rooms. Bunk options allow for the expansion of the sleeping quarters.
The Indian isn't quite as large as the Chieftain, but sleeps almost as many. It's 22 feet 11 inches to 24 feet long and has three inches less of headspace inside, at 6 feet 3 inches, but it has the same V-8 engine and Dodge RM-350 chassis as the Chieftain. It has an electronic ignition system, a three-speed automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes. Because of the change in length, its layout is slightly different than the larger models. Captain's chairs are to the right of the door, and a kitchenette that can also sleep two children (like the Chieftain) is across from the door, but the kitchen is on the left and the shower/toilet bathroom is on the right of a hall that leads to a rear couch and master's suite. As with the Chieftan, shag carpet and band-style bunk adaptions were prevalent in 1973.
The Brave is noticeably smaller than the previously described models, from 18 to 21 feet long, but it can sleep about the same number (four or five) as the Indian or Chieftain. Its V-8 engine is 318 cubic inches and fuel-filtered. Though various D-18, D-20 and D-20T versions of the Brave model have hit the roads, they are easy to tell apart. The number refers to the length, and each has a slightly different layout. The shorter D-18 Brave has a couch bed and dinette/sleeper immediately inside the door, with a kitchen and full shower/toilet in the back. The D-20 has the bath and kitchen in the front, with a dinette and rear lounge/master bedroom separating the sleepers. In the D-20T, the dinette is sacrificed for a larger lounge/master suite in the rear. Once again, all are shag-carpeted and paneled in slightly different configurations of Desert Red and Aquatic Green color combinations.
In 1973, Winnebago introduced its Minnie Winnie model, with a Dodge MBH300 van body and style in the front that was capped by a full-size bed over the captains' seats, front window and all. It has a rear passenger-side door, instead of one directly behind the passenger seat of the driver's cabin like the others. Its engine is a V-8 capable of 245 horsepower at 360 cubic inches. It's about the same length as the Brave, at 19 feet 9 inches, with a total height of 9 feet 10 inches. Two floor plans were available: In the RB version, enter through the rear-right door on orangish shag carpet with a full tub/shower/toilet on the left, followed by the kitchen, and the dinette-sleeper for two on the right before the cockpit, all colored brightly in Aztec Red and Orange. In the RG edition, a fold-down couch for two is on the left of the entrance, followed by the kitchen and then a smaller shower/toilet room, with the kitchen-sleeper remaining the same on the right. The RG was generally in shades of green.
Dan Harkins has been a full-time journalist since 1997. Prior to working in the alternative press, he served as a staff writer and editor for daily publications such as the "St. Petersburg Times" and "Elyria Chronicle-Telegram." Harkins holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of South Florida.