Since the 1960s, Winnebago campers have delivered on the promise of a house on wheels. Nevertheless, this classic example of the breed, which has gone through an extensive restomodding process, is now less house and more wheels. Meet Rampabago.
This RV started life as an early 1970s Winnebago Chieftain. And, as it happens with many of these American symbols, it stayed with its original owner for decades—if no trouble or extreme old age step in, why would you part ways with such a family-and-friends-fulfilling machine?
More recently, though, the man sold the Chieftain to the father and son builder team behind the Rod Shop Collective Instagram page. The two run a shop over in Louisville, Kentucky and, at least as far as the younger enthusiast is concerned, a Winnie project was a long time coming.
Well, it seems that 2022 was the year that brought the dream to life, with the duo working around the clock to bring the project to a particular stage familiar to builders and beholders alike. You know, the kind that allows a more or less complete project to be proudly displayed at an event. And Kentucky’s Street Rod Nationals, held earlier this month, brought the maiden display of the contraption.
From the front bumper to about 50 percent of its length, the camper looks like it received a restoration that makes us feel we’re on a road/time trip back to the 1970s (it’s the same emotion with this all-custom 1976 Dodge shorty van).
However, the factory fresh look of the Winnebago is matched with a hauler-style rear half. The side panels have been progressively cut and now flank a platform allowing this Chieftain to give hot rods a lift—we too are curious about the safety bits preventing the cargo from reaching the cabin in the event of a crash, but no such details are currently available.
The interior and the precious cargo of the Rampabago
As you’ll notice in the gallery below, the old furniture and appliances left the building (some of it may have returned in refurbished form). And while the classic look of the exterior has been maintained, there’s a new color scheme. Fret not, the trademark V-Shaped bodywork sitting atop of the windshield and the trademark W-side logos are still here.
With a renaming being mandatory, the enthusiasts went for a self-explanatory choice: Rampabago. As far as the motivation goes, the old Dodge V8 was replaced with a more efficient Caterpillar diesel almost 50 years ago—the original owner reportedly handled the job himself back in 1975.
Staying true to its name, the Rampabago took on the 2022 Street Rod Nationals with a 1930s Ford Model A (quite a departure from showroom-shiny hot rods like this murdered-out ’32 packing Corvette power) on its back. Completed by the same shop, this mixes some serious body chopping with a bare metal finish for the full custom effect.
Both projects still need work, but so will our eyes after we manage to stop staring at these outstanding duo.