by Richard Rowell, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
We searched for a great RV for several months to make our big summer trip from Denver to the East Coast to visit friends and family. The search was focused on travel trailers for about two months. But finding one that our Toyota 4Runner could tow was a real challenge. Almost every time we found a great deal on Craigslist, we couldn't tow it without first acquiring a new vehicle.
Eventually, we found a couple great deals on Craigslist, but one turned out to be a scam and the other was a major project. I was not going to shell out thousands of dollars for a salvage project, nor was I going to pay over retail value out of desperation. Just to see what was possible at dealers, we checked out a few places, traveling all over the Denver metro area. But the prices were sky high. There was absolutely no way we would shell out the 20 grand for a brand new travel trailer.
We decided to shift the search to motor homes. But the cheapest motor homes we found from dealers, even really used, started at over $20,000. After becoming discouraged after looking at so many dealers, I simply thought that it wasn't going to happen. We checked Craigslist, and while there were decent ones for about $4000 to $5000, they all had issues that would cost at least another $1000 or so before we could even drive them away. Sure, we could negotiate. But the good listings were at least 2 hours from us. It wasn't working out.
Then, a miracle happened. We found this beauty.
Yes, it’s totally Denver Bronco’d out. That was the best part of it. The price was very reasonable. It looked like there were only minor things that we could easily fix. When we checked it out, not only were the issues relatively minor, but it turned out to drive beautifully. It seemed too good to be true.
Fortunately, it was for real. The guy was super nice and extremely honest about everything. He'd gotten it from someone for a good deal, and it was already mechanically sound. He put all the cosmetic work into it. The only thing that didn't work was the fridge. While inconvenient, we can always repair or replace it. It also needed new tires. But considering how old it is, it was worth replacing them, especially with most of the major components having being rebuilt beforehand.
After negotiating down the price due to the necessary repairs to the fridge (which can be pricey) and the tires, we got a great deal that worked for both of us. The guy made a fair profit and got cash in hand. We get to fulfill a live dream for both myself and my partner Lyn. The hardest part was the waiting to get the registration tag and getting back over to where it was parked to drive it away.
So, the BroncoBago (as it’s come to be called) is a 1977 Winnebago 23 footer with a rear bathroom. It sleeps 5 to 6, which is perfect for us. Most of the original stuff is still in it and outside of that fridge, still works. It's totally decked out in blue and orange. Really, pictures don't do it justice.
Sure, it's 40 years old. Of course, there are risks involved with an older vehicle, even one that works fine now. But for something so vintage, so well-maintained, and with so much character, this is a deal that no one should have passed up. The idea that only two other parties even came to look at it (and only one with a serious offer) blows my mind. It's unique, vintage, and fits our needs. And yes, we will tailgate with it. That is kind of the point after all. But we can do whatever we want with it.
I want to thank Ryan, the guy who sold it to us, for rescuing a piece of history. He helped make a dream come true, and that's priceless. We'll be making so many memories, and plenty of content about the RV Life in the months and years to come.
The BroncoBago is ours now. She's my baby and I hope my baby girl Nova will inherit it someday.
More photos coming soon!
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