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Which Model Of RV Is The Walking Dead Winnebago? The Internet Cannot Decide

A few years back, AMC started a series that gave RV aficionados something to talk about: what year, precisely, is the Winnebago Brave driven by character Dale Horvath in The Walking Dead?

While this may seem like a simple question, there is a lot that goes into it, apparently. Officially, it is listed as a 1973 Winnebago Brave, but as fans have pointed out on more than one site, there are enough discrepancies to keep the debate alive.

Dale’s Winnebago from The Walking Dead, Season One.

the winnebago side view
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Why is that? It seems you could just match up the visible features, which change from model to model, like exterior striping, chrome package, grill shape, and so on.

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Well, the film crew probably needs more than just a single vehicle for their shots. The Walking Dead Winnebago is probably more than a single vehicle.

Finding an entire fleet of ’73 Braves in filmable condition may be a task even Hollywood’s experts can’t handle.

Therefore, different scenes are likely shot in various vehicles, and some of them are likely stripped of one or more walls for interior shots, et. cetera.

Behind the scenes filming with the awning extended, chilling through the apocalypse.

winnebago on set
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dale on roof
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So, here’s what they tell us. First, on the AMC site, Jeffrey DeMunn, better known as Dale on the first two seasons of the show, gives a tour of at least one of the RVs used in shooting.

He describes it as a 1977 Chieftain. This is where the controversy begins. On the Internet Movie Car Data Base, several issues with this description come up.

Someone claims the exterior striping is all wrong for a ’77. In fact it is a 1973 Chieftain, due to the two spoke steering wheel and flat dash!

Controversial scene shows front grill access some RV history experts say is impossible on a 1977 Winnebago Chieftain.

front grill access
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Then there’s the mechanical dilemma. At one point, the Winnebago, which forms the center of a ragtag wagon train of salvaged vehicles used by this group of zombie apocalypse survivors, breaks down.

No garages are still in operation after the near total annihilation of the human race so one of the characters, Daryl a biker with shade tree mechanic skills, “files down the points”.

Problem? Winnebago started putting electronic ignitions on them in the early ‘70s. (’71-’73 depending on your source and the model).

Dale heading up the back ladder as Rick heads off to deal with trouble.

rear view
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Another contributor to the conversation insists that just having sold his 1973 Brave, he guesses the TWD ‘Bago to be a bit older, perhaps 1971, due to the five lug nut wheel pattern, while his had six.

He also points out the swiveling dual front passenger seats and the position of the drop down bed.

At one point, a very confident poster even suggests that the color of the steering wheel is off. Black wasn’t introduced until 1973.

A front view showing the bumper some say is questionable for this model year.

front view
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So, what do you think? Here’s my take on it. I think they found a running RV that had a look they liked.

It was maybe a Frankenstein already, or they may have salvaged grills and dashboards, and even swapped out wheel hubs, making it impossible to tell what it is exactly.

The Winnebago meets an untimely demise, some say this a smaller model.

rv meets its demise
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fire from inside
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One thing is clear, when the Winnebago meets a fiery end, almost everyone agrees, it is the not the same RV burning that we see rolling in the series. Either way, it’s been a fun little exploration into the world of vintage RVs.

SEE ALSO: Introduction To Winnebago’s Class A Gas Motorhome Lineup