Taking a worn out 1972 Winnebago Brave RV and rebuilding it into a supercharged 900 hp behemoth that can perform a 0-50 mph sprint in 3.2 seconds is something that many of us would love to do, if not for our lack of funds, skills, and workshop space. Two men who do have the funds, skills, and workshop space are Jim and Mike Ring, of the world-renowned Ringbrothers Garage.
Jim and Mike have built some genuinely incredible vehicles over the years, including a 1965 Ford Mustang with a body made entirely from carbon fibre. The Winnebago project began back in 2014 when they saw a 1972 Winnebago Brave roll up onto the auction platform at a Barrett-Jackson event, the two men have some land by a river and decided on the spot that the classic RV would be an ideal mobile cabin for weekends away.
As is often the case when men, tools, and project cars meet – mission creep set in. And before long the humble Winnebago was being fitted with a new V8 producing almost Formula One levels of power.
The Ring brothers chose a Wegner Motorsports LS 408 Wegner V8 with ported LSA heads, a Magnuson supercharger, a Callies crank, Callies ultra rods, Inconel exhaust valves, Manleg valves, and Flowmaster headers into a Flowmaster exhaust system. The original engine was a Dodge 318 cubic inch V8 that had seen better days – and the huge increase in horsepower necessitated a new transmission and rear end.
Jim and Mike settled on a tough 4L80 automatic transmission, connected to a Dynotec driveshaft, and a John’s Industries Dana 80 rear axle with a 4.11:1 ratio. The Happy Camper is now capable of lifting its front wheels under heavy acceleration, which is not something I ever thought I would say about a Winnebago.
The exterior of the RV has been left largely stock, making it one of the most well disguised sleepers on the face of the earth. The interior has been modelled on a WWII bomber with some tiki bar overtones, an idea that came to the two brothers thanks to a large wooden propeller that their Dad had picked up in a trade for a gallon of gas back in the ’50s – it’s now mounted inside the RV.
The seats inside come from Restoration Hardware – a company known for making high-end furniture based on designs and materials from the mid-20th century. The inside also has twin flat screen TVs, a bar, a pizza oven, a BBQ grill, a pop corn machine, twin cup holders made from old pistons – and a clear glass panel over the engine to showcase the Magnuson supercharger.
The driver’s seat offers a commanding view of the road ahead, and once parked the righthand side awing can be extended to offer additional shade. For cruising around the trailer park or local town there’s a mini bike mounted to the front end, although with a bar built into the RV I’m not sure why anyone would want to leave.
If you’d like to read more about the Happy Camper Winnebago you can click here to visit the Ringbrothers website.
Ben has had his work featured on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with millions of readers around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.