The 20 Year History of the Toyota Motorhome
For almost 20 years various manufacturers made the Toyota motor home in several models. During its heyday, this little camper was produced in over 60 different models and styles of motor homes.
Beginning with the rather small Toyota Chinook camper and carrying on through the largest of the Toyota based Winnebago and Itasca models, the Toyota based motor home help to establish many manufacturers in the RV industry.
Because of the large number of manufacturers it is not uncommon to see similar campers and very different names. The small overall size had to limit the variety of floor plans available. This caused a lot of the manufacturers to build virtual duplicates that varied only in some of the fit and finish type of details.
It wasn’t long until the manufacturers began to expand the size of the camper bodies. Using conventional manufacturing techniques found in the travel trailer industry, the stick and staple type of construction with aluminum siding became the standard.
In the decade of the 1980s production of the Toyota motor home peaked. Many different companies were producing many different models. Some of the larger companies that were in this business were national RV, the producers of the very popular Dolphin series. They also produced the Seabreeze models. At the same time Winnebago was producing the Brave, the Warrior, and the deluxe Itasca Spirit models.
Damen Corporation of Elkhart Indiana produce the Escaper motor home, while Coachman produced the popular Coachman and Savanna models. Leisure Odyssey was building the Americana, Santa Cruz, and the Laguna campers.
The Mini-Mirage was built by Mirage industries, while the still very popular SunRader was constructed with a fiberglass body by Gardener Pacific.
By the late 1980s the length of the camper body had expanded to 22 feet. This caused a severe overload problem on the original half ton pickup axle. A national safety recall was issued by the United States government to correct the problem. Most of the models were given a new one ton axle. However there are still a few units available today that have the unsafe axle. Caution is advised if you are looking at in 1980s version of this very popular camper.
In 1989 V6 appeared on the market in the Toyota chassis. This increased horse power became very popular with the camper owners and production continued until 1994 when Toyota stopped supplying the pickup chassis to the camper manufacturers for safety reasons. Winnebago produced some of the last V6 versions in 1994.
During its production lifetime, the Toyota motor home enjoyed a great popular success and was widely distributed across the country. Today the greatest number of units on the road seem to be concentrated on the east and west coast areas but these motor homes will turn up just about anywhere in the country.