Why Chinook RV Stopped Making RVs

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Chinook RV with a Trail wagon trailer attached
Source: ChinookRV.com

From the old tiny trucks with campers to shiny new toy haulers that look like Class B motorhomes, Chinook RV has been creating groundbreaking RVs and travel trailers for decades. Most of these models still hold up well today, all built with quality materials and designed with RVers in mind.

From fiberglass shells to useful amenities, Chinooks meet the needs of campers while offering outstanding dependability and longevity.

About Chinook RV 

Chinook RV got its start in 1938 as Mair & Sons. But it wasn’t until 1966 that the company revolutionized motorhome manufacturing with fiberglass bodies.

The aerodynamic design made Chinook a recognizable name in the RV industry.

They initially designed two very different RVs. One targeted the family market and the other aimed at couples seeking more luxury.

Innovation was always at the forefront of Chinook’s recreational vehicles, and over the years, the company constantly produced high-quality RVs.

Even old models are still seen as some of the best-built Class B motorhomes available, and they have become collectible.

Sadly, the company had to call it quits in 2006 as the crashing economy dealt them a blow.

The manufacturer put all of the jigs and equipment in storage. The hope was that someone would eventually invest in the company and bring Chinook back.

That turned out to be fortuitous, as the company was eventually sold and reintroduced to the RV industry in 2013. 

Image of a Chinook Summit RV
Source: Chinook RV

Who Made Chinook RV? 

Chinook RVs were originally manufactured in Yakima, Wash., by Mair & Sons and Gary Lukehart.

Early in its career, Chinook worked with Toyota to create a small Class C RV.

It put a fiberglass coach on the Toyota chassis for a unique and lightweight motorhome.

It was a hit, producing great gas mileage for a camper during the oil crisis of the early 1970s.

Jump forward to 2006, when the Chinook RV company found itself closing due mainly to the beginnings of the recession.

Lukehart found a buyer for the company in 2013 when Phil Rizzio, the owner of several RV dealerships, agreed to purchase the rights and equipment to resurrect Chinook.

Rizzio was from Las Vegas but decided to take the company to Peru, Ind., to oversee the manufacturing of new motorhomes.

In 2018, Chinook RV’s motorhome division was once again moved, this time to Elkhart, Ind.

This put the manufacturer close to most other RV companies and signaled Chinook’s return to the industry as “the sports car of motorhomes.”

What Types of RVs Did Chinook RV Manufacture?

Starting as a small trailer and camper company in 1938, Chinook beat most of the RV industry to market with a “non-metallic” small Class C camper.

In conjunction with Toyota, the company produced a lightweight fiberglass camper on a small truck chassis.

By the 1970s, Chinook RV modified the camper-on-a-truck chassis and began producing Class B camper vans with innovative fiberglass bodies.

Many of these older models have a rear door, allowing full utilization of the space inside. 

Today, Chinook turns out high-end Class B models like the Countryside, larger travel trailers like the Dream, and a unique trailer designed like its tow vehicle Class B called the Trail Wagon.

Keep in Mind: There are many RVs out there, but which is the best RV to live in? Let’s check it out!

Are Chinook Motorhomes Still Made? 

Chinook began its reentry into the RV market in 2013 after three years of work to bring the company back from the brink.

With new investment from Phil Rizzio, Chinook jumped back into business, introducing several new vehicles.

In fact, for 2023, their Bayside Class B and Summit Class B+ models are already selling like hotcakes.

Their reputation for high-quality construction and dependability precede these new vehicle introductions. 

Why Did Chinook RV Stop Making RVs?

Forced into closure because of the effects of the recession, Chinook RV held out hopes that one day the economy would recover and someone would be interested in reviving the company.

It took five years, but eventually, it found a buyer.

After that, the beloved campers were again in production within three years after the company’s purchase.

Image of a Chinook RV
Source: Chinook RV

How Much Is a Chinook? 

Chinook travel trailers like the Dream start at $22,000.

The toy hauler trailer called the Trail Wagon can run from $48,000 to $55,000.

The Class B motorhomes start at $110,000.

Class B+ Summits start at $188,000.

Keep in Mind: Do you know the difference between motorhome classes? If not, check out the difference and see which class is right for you!

Can You Find a Used Chinook RV?

Chinook RVs, young and old, are still available on the market today.

However, they are usually difficult to find.

Esteemed for their quality construction, these vehicles retain their value longer than others in the class, and used prices normally reflect that fact.

But if you are looking for a dependable, long-lasting motorhome that is usually on the cutting edge of innovation, a Chinook will not steer you wrong.

Would you ever consider owning one?

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