Back in the day (Late 90's and early 00's) I sold New Winnebago's and Itasca.. and many other brands including American Coach and the Fleetwood line. And towables of all types.
I have been in factory tours of many manufacturers with the various marketing groups and dealer reps and had the unglossed versions of the pitch. I regret that I never did get to go see "Big Bertha", I still might make the trip to Winnebago at some point.
Anyway on these tours the "Feature and benefit" talk comes up with each selling point etc..One fact is true, all RV's are basically crap. Some are just nicer crap than others. Some use glossy bits and faux leather others like the industrial fabrics that feel like 90 grit sandpaper.
I have been out of that business for going on 12 years or so by now, and deciding it might be fun to actually own one of these motorhomes the decision was obvious for me.
I wanted a Winnebago.
Sure an American Dream would have worked but I had reasons for considering a 20 year old diesel sunflyer, cheiftain, Vectra or Luxor and the like, I had always been biased towards them, maybe because of the exposure I had to pretty much every brand out there both new and used. And talking with service guys about issues that would cut into my eventual commission really helped with my bias when I was selling used rigs I guess. Maybe people tend to sell what they like?
So, I was looking at older diesel pusher rigs and I wanted one that was built right, and one that I could still get support for, this ruled out Beaver,Monaco,HRC and most of the others so I found my Vectra and have not looked back.
Anyway,people often overlook some fairly obvious things in motorhome construction, after all these are not commercial buses.
Some reasons why I like the brand.
A motorhome drivers compartment floor is also a fire wall, even the diesel pusher has a generator engine under the drivers compartment more often than not, I also like my seats bolted to metal and not a threaded insert or lag bolt into wood, so I prefer the steel decking over the marine plywood that pretty much everyone else in that era used, even the American Eagle.
I like the fact that my windshield is bonded to a steel frame and not just held in the front fiberglass cap with a rubber rope seal. We had new coaches come in all the time with windshields popped out (American Coach was not immune) on one corner...at least the Winnebago's would just leak (a lot) from time to time. If I had to fly into that glass from the inside I would want it to be from the inside of a Winnebago. If a deer hit it from the outside I would like it to stay outside.
Seatbelt mounted to that superstructure,that has already been mentioned.
The way the unit is built has always been interesting, we actually did order a coach with zero cabinets connecting the walls to the ceiling. At the time they were the only vendor that a mobile dentist or other business could consider because no other "RV" manufacturer would sell a shell with no cabinets due to loss of structural integrity.(You had to get a bus to do that). It seems many builders NEED the cabinets to act as structural bracing.
Window frames, Winnebago made mine, and they may have made yours since they were at the time also an outside vendor/supplier. I dont know if they still do that...I have been away.
Things like holding tanks, shower, front and rear caps, furniture etc.. are all made in house. I might even be able to get a new piece for my 20 year old camper because they did not buy them from a supplier that went away during one of the recessions we have had since then.
The wire harness. It's made on a pin board, wrapped and then installed into the body. Many coaches to this day still string wire as they build... no thanks.
Steel plating inside the wall lamination to screw appliances into if no wall stud is available. Yes I know its thin metal, but at least it's spreading out the load in the wall to keep that refer and microwave from hitting me in the back of the head.
Aluminum extrusions made in house. I can still shake my 20,000lb coach with my screen door, even after 20 years. Looking at the new units I can see they have really gone fancy with the extrusions.
Now, I am not saying that Winnebago is the best coach, that is obviously just an opinion, but it might be the best true manufacturer.
My other choice that I considered was a late 90's American Coach. Those guys were building them right and I love me a Spartan Chassis with IFS, but for what I paid for my Vectra on a freightliner with air ride and air brakes and a fiberglass roof I could not go wrong. The little 12 valve cranks me down the road and gave me 11.2 on the way down to Fl from Indy last week and 10.5 on the way home with the genny running the AC and me running up to 75 mph a bit too often.
Just my personal .02