Chinook has a rich history that spans several decades, earning its reputation as a top name in the motorhome industry since its inception as Mair & Son, Inc. in 1938. But it wasn't until the early 1950s that mass-produced motorhomes started hitting the open road, solidifying Chinook's position as an innovative leader in the industry. Fast forward to 1966, and Chinook once again showcased its pioneering spirit with the introduction of the revolutionary Chinook 1400. Incorporating cutting-edge fiberglass technology, Chinook became one of the first companies to create sleek and aerodynamic motorhome designs, instantly making it one of the most coveted brands out there.
Inspired by the success of the 1400, Chinook expanded its use of fiberglass in the construction process. In 1971, they unveiled the world's first one-piece, all-fiberglass shell for the Chinook Mobilodge's 2500 Vista and 2500 Brougham motorhomes. This sleek and streamlined body style sent shockwaves throughout the entire RV industry, causing customers to trade in their boxy gas guzzlers for these exquisite, aerodynamically-designed masterpieces. However, adversity struck in the form of an economic downturn and a fuel crisis in the following years, which had a temporary impact on Chinook's 2200 and 2500 models. But true to their resilient spirit, Chinook weathered the storm, thanks to the perseverance of Gary Lukehart, the man behind the brand. He steered the company through these challenging times by shifting their focus to the Class B and B+ style motorhomes, crafting them in California and Washington state.
Throughout the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, Chinook continued to produce a range of exceptional models, including the Concourse, Premier, Destiny, Maverick, Summit, and the Glacier. As the unrivaled forerunner in innovation, Chinook emerged as the supreme motorhome brand in the nation, winning accolades and admiration along the way. In fact, in 2004, the Chinook Baja swept the Pirelli Sportsmanship Award, the Dalton Class of the Rally, and achieved an impressive five perfect scores in a single timed speed-distance event. However, even great legacies face challenges. The Great Recession of 2008 hit hard, forcing Chinook RV to halt production in 2005 and subsequently close its doors the following year. It seemed like the end of an era. But fate had a different plan in store. In 2013, a glimmer of hope emerged when Phil Rizzio, the owner of multiple prominent U.S. dealerships, acquired Chinook RV from its former owner, Gary Lukehart. Determined to breathe new life into the brand, Rizzio vowed to uphold Chinook's original core values and focus on quality over quantity, ensuring that Chinook would never become a volume-based manufacturer.
Under new leadership, Chinook embarked upon a quest to find a new home. Partnering with a company called Country Coach in Eugene, Oregon, they unveiled their first prototype, the breathtaking Chinook Glacier. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, this partnership was unfortunately short-lived as Country Coach was acquired by a larger RV manufacturer, compelling Phil Rizzio to seek new manufacturing space. In 2018, an opportunity presented itself when the owners of Riverside Travel Trailer in Peru, Indiana announced their intention to sell. Phil saw this as the perfect chance to provide Chinook with a fresh start, acquiring over 20 acres of property and two massive manufacturing buildings spanning 200,000 square feet. The acquisition was completed in 2019, and Phil wasted no time working tirelessly to bring the facilities up to his exacting standards. However, the progress faced a temporary setback due to the global pandemic in 2020, causing a delay in the highly anticipated relaunch of Chinook RV.
Then, in March of 2021, after years of unwavering dedication and hard work, Chinook RV proudly introduced the all-new Summit B+: a remarkable motorhome built on the Mercedes-Benz Chassis and certified as the First 4-Seasons motorhome. That same year, Chinook delighted enthusiasts with the release of the Bayside Class B conversion van, boasting all-wheel-drive and built on the reliable Ford Transit platform. As the prototype stage drew to a close, production lines were established for each model. In one building, the Class B motorhomes took shape, while the B+ models were crafted in the other. These state-of-the-art facilities were tailored and retooled to ensure the highest quality motorhomes. During this phase, Chinook unveiled the highly anticipated sister product to the Summit, aptly named the Maverick. This astonishing vehicle, built on the all-wheel-drive Ford Transit platform, quickly earned its status as a 4-Seasons certified motorhome.
Continuing to push boundaries and lead with innovation, Chinook recently partnered with Expion 360 to design and develop complete off-grid capable all-electric lithium battery-powered motorhomes. Branded as the 360 units, they include the Summit 360, Maverick 360, and Bayside 360. These extraordinary motorhomes not only boast unparalleled simplicity and convenience for customers but also uphold Chinook's unwavering commitment to the highest standards of RV construction. With a heritage built on trailblazing spirit and a commitment to excellence, Chinook RV stands as a testament to resilience, innovation, and a passion for creating the most extraordinary motorhomes on the road today. The legend continues, as Chinook RV ushers in a new era of adventure and luxury for all wanderers seeking the pinnacle of motorhome experiences.