Forget Winnebago, This Rare Blue Bird Wanderlodge Is the Retro RV You Want

These lavish motorhomes were favored by Johnny Cash and Muhammad Ali

A white and green 1969 Blue Bird Wanderlodge RV sitting on a bridge
If it looks like the coolest school bus ever, that's because it was made by a school bus company.
Ryan Merrill ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

It’s been over a decade since Wanderlodge motorhomes ceased production, so it’s no wonder the name fails to get a mention alongside RV legends like Winnebago and Airstream. But in the brand’s heyday, well-heeled men who preferred to travel in style (and on their own terms) sought out the lavish coaches, including Johnny Cash, Muhammad Ali, John Wayne and even King Hussein of Jordan, according to The New York Times.

You now have the opportunity to count yourself among those ranks, and take the retro road trip of a lifetime, as a rare 1969 Blue Bird Wanderlodge is currently up for auction at RM Sotheby’s, as pointed out by Ben Branch at Silodrome.

What makes the 1969 model rare? It’s partly the original circumstances of the build, partly the current condition. Only nine of these particular 35-foot-long, rear-engine Wanderlodges were built, and this one has a fun story; according to the listing, it was originally ordered by executives of Stroehmann Bakeries in Pennsylvania, but when shareholders learned of the excessive purchase they forced them to sell it. Since then, there have only been two other owners, one who road-tripped to the Daytona 500 annually and the most recent one who gave it some much-needed TLC.

The recent upgrades include a repaint in original colors and new tires, and other modern conveniences include Coleman HVAC units and an Onan generator. But the vintage styling is thankfully intact, with the unique layout featuring a twin dinette floor plan, two twin beds in the rear, a couch in the front that converts into a bunk bed, a kitchenette and a bathroom.

Speaking of unique floor plans, that was par for the course at Blue Bird, in part because they had a lot of space to work with; the company started as a school bus manufacturer and, looking for ways to diversify, began producing Wanderlodge RVs out of their bus platforms in the ‘60s. 

The driver's seat in a 1969 Blue Bird Wanderlodge RV
This could be your view for summer 2021.
Ryan Merrill ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Today, Blue Bird has gone back to focusing on their original product after spinning off the motorhome brand in the aughts only for it to shutter under the company that acquired it. So no, you can’t buy a brand new Wanderlodge in the year 2021 — which makes this retro model all the more enticing. 

While it’s estimated to hammer on May 26 for somewhere in the ballpark of $40,000 to $50,000, this ‘69 Wanderlodge is currently taking bids online and only up to $26,000 at the time of writing.

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