Vintage RV

Vintage RV – Roadside Relic: 1970’s “California” Commander Motorhome

The Commander motorhome company was based out of a suburb near Los Angeles, California.

1970's 'California' Commander
This 1970's 'California' Commander has reached the end of the road. — Photo courtesy Keith Powell

Long before Canadian RV manufacturer Triple E started to produce their line of Commander motorhomes (since discontinued), there was a popular Class A motorhome company called the Commander that was based out of a suburb near Los Angeles, California.

I call this one a “Roadside Relic” because it is clearly not in running condition, or if it is, it may take a little TLC to get this unit moving down the road again. I found it sitting along a busy highway, on a mobile home dealers lot in the Flathead Valley of Montana.

Evidently the "California" Commanders were built on a Dodge chassis and featured a 440 engine.

As a Commander sales brochure of the day stated, “An investment in a motorhome is plan of major proportions for most buyers. As a leading manufacturer of motorhomes, Commander sincerely believes that, dollar for dollar, there is not….an equivalent that offers the utmost in luxurious living, relaxation, dependability, and reliable service as does the Commander motorhome. Like any luxury home, the Commander is engineered for built-in convenience with an abundance of standard features seldom seen in a motorhome of this class. Choose from our Model 22 rear gaucho four plan or our Model 24 twin bed or rear gaucho.”

As one vintage RV enthusiast wrote on an online forum about his Commander find, “Our plans are to refresh everything while maintaining the 70's theme. We will re-do all the cushions in suede, but maintain the orange & brown 70's theme. The ultimate goal is to make this appear completely 70's inside and out, but have all modern creature comforts."

Can you add to the California Commander story? Share your classic RV restorations, or tell us your favourite story about a cool vintage unit you've encountered by filling out our Classic Vintage RV form.

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