Rialta Heaven Inc., a small outfit in the northern Indiana community of Milford, is marketing used Winnebago Rialta Class C motorhomes, last built by the Forest City, Iowa, manufacturer in 2005, on a limited national basis as “Earth Friendly RVs” because of their high fuel mileage and wind-cutting aerodynamics.
“Over the last two years, we’ve sold about 200 of them,” said Karen Rowland, co-owner and sales manager. “We find them all over the country”
Built on the 7,275-pound GVWR Volkswagen extended Eurovan cutaway chassis with a 6-cylinder Volkswagen gas engine that in the later years of production were rated at 201-hp, the sleek, low-profile Rialta today would be considered a “B-plus” style motorhome due to the lack of a cabover compartment. Typically, 22-foot Rialtas get 18-21 mpg, Rowland said.
Winnebago built about 8,000 Rialtas from 1994 to 2005; Volkswagen quit building the chassis in 2003.
Like others in the RV industry, however, Rialta Heaven, located in a former used-car lot on Ind. 15, has experienced a downturn since late last year. ”This time last year, we were selling half-a-dozen a month,” Rowland said. ”Since September, times have been tough.”
Depending on mileage — usually with fewer than 50,000 miles on the odometer — prices typically range from $22,000 to $50,000. Currently, the company has five Rialta’s and a Winnebago Vista, a true Class C built on the Eurovan chassis with a cabover sleeping compartment.
“Rialtas are very popular,” Rowland said. “Once people get to know them, they find the Rialta is small and easy to drive. And they are totally self-contained — bigger than a van but smaller than a bus.”