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VW RV January 27, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Vehicles.
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One of the Volkswagen MiniHomes.

Near the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Ariz., there’s a vintage Volkswagen Beetle that’s been converted into a motorhome. It’s been sitting off Route 66 for years.

I’d assumed the VW RV was some sort of one-off project by a local mechanic and that the vehicle was dubious in its road-worthiness.

However, in this post at CarDomain Blog, it turns out that the conversion kits were made by a company called Bugaroo and that Mechanix Illustrated showed you how to build one yourself.

You can still buy the plans here for $55. According to Robert Q. Riley Enterprises, which is selling the plans:

Despite its contradictory appearance, MiniHome is an amazing little vehicle. Due to its wide offset wheels, beefed up stabilizer bar, and rear overload shocks, it handles very much like the stock VW. And its overall design is one of the most clever packaging solutions around. Inside, it has all the appointments and facilities of a standard camper. Appliances and storage space are situated across the rear. The butane stove and stainless steel sink in the left rear corner mount to a single module that slides out the side so you can cook and wash either outdoors or inside. A 50-lb size icebox is located in the center rear, and a closet is located on the right. Turning the large swivel-base chairs 180 degrees (backs against the windshield) opens up the center so the modular lower bed can slide out of its hideaway compartment. The cabover section makes into a full-size bed by folding down a hinged extension.

Driving MiniHome is an addictive experience. Acceleration and cornering are much like the original VW. But one does have to negotiate a few trial turns in order to gain confidence in its roll stability. MiniHome is much more stable than it looks. After a few minutes behind the wheel, the pleasure of driving such a small vehicle, in comparison to other RVs, begins to take effect. MiniHome has the same nimble feel that Beetle owners have always enjoyed in their stock VWs. The only detriment is limited rear visibility, similar to that of many other RVs. Also, maximum speed is reduced about 10 mph, and fuel economy suffers slightly because of increased air resistance at highway speeds.

More vintage pictures of the completed VW RV can be seen here.

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