Motorhome built on a VW Beetle Chassis With Sleeping and Camping for FourThis cleverly designed mini-home has compact motorhome-style facilities for four. It was featured on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated magazine.
Now available for Instant Download!Digital plans include ten 17 x 22 inch digital drawings, a 17-page booklet in PDF format, and a 3D model in Rhinoceros.
My first encounter with MiniHome was on a Los Angeles freeway where we passed each other heading in opposite directions. I immediately took chase. Nobody could pass a motorhome with a VW Beetle protruding from its front without finding out the details. As it turned out, these VW-based mini-motor homes were being custom-manufactured by a small shop in Irvine, California. The name for the vehicle was Lil Bugger, Bugger being a derivative of Bug for the VW Bug. It seemed innocent enough to me. After driving one, I negotiated with the owner for the rights to publish plans under the Mechanix Illustrated logo. Fast forward to a conversation with Bob Beason, MI’s Editor. He liked the idea, but there was no way it would be pubished with their logo on the plans while having a name like that. Within a few months the little motor home was on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated magazine as MI’s MiniHome. But underneath that innocent-looking decal across the cab-over still lies the offending name that almost killed a very interesting set of 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 located 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 cab-over section makes into another 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 a feel much like that of the original Beetle. The only detriment is limited rear visibility, like many other RVs. That’s the reason for the large outside mirrors. Also, maximum speed is reduced about 10 mph, and fuel economy suffers slightly because of increased air resistance at highway speeds. Otherwise, you’ll think you’re driving a VW Beetle.
MiniHome is built like any other camper using 1 x 2 structural members covered with paneling on the inside and conventional corrugated skin on the outside. Click on the image of the rendering in the left margin to see an exploded view showing details of MiniHome’s construction and layout. Construction costs will run about $2000, plus the cost of the VW. Plans have complete instructions.