Robert Q. Riley Enterprises: Product Design & Development

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PM's Phoenix Van closed up for traveling

PM's Phoenix Van expanded for camping and sleeping

on Cover
Hot VWs magazine with Phoenix Van on cover

Mechanix Illustrated's Renegade was Phoenix with a facelift.

MI's Renegade. Article gives overall dimensions

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Robert Q Riley Enterprises

Phoenix Van

A VW-Based Van That Expands Tent-Trailer Style

Featured in Popular Mechanics Magazine
and in the Movie "Total Recall

Plans include 11 large drawings and a photo-illustrated book.  Price - $85
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   One would hardly guess that Phoenix was designed and built nearly 20 years ago, long before downsized vans were fashionable. Closed up for driving, Phoenix has the sleek look of a modern sports van. Its low frontal area coupled to a curb weight of 2,000 pounds makes it a low-rolling-resistance featherweight by today's standards.  The original Campmobile tipped the scales at about 3200 pounds, and the other VW vans weighed 2500 - 2800 pounds.  That, along with its VW van chassis, translates into 25-mpg+ highway fuel economy, nimble handling, and lively acceleration. 

        Nitrogen-cylinder-assisted gull-wing doors provide easy entrance into the low-profile cab. Two bucket seats in front allow central walk-through space into the rear. The rear is set up with bench seats along each side. Each bench seat has a lift-up top so food, clothes, and other bring-alongs can be stored underneath. Storage area totals about 14 cubic feet per side.

         Phoenix expands like a tent-trailer into a large room with stand-up height in the center for a six-foot adult. With the camper expanded, the section along each side that normally forms the back of the bench seat now extends out horizontally to become part of the bed (one bed along each side). Each bed measures 72 x 59 inches. Overall, the unit measures 12 feet wide across the bed area when expanded. The seat area is covered with three-inch-thick foam padding, which then serves as a built-in mattress when the camper is expanded.

           Appliances are located across the rear, above the engine cover. The rendering in the Mechanix Illustrated piece (to the left) shows the layout.  A sink is on the right, a mirror-faced ice box is in the center, and a two-burner propane stove is on the left side. The stove uses disposable cylinders, which are the only kind legal in the absence of a power-vented stove hood.  A vented stove hood, however, could be installed because the stove is located under a fixed region of the body.  A 9-gallon plastic water tank is located under the ice box.

          Plans for building Phoenix were originally introduced under the Popular Mechanics logo.  Hot VWs also ran Phoenix on the cover.  Later on, it was given a facelift and introduced as Mechanix Illustrated's Renegade.  Changes were mostly cosmetic.   Pictures of both models are shown in the left margin.  Notice the slight difference in the side-windows and the addition of foam-filled front and rear bumpers on Renegade.   The side-strip is an automotive trim-shop item.  We also installed an aftermarket RV cooler on top which ended up giving the van a more modern look. 

        Driving either model is a dream.  The fiberglass/foam sandwich body provides lots of sound-deadening and gives the vehicle a solid feel. 

 Order Phoenix Plans - $85


To Order Plans

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  • Online:   Click on Order Phoenix Plans to access the online Order Form.
  • Mail:  Use the online Order Form to make your product and destination selections. The Order Form will automatically calculate shipping charges and provide a total amount.  Print the Order Form, then mail it to us along with your check, money order, or credit card information. (Outside the U.S., please make payment in U.S. funds using a credit card or International Money Order.)
  • Order by Phone:  Weekdays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm MST:   480-685-3225.

            - Shipments to U.S. destinations go by First Class or Priority Mail (depending on weight).
              - Shipments to destinations outside the U.S. go by mail: "Airmail, Letter-Post."
              - Arizona residents, add 10.2% sales tax.

Robert Q. Riley Enterprises, LLC.
P.O. Box 14465
Phoenix, AZ 85063
Phone: 480-685-3225

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Robert Q. Riley Enterprises: Product Design & Development
Copyright Robert Q. Riley Enterprises, LLC.
P.O. Box 14465, Phoenix, AZ 85063-4465
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