Video: 2010 Sportsmobile 4x4 Van, 1986 Pace Arrow RV Compared
The Right and Wrong Way To RV Off-Road
The term "recreational vehicle" encompasses a broad array of vehicles, some of which are self-powered and some of which are towables. Fred Williams, host of "Dirt Every Day" takes a look at two extremes of the segment, a 2010 Ford E-350 Sportsmobile van and a 1986 Pace Arrow RV, powered by a 454 big block.
Sportsmobile owner Allen Feld brought along his personal vehicle, outfitted with almost every option in the book, plus a few extra custom features of his own. Feld explains the process of transformation from a stock Econoline to a Sportsmobile, with a complete replacement of the vehicles suspension, driveline, and brakes for heavier-duty components better suited to the rigors of off-roading. The Sportsmobile is available with everything from an outdoor grill to solar power system to a 12,000-pound Warn winch. Feld's vehicle is significant in that it's the last year that that E-Series was offered from the factory with a diesel engine option. Feld says depending on equipment and options, a Sportsmobile typically goes for $80,000-100,000.
Williams then shows Feld his RV, a 1986 Pace Arrow, which he proudly points out is equipped with a Chevy 454 big block V-8. Before Williams demonstrates the big brute's off-road capability, he insists Feld dons a gold-flake helmet. The Pace Arrow's size, weight and lack of four-wheel drive ultimately work against it as it gets bogged down in the sand, and Feld asks if he should get the Sportsmobile. Watch the humorous comparison below.