The world of recreational vehicles is full of wild ideas that take mundane motorhomes and blend them into creations that boggle the mind. The CAMI Terra Wind combines an RV with a yacht. And it has an on-board Jacuzzi.
I love vehicles that take two completely different forms of transportation and meshes them together. Sadly, since there aren’t motorhomes that fly, this generally means finding road vehicles that also try to be watercraft. Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International (CAMI) has been building a whole fleet of amphibious vehicles for over two decades. In a lineup that includes an amphibious sports car and an amphibious search and rescue vehicle, the Terra Wind RV stands out as one of the most ambitious.
The unique CAMI vehicles are the work of the company’s founders, John and Julie Giljam. Together, the pair started their enterprise in 1998 by offering personal watercraft rentals from a LARC-V amphibious military vehicle, WTOC 11 reports.
But it didn’t take long until they realized it was better to take people on amphibious vehicle rides than to rent personal watercrafts. The Giljams sold off their rental equipment and opened Cool Stuff Tours. At the heart of their new tour venture was the Hydra-Terra, a 49-passenger amphibious bus designed by John that managed to capture sales from all over the world.
They could have stopped there, but the pair had even greater ambitions. Next, they wanted to make an RV and yacht all in one, the Terra Wind.
This substantial Class-A RV was the subject of a number of news stories almost two decades ago, then it seemingly disappeared. According to CAMI’s catalogue, you can still order the things as of 2019.
The Terra Wind measures in at 42.5 feet long, 102 inches wide and has a GVWR of 33,000 pounds. To put that GVWR into perspective, the maximum loaded weight of a Terra Wind is heavier than a school bus, but lighter than a transit bus.
Loaded low in the Terra Wind’s custom-built aluminum hull is a Caterpillar 3126E 330-HP turbodiesel putting down power to the rear wheels or two 19-inch bronze propellers through a power take off. All of the Terra Wind’s mechanical bits are mounted own low to give the vehicle a low center of gravity to reduce the chance of rolling it.
The RV is said to have a top speed of about 80 mph on land and eight knots on water. Car And Driver tested the Terra Wind and got it to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 45 seconds. And sure, eight knots is a slow 9 mph, but that’s about the speed of a large yacht, anyway.
However, unlike a large yacht, the Terra Wind shouldn’t be taken out onto open water. The Terra Wind has a shallow 3.5-foot draft and inflatable pontoons to add stability. This makes the Terra Wind able to handle up to four-foot waves and up to 40 mph winds.
CAMI recommends only using the vehicle in lakes and rivers. The company says that the exterior is waterproof, so should things go sideways the interior should remain dry. It also has onboard pumps in case it starts taking on water.
A large swim deck hangs off of the back of the Terra Wind. Not only does this edge the RV a bit closer to being a yacht, but it functions as a dock for personal watercraft, too.
Part of Julie’s hand in the design is the interior, which is advertised as offering endless customization and floorplan possibilities.
The demonstrator Terra Wind was done up like a yacht, featuring marble tile floors, teak cabinets, leather upholstery and granite countertops. There’s even a Jacuzzi onboard. All of your normal RV equipment is also present from the kitchen to the queen-size bed in the master bedroom.
Up front, the driver gets a dashboard with all sorts of switches.
Alright, so this thing is a wonder that can travel the country by road and sail on a river. What’s the catch? The Terra Wind starts at $850,000. To get one like the demonstrator would cost about $1.2 million. Regular giant Class-A RVs can cost this or more, so I’d say the price is almost a deal.
Yet, I’ve not been able to find any examples out there aside from the demonstrator.
A USA Today article from 2017 notes that the Giljams have had trouble finding buyers for the vehicle, but had been getting interest from potential buyers. In 2020, they released their newest creation, the Amphiskiff. I’ve reached out to CAMI in hopes of finding out how many Terra Winds are out on the roads.