William "Bill" T. Collins, Jr. is an automotive engineer with 35 years experience at GM, Delorean and AMC.
Collins had been instrumental in the development of the GTO, Grand Am and 1977-B car at GM where he worked for twenty years. At the Pontiac Motor Division he rose to the position of Assisstant Chief Engineer. It was while he was working there that John DeLorean, a former vice president at GM, offered him a job designing and building a new kind of car. It was a position he accepted in 1974. Collins completed a lot of the initial design for the DeLorean DMC-12, but left the company when the design was turned over to Lotus, another car manufacturer. Eventually the DeLorean went into production at the DeLorean Motor Company in Northern Ireland. At Delorean, Collins had also participated in the company's early organization and directed the initial packaging; styling and engineering of the DMC stainless steel gull wing sports car.
In 1980, he conceived the idea of a new, fuel efficient, garageable motor home and co-founded VIXEN MOTOR CO. with associate Bob Dewey. The Vixen showcased an aerodynamic design that helped it to achieve 30 mpg during the time of a looming gas crises when prices were expected to skyrocket. The vehicle was low to the ground in order to fit inside of a standard garage. The Vixen received the Industrial Design Society of America's Industrial Design Excellence Award in 1986. It was the first time a vehicle other than an automobile had won the award. Design News magazine also awarded the Vixen 21 TD its "Excellence in Design" nomination. When the gasoline prices didn't rise as predicted, customers were less interested in purchasing a motor home with manual drive. After a second round of production, the plant closed in 1989. Although the Vixen was only on the market for a short time, the vehicles have retained much of their value.
Collins graduated from Lehigh with a BS in mechanical engineering in 1954.