If You Have To Have One...1986 Vixen 21TD

Let me start by saying that I'm not the biggest fan of motorhomes. I work for a company that (among other things) tries to find sustainable solutions for end-of-life motorhomes, and it is not easy to say the least. Most motorhomes are extremely expensive when new, consume a lot of gas when driven, take up a lot of space when parked, and then depreciate like heck by the time you try to sell them. They are contrary to everything I believe a good passenger vehicle should do. They were an unfair deal to good but gullible folk of the 60s and 70s, when so many seemed to been made by GMC. Today, they are impossible to get rid of in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner.

Despite all that, I definitely admire the idea of seeing the country by road, so if you have the urge, COTC recommends this rare Vixen to do the job. By the 80s, an emphasis on aerodynamics, aesthetics and efficiency took widespread hold on the auto industry and eventually trickled down to recreational vehicles as well. The solution to those unsightly, bulbous and poorly made motorhomes of the 70s was the hi-tech and progressive Vixen of the 80s.

Even the name "Vixen" suggests a departure from other brands. Only 578 were built between 1986-1989. The sleek fiberglass body was designed by Bills Collins and stood at slightly over 6 feet tall so that it could fit in garages. The body was wind tunnel tested to create the smoothest and most aerodynamic shape possible, resulting in a drag coefficient of less than .30 on early models like this one.

Helping even more was a BMW-sourced 6-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine, most notably used in the E28 524td. It made the BMW the fastest diesel-powered passenger car of its day, and although the engine has several thousand pounds more to move with the Vixen, it still provides ample power while getting a remarkable 30 miles per gallon. Combined with a low center of gravity and wide stance, these were capable of speeds up to 100 miles per hour. Clearly, a lot of thought and engineering went into making this a "driver's RV" if there ever was one.

The seller of this example has owned it since 1993 and says it is a fully contained 21ft. long version. The roof tilts up to increase headroom to 6'6", so most adults can walk around standing. They also mention it has the Air Ride suspension for comfort and composure over the worst road surfaces.

If you have to have a motorhome but want the coolest one possible, this is it without question.

Available here on craigslist in Skagit, Washington for $23,000.

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