November 27, 2021

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Travel Finishes First

The Vixen 21 TD Is A Sports Car Wearing The Body Of An RV

4 min read

Illustration for article titled This Vixen 21 TD Is A Sports Car Wearing The Body Of An RV And It's For Sale

Photo: Facebook Marketplace (Other)

RVs often come with unimaginative designs that make them look like a brick rolling down a highway. This weird RV for sale on Facebook Marketplace was built to a different strategy in mind. The Vixen 21 TD is a streamlined home away from home that you can park in your garage.

The 1970s and 1980s were a fun period for recreational vehicles with countless manufacturers trying to build the future of camping. Fiberglass travel trailers promised lightweight designs while motorhomes used new technology to become streamlined works of art. One of the more popular entries from the era is the GMC Motorhome. GM hit it out of the park with a stylish RV chock full of innovations.

But Bill Collins, the designer of the DeLorean DMC-12, wasn’t going to let GM have all of the fun and designed his own innovative camper: the Vixen 21 TD.

Illustration for article titled This Vixen 21 TD Is A Sports Car Wearing The Body Of An RV And It's For Sale

Photo: Facebook Marketplace (Other)

The Vixen 21 TD is so out of the ordinary that it would be a weird RV today. Produced by Vixen Motor Company of Pontiac, Michigan, it featured a wide stance, low center of gravity and a low drag coefficient. I know what you’re thinking and yes, the Vixen 21 was actually given wind tunnel testing. How many RV manufacturers can claim that their rigs have been put into a wind tunnel?

Illustration for article titled This Vixen 21 TD Is A Sports Car Wearing The Body Of An RV And It's For Sale

Photo: Facebook Marketplace (Other)

Vixen claimed a coefficient of drag of under 0.30. It practically slips through the air compared to the typical RV.

Backing up its sporty looks is a rear-mounted inline-six turbodiesel sourced from BMW. This engine was good for 115 horsepower and it is bolted to a five-speed manual.

Illustration for article titled This Vixen 21 TD Is A Sports Car Wearing The Body Of An RV And It's For Sale

Photo: Facebook Marketplace (Other)

This setup meant that the RV could hit 100 mph or get up to 30 mpg. Remember, the Vixen comes from a time when large vehicles like these were lucky to break 10 mpg, let alone do the kind of fuel economy that would be considered decent even today. Part of it is the body, built from lightweight molded fiberglass.

Illustration for article titled This Vixen 21 TD Is A Sports Car Wearing The Body Of An RV And It's For Sale

Photo: Facebook Marketplace (Other)

The whole thing came in at a featherweight curb weight of 5,100 pounds. Make no mistake, these were basically sports cars dressed up as RVs.

The first production Vixen 21 TD even hit 108.9 mph in Blytheville, Arkansas, in 2015.

One additional benefit of the Vixen 21 TD is its length. At 21 feet long and 7 feet tall, it would be able to fit into many garages. You may think that a total height of 7 feet doesn’t make for a great standing room and you’d be right. So one feature of the RV was the fact that it could expand its own roof with the touch of a button.

Illustration for article titled This Vixen 21 TD Is A Sports Car Wearing The Body Of An RV And It's For Sale

Photo: Facebook Marketplace (Other)

Collins quest to produce a driver’s motorhome was a success. The Vixen 21 TD reportedly drove better than other RVs of its day and probably beat lots of today’s RVs, too. But there was a problem.

While the Vixen 21 TD was the perfect RV for drivers, it never carved out the niche it Collins wanted it to. While Vixen found praise from reviewers and RVers alike, not many people put down the $40,000 to $53,000 ($98,200 to $130,150 in today’s money) for the privilege to own one.

Illustration for article titled This Vixen 21 TD Is A Sports Car Wearing The Body Of An RV And It's For Sale

Photo: Facebook Marketplace (Other)

Vixen Motor Company tried to draw in more buyers with a version with a fixed high roof and a 3.8-liter GM V6 called the SE. It also tried an extended-length version with more seating for limo use called the XC. Sadly, these efforts didn’t really work and a total of 587 Vixens were created before Vixen Motor Company itself shuttered.

This 1987 Vixen 21 TD is unit 366 of that 587 and it appears to be in fantastic shape.

Illustration for article titled This Vixen 21 TD Is A Sports Car Wearing The Body Of An RV And It's For Sale

Photo: Facebook Marketplace (Other)

The owner says that the body is restored with cracks removed and the body reinforced. The body is said to be free of leaks and it was painted in 2018 in BMW Alpine White. The mechanical work done to it is too much to list but includes new throwout bearings, axle shafts, seals, alternator, ground straps and so much more.

A few modifications are noted like the deletion of the RV’s clearance lights, deleted airbags, a modified door card and a rebuilt cockpit ceiling. And of course, nothing this old is going to be perfect, even with the crazy amount of work put into it. The driver door needs a new seal and the driver side door window leaks a little. But it’s amazing that the list of faults is so small.

Illustration for article titled This Vixen 21 TD Is A Sports Car Wearing The Body Of An RV And It's For Sale

Photo: Facebook Marketplace (Other)

Part of what makes this amazing is that even though the Vixen 21 TD is fast and lightweight, it still has everything you need for a road trip. There’s a full bed in back, a kitchen and even a bathroom.

Illustration for article titled This Vixen 21 TD Is A Sports Car Wearing The Body Of An RV And It's For Sale

Photo: Facebook Marketplace (Other)

These rare beasts are kept on the road today by a newer company called Vixen Motorcoach and Vixen’s enthusiastic fans, so some support exists for it. So go ahead, pick this thing up and enjoy your next road trip in not just any RV, but a driver’s RV.

The price for this rare piece of RV history is also pretty reasonable. It’s $24,000 on Facebook Marketplace out of McDade, Texas.

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