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2019 June
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Car and Driver: She’s a Real Vixen: The Only Manual-Transmission, BMW-Diesel-Powered Motor Home You’ll Ever Need

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-Low-slung. Sleek. Wind-tunnel-honed aerodynamics. A BMW inline-six. Five-speed manual transmission. A real driver’s vehicle. No, we’re not talking about a BMW Z3 M coupe, or anything actually made by BMW at all. We’re talking about a Vixen motor home, one of those strange, compact RVs produced in Pontiac, Michigan, from 1986 to 1989, one of which is currently for bids on eBay Motors, which we discovered while trolling Bring a Trailer.


“Be prepared for the attention you will get,” cautions the seller, who’s parting with the 21-foot-long, 6-foot-4-inch-tall shoebox—small enough to be squeezed into some home garages—because it’s too small for long-haul excursions. Only 587 Vixens were ever produced, and early ones like this 77,000-mile 1986 21D featured a rear-mounted 115-hp BMW turbo-diesel inline-six, a five-speed Renault-sourced manual transmission, a steel frame, a fiberglass body, GM van front suspension parts, and taillamps from a Pontiac 1000.




The seller says that this one remains “99% stock” and in “8.5 out of 10” condition in most respects. Part of the 1% that is not stock are its BMW roundels, which didn’t come standard “but seem to have been added to most,” says the seller. We regret not being able to provide poster-size images of the beauteous thing; for more photos, we refer you to the listing on eBay Motors.




We actually road-tested a nearly identical Vixen 21D—sans the BMW roundels—in 1986 and noted epic body lean, a patience-testing 0-to-60-mph time of a 21.8 seconds, and a top speed of 100 mph for the 5880-pound rolling condominium. Vixen claimed it could achieve 31 mpg, although we observed 20 mpg . . . because we’re us. Still, slow and tippy as it was, the Vixen’s driving dynamics were supreme among RVs.


With bids hovering at a bit over $16K as of this writing, reserve had not yet been met, but according to a sign in the back window, the price had been set at $33,000 before. Don’t forget to read the fine print—seriously, the guy has written his own, most of which boils down to “don’t waste my time with anything but cash because I have something special.” We would have to agree.


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