I love Rabbit Pickups, and they’ve experienced a bit of a renaissance here in the Bay Area with more and more moseying by on the road. Perhaps the newly-rich hipsters are realizing how cool they are and plucking them from around the country. Demand has risen to the point where some jokers think a diesel and a crappy respray can demand $15k, but it seems like the ridiculous prices may just be encouraging other silly sellers as opposed to truly elevating prices. This one doesn’t have an extensive history but it does have some nice parts, namely a 1.9-liter turbodiesel upgrade and some large, late-model VW wheels.
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The Westfalia market is all over the place right now, with top values staying remarkably strong as they stand strong as one of the best campers ever made. On the other end of the spectrum, we have examples like this brown survivor. A life on the East Coast has caused some minor decay, but the seller, a serial-VW owner, has taken care of many issues and replaced the engine with a later-model 2.1 a while back. It’s far from a perfect example, but it is functional and could be a solid project for a VW enthusiast. For under $8k, this is about as inexpensive an entry into Westylife as you’ll find.
Click for details: 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia on eBay
I’m obviously a big fan of the B5/5.5 Volkswagen Passat Variant, having now owned two. They’re fun to drive, have remarkable ride quality and a near-luxury feel, and are hugely capable carriers. Notably, one time I got an entire Ikea kitchen inside the rear of the my 1999 – aside from too-soft springs for really heavy loads, the 5-doors have shrugged off every single crazy task I’ve thrown at them and though parts can be a bit expensive they’ve been very dependable. But there is one thing that really flummoxes my Passat of choice, the 1.8T. Put a few people in it, turn the outside heat up above 90 with high humidity and crank the air conditioning, and the turbocharged inline-4 can barely get out of its own way. The lag, which in most other situations is barely noticeable, suddenly becomes laughable – especially if there are any hills involved. Of course, in the Passat, you had several options for engines which had more power than the 1.8T out of the box; the 2.8 30V V6 wasn’t a bad option, but if you wanted all-wheel drive, too, then you could only get an automatic. But move up to the 270 horsepower 4 liter W8, and you could select a 6-speed manual mated to the 4Motion drivetrain in Variant wagon form. That was something that only 95 people did from 2003 to 2004, making these Passats highly sought “unicorns” for some VW faithful:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion Variant on eBay
The license plate on the Vanagon is “STLMOVN,” an apt tag after 200k miles. Perhaps it also refers to its aged owners, who clearly have a sense of adventure but are passing on their great camper. Despite the higher mileage, the van looks extremely well cared for, with the seats having been covered, the exterior shining like new thanks to living in a garage, and a newer engine (though it’s unclear if that means rebuilt or fully new). It’s too bad “AC is not working” is the a main description line, because the more important news is that all of the appliances are like new. Something – perhaps the higher mileage? – seems to be scaring bidders away from the $14k starting point, but I think this is a very attractive Westy.
Click for details: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia on eBay
The year was 1987 and my father was entering his mid-life crisis, so of course, it was time for a new car. We headed to the Volkswagen showroom. As a young kid, I was enamored by the Vanagon Westfalia camper on the floor, along with the sleep Scirocco 16V. But we were there for something a bit more sensible and for a car that even some VW enthusiasts might forget: the Golf GT. This model was short lived and was essentially a “GTI light,” with the basic 1.8 liter engine coupled to a Golf with 14″ alloys, unique exterior and interior trim and an automatic gearbox, which was yet to be offered on the GTI. You could also spec a GT as a five-door, which wasn’t an option for US GTI customers. This 1987 GT 5-door for sale in Minnesota brings back a lot of memories for me, as it is in the same hue of Tornado Red as my father’s 1987 GT 3-door.