Ending Soon – What We’re Watching

Ending Soon – What We’re Watching

I’ve got my eye on another interesting and diverse set of affordable no reserve auctions this week. Take a look and feel free to chime in where you think cars will end! Let’s get things rolling with this BMW E28 with only a few hours remaining:

Click for Details: 1987 BMW 535is

This 1987 BMW 535is is definitely on the driver-quality side rather than a show piece; but all the important bones are there and the rust-free claim is worth its weight in 1980s Bavarian metal, anyway. Overall, though there are some obvious needs, for a 200,000 mile car it looks reasonably tidy and so far bidding is only at $2,500.

Click for Details: 2002 Volkswagen Jetta TDi Wagon

In an era of Volkswagen production that saw a sharp upswing in quality and performance, who would have guessed that the second most desirable model in the used market (outside of the R, obviously) is a Jetta Wagon with the diesel motor? Unlike its bigger brother Passat TDi Variant, the Jetta could be had with a 5-speed manual and they’ve developed a cult following. This one ticks the right boxes with lower miles, what appears to be good condition and the ALH/5-speed manual combination in a wagon, so bids are nearly at $7,000 with a few hours to go on the no reserve auction.

Click for Details: 1997 BMW M3 Sedan

After yesterday’s polarizing M3 Lightweight, we’re back to normal series production (and lower prices) with this still desirable M3 Sedan. In -3/4/5 configuration, these have quickly become the preferred weapon of choice for the practical E36 lover. In Artic Silver with Dove interior, this one isn’t stock, but with under 100,000 miles and in good condition, it looks like a solid investment at under $9,000 at time of writing.

Click for Details: 2000 Audi S4

An interesting, and more potent, counterpoint to the M3/4/5 is the Audi S4.…

1991 Volkswagen Golf Country Chrome Edition

1991 Volkswagen Golf Country Chrome Edition

Though it was never available in the U.S. until this coming model year, all-wheel drive in a standard Golf is nothing new. In fact, it’s been around since 1986.

If you follow me around the internet, and I don’t expect you to, you might have caught my article for The Truth About Cars about all-wheel drive Golfs which predated the R32. Though the idea sounds simple enough since parent company Audi had an all-wheel drive system that was ever so popular, mounting that longitudinal transmission and drivetrain into the transverse engine Golf was impossible. Instead, Volkswagen contracted Steyr-Daimler-Puch to design a viscous coupling setup for the Golf with a new independent suspended rear. Like the contemporary Quantum and Vanagon setups, it was dubbed “Syncro”, though outside of all-wheels being driven the three systems shared almost nothing.

The result was a few fan-favorite models. Performance types love the Quattro-inspired Golf Rallye, Golf G60 Syncro and Golf Limited models. But undoubtedly the most recognizable Golf to wear the Syncro badge was the jacked-up Golf Country. Utilizing an already heavily modified Golf Syncro, Daimler-Steyr-Puch installed some 438 unique pieces to create the light offroading Golf way before the Outback was conquered by Subaru:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen Golf Country Chrome Edition on eBay

1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro

1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro

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As Syncro Westies become the Holy Grail of campervans, a lot of the ones for sale are all kinds of crazy. Crazy colors, crazy upgrades, and crazy values have characterized the auctions, but today we have a 4WD pop-top Vanagon that flies under the radar in all the right ways. It’s in great condition inside and out, including a repaint last year, but the color brown over tan with black steelies keeps its true value hidden from all except those who can pick out the subtle “4WD” emblems on the front doors. It’s had a recent full tuneup, GoWesty exhaust, cat, and bumpers installed, and all new rubber seals and pop-top canvas. BFGoodrich All-Terrains complete the subtle but eminently capable package. The unknown mileage will raise some questions, but if you know what brown can do for you this no-reserve auction is a great chance at a Syncro Westy that doesn’t break the bank.

Click for details: 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro on eBay

1989 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro “Jagdwagen”

1989 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro “Jagdwagen”

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Here’s an interesting dive into Volkswagen T3 history. We’ve seen special camping editions and even Tristar DoKas, but this green monster came with a special options list Volkswagen deemed the “Jagdwagen” (“Hunter”) package. It was never released as a real model, but reportedly 12 were made in this spec, which includes a full exterior cage, winch, spot light, gun rack and side gun drawer and rear bucket seats. The Jagdwagen options commanded an extra ~$11k over the already-pricey DoKa Syncro.

This example is one of a reported four in North America and features a TDI engine from a MkIV Jetta. Besides a few exterior scuffs, it looks to be in good shape and has received some attention like new bumpers to keep it looking spiffy.

Click for details: 1989 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro Jagdwagen on eBay

1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro Hightop

1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro Hightop

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Following in yesterday’s rough-but-affordable Vanagon Syncro footsteps, we have an interesting DIY-Syncro Camper with a no-reserve auction. It started as a tinop Vanagon GL Syncro but has experienced many surgeries – cosmetic, mechanical, electrical – to make it a much more versatile and reliable van. The Subaru 2.2 is good for speed, the hightop is nice for headroom (there’s no bed in this one) and the Westy kitchen is a huge camping bonus, but what really catches my eye is all of the little aftermarket touches the seller has installed to make this van much less of a headache down the road. GoWesty relays, circuit boards, stainless lines and coolant pipes… these are details that increase confidence that this is a solid Vanagon bet. There are also plenty of less-consequential but still cool pieces coming with it, like insulated curtains, van shower, bike racks, awning, and good-looking Audi 5000 wheels. It shows some exterior blemishes, but nothing bad; they’re like an old climber’s sunspots on his nose and cheeks. This thing was built for adventure and reconstructed for even bigger ones.

Click for details: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro Hightop on eBay

1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro Tintop

1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro Tintop

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The seller of this van affectionately calls it “Big Ugly” after 15 years of rough and tumble ownership. There’s plenty of blemishes and rusty seams to make it not just a clever name, but if you’re not too worried about aesthetics this van has a lot going for it. A Westy kitchenette is installed and fully functional and it runs well. He says it needs a few coolant hoses and possibly other things he doesn’t know about, but if you purchase Big Ugly at the Buy It Now of $12,350 he’ll take it in and get them done along with up to $2k of any other repairs. Bidding is currently closer to $5k right now, so maybe some haggling needs to be done on the phone. Anywhere in that range, it’s a lot cheaper than 95% of the Syncro vans you see.

Click for details: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro on eBay

1986 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro

1986 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro

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It’s been a while since we’ve featured a crazy low-mile imported 4WD Volkswagen from whoever these folks in Avenel, NJ are that keep bringing these insane examples stateside. Whether it’s Golf Countrys or DoKa Syncros, they have the least traveled and most original forbidden fruit. Today is no exception, with another blue DoKa Syncro with a completely enclosed metal bed cover. Big white steelies complement a the white lower half and contrast the all-business black roof and steel bumpers. It looks brand new because it almost is, with just 15k original miles on the clock (or rather, 24km). It’s as good as they come and is bringing a lot of bidders to play, though still only in the teens as I write this.

Click for details: 1986 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro on eBay

1990 Volkswagen T4 Syncro Diesel

1990 Volkswagen T4 Syncro Diesel

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Our love of the T3 Vanagon Syncro has taken up significant blog space here, but sightings of T4s – called Eurovans, Transporters, or Caravelles – with Syncro are exceedingly rare. The only one I’d seen before this was an Executive Package Caravelle boasting private jet-like seating and lots of leather. Today’s T4 Transporter occupies the other end of the spectrum, with a stripped rear interior and metal separation wall behind the two front seats. Judging by the seller’s offer to install a refrigeration unit in the back for $7k, I’m going to guess that at some point it was used for cold transport. The lack of amenities are made up for by options never available in the US: panel sides, 4WD, and diesel power. I don’t need any “REEFER” capabilities (as the seller refers to it) installed, but I see a lot of potential for a go-anywhere camper with great privacy!

Click for details: 1990 Volkswagen T4 Syncro Diesel on eBay

Now Legal for Import: 1990 Volkswagen Rallye Golf

Now Legal for Import: 1990 Volkswagen Rallye Golf

Continuing with a theme I touched upon last week, I’m going to take a look at a few cars this week which are now legal for importation to the United States. It’s hard to believe more than 25 years have already passed since 1990, but that opens up a whole new portfolio of vehicles that weren’t certified by the US Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency for US sale. The Volkswagen Rallye Golf almost made it to market in the US, but sadly, an executive at Volkswagen of America trumpeting this vehicle’s cause perished in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing. With that, yet another homologation special slipped away from the grasp of the US consumer. This Rallye Golf for sale just a bit north of Stuttgart, Germany is one for the serious VW collector, having covered just over the equivalent of 20,000 miles. This is also one of the few I’ve seen with the rather tasty partial leather interior, featuring a variation on the GTI plaid in the seat inserts.

Click for details: 1990 Volkswagen Rallye Golf on Mobile.de

1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

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As I fantasized the other week about rocking a Golf Country into the mountains, I didn’t really account for the limiting factors of a lifted hatchback. Yes, it can probably get you and a couple of friends over and through just about anything, but what about your stuff? Or your other friends? Hatchbacks are certainly known for utility, but when you start talking sleds, camp stoves, extra clothes, and maybe more than 4 people, you’re either going to have the biggest roof rack known to man or have to look at a bigger automobile.

Back, then, to most popular Syncro, the Vanagon! This isn’t a Westy, just a tintop, of which we’ve seen some decent examples before. An all-wheel drive tin box that can carry 7 comfortably, and this one has a burly cargo rack on top that can gather any and all snow toys you need. It’s not as fancy as some nor does it have the pop-top, but that cuts the price by over half. It’s not as immaculate as the Golf Country, with some general interior wear and a rebuilt engine and transmission a few years ago, but it looks pretty nice for 220k miles and sports some quality upgrades like Emu shocks and disc brakes. There’s plenty to do to make it cleaner and personalized, but it’s a great start on a van that could take winter adventures to the next level.

Click for details: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro on eBay

1990 Volkswagen Golf Country

1990 Volkswagen Golf Country

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As the 25-year importation rule ticks on, unleashing cool new (to us) cars each year, somehow the Golf Country never really crossed my mind as one to wait for. Now that this New Jersey outfit is bringing them in with some regularity, the reality has me fully enticed. El Niño has blessed the PNW with some snow and trips to the mountains are starting to be planned. Taking the M5 up there sounds fun (especially now that he wears mudflaps) but is clearly a bad idea. So I could borrow the household Forester XT to slide through all conditions, but what if I had a Mk2 VW that was just as capable? If these low-mileage Golf Countrys keep coming up on eBay, I might have to clear out yet another parking spot in the driveway for some AWD lifted hatchback fun.

Click for details: 1990 Volkswagen Golf Country on eBay

1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

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We’ve featured a few Tintop Syncros here before, and they present an interesting alternative to the more commonly seen (and voraciously desired) Syncro Westy. They lack the pop-top and its attendant hipness, height advantages, and sleeping space, but cut a slick line accentuating the box-on-wheels. The Syncro helps this out, lifting it up like the control cabin of an AT-AT in The Empire Strikes Back. Everything looks to be in order on this 95k-mile example, especially with new wheels, bumpers, and awning. It may be the 7-seat arrangement, making camper conversion a little more involved, but it could also serve as the coolest mountain shuttle out there.

Click for details: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro on eBay

2000 Volkswagen Caravelle TDI Syncro

2000 Volkswagen Caravelle TDI Syncro

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If you’ve visited our site in the last year, chances are you’ve seen me go off about wanting some form of T3 Syncro, whether it’s a Westy or Hightop, a DoKa or even a plain tintop. I give double points if it’s diesel powered.

Well today brings something that we’ve never had here on GCFSB and in fact few of us even knew existed: a Syncro diesel Eurovan, here labeled a Caravelle because Canada. Beyond the fancy 4WD and oil burning motor, this van allegedly has every available option including the Business Package, which features a fold-out table, large motorized LCD screen, and 4 rotating leather captain’s chairs. All that, and yet my favorite part (besides the Syncro) is that it has still has a manual!

Click for details: 2000 Volkswagen Caravelle TDI Syncro on Craigslist Vancouver

1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Adventurewagen Syncro

1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Adventurewagen Syncro

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An old friend emailed me the other day for advice on getting his own adventure van. We ran through the whole gamut of options, from the classic Westy to Sprinters to Ford Sportvans to Transit Connects. We had some good discussions examining various priorities and rationales, and he had a hard time envisioning shelling out $35k for a nice 25 year-old van, even if Volkswagens are clearly the most stylish and sentimental choice. So, we looked at some other options and kept the discussion going.

Then this van came onto eBay, and I was right back in a puddle of Vanagonlove. The High Tops have grown (no pun intended) on me a lot recently with even greater sleeping and storage space than the standard Westy. They still have a small-van footprint, but bring big-van capability, especially with Syncro. This van has had some very interesting modifications, most importantly a turbocharged Ford Zetec conversion by well-known Van converters Bostig mated to a rebuilt transmission. You could spend days reading the aggressive arguments on forums debating the pros and cons of different engine swaps – 1.8T keeps it OEM+, Subaru has the most power potential, the Ford has the most parts availability, and then there’s the one guy in the corner shouting “911S! 911S!” I move on as soon as people start saying THERE IS ONLY ONE GOOD OPTION, as it seems like all can result in awesome vans as long as the work is well-done and holistic. All of this to say that I have no issue with a Ford engine in a Vanagon and see it as a reliable, reasonably efficient way to more power.

The other modifications are not nearly as contentious or involved as the motor swap, but they do contribute to creating a unique and attractive van. The interior has been swapped out for that from a top-of-the-line Carat, creating an OEM-plushness the Syncro never received.…

1990 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro

1990 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro

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Coming from what appears to be the same New Jersey importer/seller as yesterday’s Golf Country is another Syncro special, the beloved Transporter DoKa. This one eschews common add-ons like lights, bullbars, and bumpers for a unique aluminum rolltop utility body over the bed. The rest is just clean, straight, and like-new. Bucket seats up front give a slightly more comfortable look to the interior than the common work-truck bench seen in DoKas, and from the roof to the undercarriage and the under-bed storage bin in between. One thing I can’t figure out is the zippers in the headliner; any ideas, readers?

Overall, it’s as nice as T3 VWs come without too many frills but plenty of capability. With no-reserve, we should get an interesting look at how hot the market is getting for the now easily-importable DoKa Syncros.

Click for details: 1990 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro on eBay