Mobile Office: 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

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My company has a corporate office near Philadelphia with a handful of branch offices scattered in the Mid-Atlantic region. So twice a year, the CEO of my company visits the branches to give a ”state of the union” talk to employees. It’s about a five hour trip from Philadelphia to my office outside of Pittsburgh. Now this past spring when he started his speech, he said something that made me shake my head. No, it wasn’t that weren’t getting raises again this year (don’t worry, we didn’t). It was that he was tired from his five hour drive. Now this is a CEO who has a Harvard MBA, who makes decisions that impact thousands people and is compensated in the high six-figures. So I had to explain to my co-workers how crazy it is that our CEO is wasting his time driving instead of you know, working. After I explained to them that he is getting paid roughly $300 an hour to drive here, they got my point. So not only is he wasting 10 hours driving to our office twice a year, but he’s wasting his time driving to our seven other branches. You can see how this adds up. This brings me to today’s featured listing, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van. Specifically, this Sprinter that is setup to be a mobile office for people who make $300 an hour but don’t waste their time sitting on the Pennsylvania Turnpike because one of the tunnels is closed. Just to wrap up the story, I’m not saying our CEO needs a $79,000 Mercedes van to shuttle him around (because we didn’t get those raises, remember?), but at least a Lincoln Town Car so he can at least pretend he’s working in the back of it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter on eBay

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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

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1991 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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Late-model burgundy Vanagons were the first to ever catch my eye, and even as I’ve spent the last several years exploring the many variations and degrees of modification available for this versatile van, it’s still the look I find most appealing. This 1991 model has steel bars instead of the clean fiberglass, body-colored bumpers available at the end of the lifecycle, ostensibly to protect your legs and engine from the natural weak points of the cab-over design. They may not be sleek but they don’t look bad, and it seems practical to protect where this guy has put most of his money – the engine. It doesn’t say how long into its 198k-mile life it received the rebuild, but the engine was redone into 2.2-liter form and apparently all engine parts were specially hardened before assembly. The original interior is in great shape for having covered almost 200k, and the upper bed has only been used once. This no-frills, all-business Westy is available for a reasonable $18,300.

Click for details: 1991 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia on eBay

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1979 Mercedes-Benz N1300

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I’ve written up a lot of Mercedes Sprinters, and have been especially excited when I find cool survivors from the old O309/0319 era. This, however, is a new one, a Spanish-built N1300 that served as the smaller counterpart to the full-size 309 vans, and it’s covered just 20k miles in its 37 years. The quality is so spectacular – and flush with ’70s style for better or worse – that it looks like one of those over-the-top VW restomods we’ve seen. The big roof-mounted luggage rack and chrome visor make it look ready to do runs from the airport to the hills in Guatemala (these were primarily used in the South American market) while the interior looks basic but very nice. It even has a little wooden table between the train-style seats doing its best impression of a Westy’s fold out surface. It’s too nice (and barely big enough inside) to convert to a camper and the 85hp from the OM615 diesel four will make highway speeds achievable only on the flats, so this isn’t going to leap to the top of dream adventure vans. Whatever you decide to do with it, you’ll have one of the most interesting looking vans on the road.

Click for details: 1979 Mercedes-Benz N1300 on eBay

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2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4WD

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Starting with the 2015 model year, Mercedes-Benz started producing the Sprinter van with four-wheel drive for the US market. While the Sprinter has been one of the ideal, cost-is-no-object adventure vans for a while, the relative lack of 4WD left Ford Sportsvans and Syncro Westies as the true kings of the go-anywhere home on wheels class. Well, that’s all fixed now, and you can spend scores of thousands of dollars on a Mercedes-built, diesel-powered, all-wheels-driving box. This particular 2015 model is the specification I’d want – the 144-inch wheelbase is more manageable in the real world compared to the 170, while the High Roof makes standing up a reality and storage options plentiful. This couple bought it to install a wheelchair lift (available for extra money if you want it) for their son and drive to the mountains, but the high-top wasn’t the right fit for them so they’re selling it with just 2k miles on it.

Click for details: 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4WD on eBay

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1980 Volkswagen Vanagon Country Camper

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This new year, I pledge to do a LOT more camping. A boat trip to Alaska will guarantee an uptick, but here’s a new Vanagon variant to help lengthen those road trips. This 1980 2.0-liter Vanagon was converted by Country Home Campers, an outfit that did Westfalia-like conversions for some 30 years. It certainly looks like an 80s country home inside, with some nice wood paneling and faux-leather vinyl seats. The air-cooled four has been rebuilt and cosmetically it looks very clean throughout, if not beautiful. The camper top doesn’t reach as far as the Westy’s, allowing for a little moonroof action for those in the front seats. It may not be the most desirable Vanagon, but it has a lot of capability and a low, no-reserve auction.

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1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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Though sometimes a certifiably blah color, on certain cars brown can really hit the spot. See Steve McQueen’s 250 GT Lusso. The log-shaped Vanagon is no Lusso, but it’s the kind of color that helps it blend into its chosen habitat: the forest. Black Benz wheels and other details blend into the forest floor while a new-to-it wasserboxer of unstated mileage helps it get into the wild. Plenty of reasonable maintenance and replacements make it ready to go immediately, but small rough spots around the edges keep it from being anything more than a like-original, slightly dinged van. In the days of $100k Vanagons, how much is that worth?

Click for details: 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia on eBay

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2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 Diesel

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I’ve written plenty about the allure of the Volkswagen unicorns, the Syncro vans and trucks from the T3 generation. Ranging from high $40ks to over $100k(!!!), they are not to be trifled with. But as my brother points out any time I write one up: “Why not just get a Sprinter van?” In my mind they occupy a slightly different echelon, although that last Vanagon proves that there is plenty of overlap in price. Up until now, you could argue that Syncro brought a different level of capability, but Mercedes-Benz has released the Sprinter 4×4 with a 3.0-liter diesel V6. The auto gods are still there, van fans, and have bestowed upon us a modernized, go-anywhere van ready for any adventure.

This example has the high-roof option, a huge boon for vanliving when you’re over 6 feet, but is pretty basic other than that. It provides a great blank canvas, and the cabin looks functional though work-truck austere. Same goes for the exterior with black on black on black on black on black, but the black wheels and flat plastic bumpers look purposeful and perfect for the GoPro generation. I’ve driven an older diesel Sprinter quite a bit for work, and despite being abused and simple, they were surprisingly fun. I can only imagine what a significantly improved diesel engine and 4WD do to the experience. Sure, it may not have the every-option-possible approach of the white Syncro, but the $40k you’d have left over would allow you to take it in just about any direction you could dream up.

Click for details: 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 on eBay

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1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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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

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1980 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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I typically steer clear of salvage titles for obvious reasons, but this Westy seems deserving of an understanding eye. For starters, I’m guessing that you could sneeze on a 1980 Vanagon and the insurance company would total it. A little engine fire in one of these oldies would certainly do the trick. Some kind soul saw fit to save it, however, and the world is a little better for it. The restoration is a mix of subtle and style, with the classic brown exterior looking stock and the plaid-plaid-plaid upholstery making you think this thing’s top speed is a few orders of magnitude higher than it actually is. The new interior, pop top, and exterior plugs all turn this Westy into a faux time capsule instead of a basket case. It may be aircooled, but this thing looks brand new!

Click for details: 1980 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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