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1989 Volkswagen Transporter Turbodiesel Panel Van

I normally write up trucks and vans with an eye on how they could be used or repurposed as a do-all traveler for camping, biking, and exploring. Westfalias remove some of the imagination, as they were created for exactly my kind of adventuring. Today’s black Transporter panel van presents the yang to last week’s Westy Hightop yin, cutting the Vanagon’s great lines to their essence by removing most of the windows and doing without any add-ons. The clean, all-business exterior continues in the cab, while the rear area shows the scuffs and bare bones of former commercial use. I am truly in love with the look of this van, and while my mind runs wild thinking of a bed and Porsche motor retrofitted in the rear, the 41k-mile, 52mpg diesel makes it an eminently practical van as is.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen Transporter Turbodiesel Panel Van on eBay


Year: 1989
Model: Transporter Panel Van
Engine: 1.6 liter turbocharged flat-4 diesel
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 67,648 km (~ 42,000 mi)
Price: No reserve auction

NO RESERVE. Highest bidder takes this van. For sale is a 1989 Vanagon 1.6 Turbo Diesel Panel Van with only 42k original documented miles. This is a European market van so the Speedometer reads in km. (67,648 original km)

(eBay wants to say its a 1980 because of the Euro VIN, but it is really a 1989, please see copy of the Title).

1989 Vanagon Factory 1.6 TURBO DIESEL Panel Van.
Only 42,034 documented miles.
Excellent condition. No rust anywhere.
True and Original Factory German Market Panel Van
Lots of Upgrades and Options.
Factory 1.6 liter Turbo Diesel
4-Speed Manual with Tall 4-th Gear
52 MPG
16-inch Alloy Wheels with Brand New Tires.
Upgraded Shocks
Truck Mirrors
Walk Through Cargo Partition
Euro Grille
Euro Smoke Turn Signals
Euro Headlights
Euro Bumpers
Euro Mud Flaps
Power Steering
Radio Prewire and Speakers
Never Smoked In
Sport Steering Wheel
Original German Metric (km) Speedometer (67,000 km)
Rear Window Limo Tint (50-state legal), Rear Wiper.
All Original Books, Tools, and Keys
And a whole lot more…
Completely Serviced and Ready for the Road
Just serviced and ready for the new adventures
Runs, Drives, and Looks Excellent.
Fresh Tune Up and Brakes
Needs Nothing
Free and Clear NJ Title in hand
All US Customs, DOT, and EPA importation paperwork in hand.
No accidents, no rust. Clean CARFAX and AutoCheck Reports.
Rustproofed and Undercoated since day one. Only very few minute imperfections here and there consistent with age and mileage.
Always garaged. Inspected, Maintained, and Serviced as needed at slightest hint of anything needing attention.



Whoever buys it will have an excellent van on their hands, ready for whatever direction their imagination runs. Bidding is hot but the amount is still low, as the main attractions (unique and attractive exterior combined with practicality) are paired with some typical price-killers, namely zero extra equipment and being rather slow. This is my favorite van I’ve seen in a while – and that includes the bonkers Syncro Westies. If you can do without a sleeper top and want a cool Vanagon, I’d watch this auction closely.



  1. Ry
    Ry November 1, 2014

    70% of the way there to being a great German A-team vehicle!

  2. sam
    sam November 1, 2014

    Awesome. So happy to know this exists! Super find, made my day.

  3. markiteight
    markiteight November 1, 2014

    I’ve driven a full Westy high top fitted the 1.6 turbo diesel with 5 speed manual and once the turbo spooled up and you’re in the (very narrow) power band it was actually faster than my ’90 Weekender with the stock U.S. spec 2.1 wasserboxer. The problem was keeping the diesel revving in the sweet spot as the turbo doesn’t reach full song until about 800 rpm below the governor. It’s unfortunate this van only has the 4 speed as even with the 5 speed you feel like you want 5 more gears so you can spend more time in the power band. I’ve always wondered what fitting a more modern quicker spooling turbo would do for that motor.

    Beyond the turbo diesel this is a unique van in the U.S. because they never came here in black. Plus it’s the ideal blank canvas to paint your own vision of the ideal van configuration. Nice find!

    Oh…and the 52mpg claim is pure bullshit!

  4. Ry
    Ry November 1, 2014

    Am I the only one that ogles modern MB Sprinter vans, especially in black with the diesel…not because I have any great use for one (at least 360 days of the year), but just because.

  5. sam
    sam November 1, 2014

    Ry, you’re not the only one.

  6. Ry
    Ry November 1, 2014

    @Sam – good! Cause I recently read you can now order a Sprinter w/ 4wd from the factory (and a real low range!). 2x diesel offerings, 2x lengths, 2x roof heights, 3x cab configurations, 2x rear wheel configurations, Westafalia factory camper upfitting availability, and now 4wd too. And also some of the best resale value of anything on 4 wheels. I should get one and be an Uber driver in ski resort towns.×4-option

    Sorry to steal the Transporter thunder a bit Nate, but at least it’s German too! 😉

  7. Brad
    Brad November 1, 2014

    If I had the need or even quasi-need I would have a Sprinter as a un-minivan.

  8. Phils
    Phils November 2, 2014

    Bump to sam’s comment (Awesome.) and markiteight’s fact checking (52mpg is bs).
    This is a gorgeous van. I’m not a fan of murdered-out black on black on black, but this stallion is screaming for dark wheels. Would love to see this van mildly race prepped.
    I’ve seen very few black vans and never a panel, so this is an entirely intriguing ride. Great find!

  9. Ry
    Ry November 3, 2014

    I’m trying to figure out what a “mildly race prepped can” would be getting prepped for? Sabine Schmitz did the ‘ring in a Ford Transit diesel in 10:08 in one particularly great ep of Top Gear, no race prep even!

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