1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro

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It’s been a while since we’ve gone full-meal-deal on a Westy Syncro, but today is our lucky day. As the ad is subtitled, this is indeed Bad Ass Syncro. It is more than the Westfalias I’ve written up recently, but also has the coveted 4WD system. The owner is not joking when he mentions spending $65k on upgrades – that’s a real thing on these vans. I’ve seen them listed over $100k, so compared to that, the ~$40k asking price is downright reasonable.

Click for details: 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro on eBay

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1988 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro Diesel

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I’ve been writing up quite a few Vanagons over the last few months that are more affordable options, meaning they lack the Westfalia or Syncro options. Today’s is one of the great ones that has a very long name and a longer list of upgrades. We’ve seen some of this variety edge towards the better part of $100k, but this diesel-swapped and fully repainted Westy Syncro can be yours for less than $40k. It’s not a modern TDI but a rebuilt Audi 5000 turbodiesel, coming together for an efficient package that can take you anywhere. It’s still a lot of money, but a very cool Vanagon and a deal compared to some out there.

Click for details: 1988 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro Diesel on eBay

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1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet with 32k miles

Being spread out over the United States, it’s hard for all of us here at GCFSB to catch up, but I was lucky enough to visit Rhode Island over the long weekend and catch up with Carter who lives in Providence. Living in the Washington, DC area, politics is the topic of the day and one which I loathe. So it’s always great to get away from this fishbowl and meet up with likeminded friends who share my passion for German cars. Carter had mentioned to me that a friend of his has an M3 Convertible, and I had my usual confused reaction when it comes to drop top M cars.

Now I have come across this 1990 964 series Carrera 4 Cabriolet. Kind of an odd combination, no? When I think of 911 Cabriolets, I think of motoring on sunny days rather than inclement weather that goes hand in hand with all-wheel drive. While this C4 Cabriolet may reside in New Hampshire, it spent a good many years in California and Florida. Just under 5,000 of the C4 Cabriolets were built, in comparison to just over 11,000 of the C2 Cabriolet, so for the classic 911 buyer looking for a bit more exclusivity, a low mileage, 5-speed example like this car would be a good choice.

Click for more details: 1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet on Rennlist

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1990 Volkswagen Rallye Golf

The Volkswagen Golf was never what you would call exotic, but sometimes the most pedestrian of cars makes for an interesting base for something a bit more special. Race homologation has brought us many great cars over the years, like the Porsche 959, Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 and Audi Sport Quattro. At double the price of a standard 8V GTI, the Rallye Golf was built so that Volkswagen could compete in the World Rally Championship. With Syncro four-wheel drive and a supercharged 1.8 liter, this car started a trend of ultimate Golfs and GTIs that we see up to the present day. This example for sale in England has been lightly used and a perfect piece for someone who is into the box flare style of the 1980s and early 1990s.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Rallye Golf for sale at 4Star Classics

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1989 BMW 325ix Touring


We knew the onslaught of E30 wagons was coming, but that doesn’t change the entertainment with which we watch these attractive but rarely seen (in the USA) longroofs. We’ve seen them imported through several channels, but this is the first Allrad, or four wheel drive, version I’ve seen. The 325ix seems like a great option to me for colder climes, as it would allow plenty of fun and stand out against the Audis and Subarus. The slushbox is a bummer and always seems like a silly choice on an E30, but the combination of rare wagon form, four wheel drive, and overall cleanliness with low miles makes it easier to overlook. It’s a little harder to overlook the price, which is dangerously close to E30 M3 territory, and would seem to open the door to find a good manual version across the Atlantic to bring over yourself. If you’re ready right now though, this is in great shape for an E30 of any iteration, let alone such a unique combo.

Click for more details: 1989 BMW 325ix Touring for sale on Portland’s Craigslist

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1985 Mercedes-Benz 280GE


As much as I think all the fancy AMG G55s and G63s I see around (not to mention the unobtanium G63 6-wheeler) are interesting thought exercises in mechanical dissonance, I’d much rather have a “real” G-wagen in my garage. Something like this 280GE would do just fine, as it spent much of its life with an off-road guiding company. Hell yes. It looks like the business on big BFGoodrich 33s with a winch and the perfectly-classic light blue. The interior looks nice enough for me, but there are some rust spots that may need attention. Or not, and you can keep driving this thing on and off-road like the badass it is, knowing that a few scuffs just add to its story.

Click for more details: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 280GE on eBay

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1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro


Sport Utility Vehicle. The term is a bit overused in modern vernacular. Most vehicles that fall under this category offer little sport and if they do, utility is compromised. However, Volkswagen really captured a niche in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the Vanagon Syncro. The number of vans that have offered four-wheel drive throughout history are few, but the Vanagon had a rugged air about it, something that hasn’t been lost on lovers of the great outdoors to this day. A trip to Montana might not be on everyone’s agenda during this extremely cold winter, but if you’re on the hunt for a good T3 Syncro, your search might take you there.

Click for more details: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro on eBay

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1985 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Wagon

My love for obscure cars dictates my leaning towards one of my favorite Volkswagens of all time: the Quantum Syncro Wagon. Known as the Passat, Santana, Corsar and Carat in other markets, the Quantum was the choice for someone seeking German engineering in a mid-sized package on a budget. Curiously, Volkswagen only offered Syncro four-wheel drive in the Quantum Wagon, as it was the bigger seller. This car shared its drivetrain with the Audi 80 and required a completely new floorpan which relocated the gas tank and deleted the spare tire well. Mated exclusively to the 2.2 liter inline-5 engine, this was a very versatile machine popular with those in the snow belt.

Few of these Quantum Syncro Wagons survive in good condition, but they have a rabid following of enthusiasts. Rarely do you see a pre-facelift Quantum Syncro Wagon but here is one for sale in Seattle. A few items need doing but nothing too terrible to put off those handy with a wrench.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Wagon on Craigslist Seattle

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4WD Week: 2004 Volkswagen R32

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The Rallye Golf posted by Paul is one of my favorite Euro-only unicorns. It’s one of those perfect combinations that rarely seem to come together: great small-displacement engine, four wheel drive, and box flares. Realizing this car existed after living in a world where the GTI was VW’s top performance car was mind-blowing. I think it’s this enthusiasm for the rare Euro combo that started my love for the R32. For a long time I thought it was the German I wanted when I had the means, and it may still rise to the top some day. It’s a good time to start thinking about them, though, as they sat above the $20k plateau for several years before a precipitous drop recently. With just 40k miles, this seller is looking for that market, but I think the time of the $25k R32 has passed until they come back as classic status.


Year: 2004
Model: R32
Engine: 3.2l VR6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 40,510 mi
Price: $25,000 Buy It Now

Click for more details: 2004 Volkswagen R32 on eBay

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See video by searching youtube for “VW R32MkIV for sale” Original owner car. 40,600 miles, 2004 model year – only year for MkIV bodied R32. 245 stock hp, 4 motion all wheel drive. Meticulously maintained and stored in 60 degree heated garage – no snow and rarely even wet. All upgrades are reversible to stock (stock items included) and include:
Bilstein PSS10 coilovers with less than 10 miles on them
OEM HID headlights
“Blue” Haldex awd controller
19″ BBS CH wheels
This car is very well sorted and has been always maintained either at Gezon VW, where I purchased the car, or at German Auto Service in Grand Rapids, MI. All records included, as are the VW supplied spiffs.

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BBS rims look good as ever and positively huge. The all-silver look is clean and refreshing in a world where black is the new everything. No modifications, low mileage, babied – this is indeed a sweet R32. As I spend my December in the chilly PNW, I’m reminded of my long and strong desire for 6-speeds, 4WD and a hot hatchback. Having a nearly-new one is a sweet proposition. This is one of the nicer, unmolested ones out there, but $25k is aiming a bit back to the future.


4WD Week: 1989 BMW 325ix

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Paul wrote up a very nice, true-Euro ix for 4WD week, but it is possible to find nice examples on this side as well. The true German rocked 4 doors and just 20k miles, but is also over $20k and an ocean away. Today’s is a very clean silver copy in the US with a lot of well-educated enthusiast love to keep it fresh despite over 180k miles. It’s also the fun combo of 2 doors and 5-speeds, with 4 driven wheels making this a late-80s charmer. The care is clear, but does it really elevate an ix above $15k?


Year: 1989
Model: 325ix
Engine: 2.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 183,300 mi
Price: $15,750 Buy It Now

Click for more details: 1989 BMW 325ix on eBay

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89 325 IX Coupe, 5 speed, Lachsilber with grey cloth interior. Extensive restoration and upgrades. Plenty of torque at the low and high end. Adult driven, not tracked, no rust, no excuses car. Iā€™m technically the 3rd owner of this car. My friend (also an IX fanatic) purchased the car for me in Boulder Colorado where it lived most of its life and delivered it to Santa Fe, NM. It has records from previous owners. I bought it in August 2012 with 167,300 miles and proceeded to restore and upgrade the car. The odometer just turned 183,300 miles with the following completed.

Engine and Drivetrain

– Mega Squirt II chip, air box.
– Custom ceramic coated headers
– Goetz head gasket, valves re-ground, polished intake valves, Raceware studs
– Clutch, machined flywheel.
– Short shifter kit.
– 4:10 transfer cases, re-built drive shaft, seals.
– Brake rotors, pads.
– Ignition coil, distributor, 19lb. injectors, plugs, fuel pump, alternator, timing belt
– A/C compressor, power steering pump, muffler.
– Coil over springs and shocks.
– Rear sub-frame bushings, rear camber kit bushings, inner and outer cv joints.
– M3 front control arm bushings.
– New control arms.
– New wheel bearings.
– BAM front shock tower bar.
– Motor mounts.

Trim ā€“ Exterior ā€“ Interior
– Euro Hellas, grilles
– Euro bumpers
– Replaced sport seats, door cards.
– Analog clock, Alpine Bluetooth stereo, premium speakers.
– New skid plate
– New sunroof transmission and crank.
– Paint
I would rate it as 7. Original except for hood re-spray. Clear coat excellent. $500 spent on paint less dent repair. It has usual wear on flares, nicks in paint.
– Two sets of wheels, basket weaves and bottle caps, Blizzaks and summer tires.

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The engine bay and exterior appear extra clean, while the apparently-redone cloth seats don’t look quite as showroom-status. It is a very pretty and well taken care-of ix, but with 180k miles I think the asking price is rather optimistic. We’re not quite there yet, E30 folks.