Update 12/3/19: This Caravelle syncro sold for $11,600
It’s hard to fit into the regular lineup all of the various neat German vehicles from diverse brands, so admittedly I end up focusing on ones that really spark my interest. That leaves big gaps in coverage, and one such gaffe is certainly the Volkswagen T-series. The first three generations were based upon the Type 2 platform and rear-engine configuration, which left plenty of space for a slab-sided apartment on wheels. But Volkswagen continued the feat with the T4. The engine moved to the front and was water-cooled, transverse and in most applications driving the front wheels. But like the T3, the T4 was also available in syncro configuration with all-wheel drive.
However, while the T3’s viscous coupling sent power forward with twin locking differentials for each axle, the T4’s front-drive transverse layout meant that it needed to employ a system similar to the Golf platform. That meant a viscous coupling to transfer power rearward when slip was detected, with some T4s also having a manually locking rear differential to assist in really sticky situations. While not the go-anywhere mountain goat the T3 could be, it was a neat configuration not offered in the States. Further, you could get a plethora of engine choices at the same time the EuroVan was solely offered with the 2.5 inline-5 gas motor. Case in point is today’s 2.4 liter AAB. While not more powerful than the 2.5 gas motor, the 10 valve inline-5 diesel was a lot less thirsty and offered 77 horsepower and 121 lb.ft of torque at low revs. Here it’s hooked to a manual transmission and already imported to the U.S.:
Update 11/11/18: The seller has dropped the asking price to $50,000.
Update 9/12/18: The seller has updated their asking price to $54,000.
For decades, I’ve had a pipe dream of taking a Westy van cross-country. When I was a teenager, a family member had a late 80s Vanagon Westfalia, and we went on a camping trip in it. It was great! And while I’m certain time has diminished the drawbacks of our method of transport on that trip, the knowledge of that isn’t enough extinguish my desire.
Unfortunately for me, it seems like I’m not alone. #VanLife has pushed the value of these clever boxes on wheels up substantially. Clean T3 campers regularly hit the market in the same territory as late 70s 911s. Even the replacement T4 Eurovan Weekender – which just has a bed, and none of the real camping gear the earlier Westfalias had – command a substantial premium over a non-pop-top T4. By far, the Volkswagen vans are the most expensive products from their catalog.
So you can imagine that if we get a rare Euro version of the T4 over here, it’ll probably be worth a look:
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!
Most of the T3 Syncros we see in the US are megacampers, done up with lots of GoWesty parts to take a shot at being the toughest van out there. Today’s Syncro used to belong to a German fire department but comes delightfully bare; a tin top with standard wheels and hubcaps keep it extra stock, with just the white top and bright red paint alluding to its public service history. There’s no camper or even bed in the back, but you can seat 9 people in this thing! With fewer than 50k miles, it’d go for something crazy on this side of the pond, but in Germany the T3 supply helps keep prices low.