1992 Volkswagen Transporter DoKa

The Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado have been at the top of the list of best selling vehicles in the US for years. It’s no secret Americans love their full sized pickups, but what if you live in the US and don’t necessarily need the stump pulling torque and four-wheel drive many of these trucks offer? What if you just want something that offers utility, a cab that seats more than two (or three in some cases) but you still need a traditional, large truck bed? Your choices are slim. Compact pickups are disappearing from the landscape faster than a pack of smokes at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Many of the versatile work vehicles offered around the world were not sold here, largely due to the chicken tax imposed under President Lyndon B. Johnson which slapped a stiff tariff on importers of light trucks.

So what to do, then? Well, we’ve seen a few Volkswagen T3 Transporter single and double cab variants crop up from time to time here at GSFSB, but this is the first time we’ve seen the workhorse version of its successor, the T4 Transporter. This T4 Transporter DoKa, or double cab, is on offer in British Columbia.

Year: 1992
Model: Transporter DoKa
Engine: 2.5 liter inline five
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 237,510 km (~ 148,500 miles)
Price: Reserve auction

1992 Volkswagen Transporter DoKa on eBay

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This 1992 VW Transporter Double Cab (Doka) is very rare in North America. Research indicates that only 22 were imported and all of those went to Canada. No Double Cabs of any other year in the VW T4 model run (1990-2003) were imported. Drivetrain and some body parts are readily available in North America as it was imported under the name Eurovan as a camper and passenger vehicle. This truck has the all-important USEPQ compliance sticker under the hood meaning that it can legally be exported from Canada to the USA.

This vehicle was first owned by a VW dealer in Victoria, BC and used for parts delivery. The next owner used it for his contracting company on Vancouver Island and the third owner also had a small contracting company located in Vancouver, BC. It spent its life in West Coast conditions with no salt used on the roads and shows no rust anywhere. The speedo reads in Km and shows 237,510 which is about 148,500 miles.

It has a few small dings and scratches in the original paint from its use over the 21 years but is very clean inside and out. The windshield and all other glass is perfect. It has a new wooden deck (Fir) which measures 6’ wide and 7’ long. Both sides and the tailgate fold down for access. With seatbelts for five, it can carry the whole crew. The rear seat can be removed for carrying tools etc.

The 2.5 litre in-line 5 cyl gasoline engine runs great and the 5-speed manual gearbox and clutch operate as they should. It is unusual in that it is a front wheel drive pickup truck. In Europe these trucks are known for being very rugged and lasting over 400,000 km. It has excellent Michelin tires, new plugs, cap and rotor and is ready for the road.

It is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada but with proper documentation I can arrange exportation and shipping to the US at the buyer’s expense.

This is another one of those cars that is hard to price, as they aren’t uncommon in other parts of the world but are pretty much unobtainable in North America. The 1990 T3 single cab turbo diesel we featured earlier this month wound up selling for $9,500 after 33 bids. While this T4 adds a bit of versatility with the double cab, some may prefer the “wasserboxer” flat four engines, or the diesels that were available in some, like the one we featured. While it is being auctioned with a reserve, I’d suspect this car might bring $12,000 to $15,000 at the high end, considering the mileage is closing in on 150,000.

-Paul

1991 Volkswagen Syncro TriStar Doka with 49 original KMs – REVISIT

The Volkswagen Syncro TriStar Doka with under 50 kilometers on the clock is back up for sale, this time via online auction with a reserve. Will it sell this time around? With such low mileage and such a high reserve, it’s going to take a very special buyer indeed.

1991 Volkswagen Syncro TriStar Doka on eBay – REVISIT

The below post originally appeared on our site August 24, 2012:

Every so often a rare opportunity comes around. In the automotive hobby, that usually involves an old timer, and a rare time capsule that in its day was just another car. This is a prime example of those circumstances. Back in 1991 a custom order of VW transporters was released to the public, resulting in this rare time capsule for sale in Redlands, California.

1991 Syncro TriStar Doka on thesamba.com

Legend from the factory has it that there were only 1500 TriStars ever built. This was between 1988 and 1991. 1000 of them were 2 Wheel Drive. Only about 500 were 4 Wheel Drive. Of those 500 4×4’s, less than 120 were 1991’s. While most DOKA’s stayed in Europe, a few made their way across the Oceans. One was even special ordered and sent to Australia, and 19 of them made it to North America. Well, 18 actually, and here is the story…

In mid 1990 a Canadian mining company contacted VW Germany with their needs for an off road mining work vehicle and the logical choice for the terrain they were working in was the Syncro platform. The DOKA fit the bill because not only was it 4×4, it could haul both cargo and 4-5 people comfortably at the same time. The mining company signed a promissory note and 19 of the DOKA’s were ordered for the operation. As the story goes, 19 were shipped, but only 18 made it. Now either #19 fell off the train transport, or #19 caught fire once it arrived. Both stories are out there. I bet it was both. It fell off the train, bounced twice, and caught fire. Either way, there went about 6% of the existing North American DOKA’s.

Now these weren’t just DOKA Syncros, but they were the Limited Edition TriStars. Luxury. This meant they would have the extra door for passengers on the drivers side that neither the DOKA 2WD or the DOKA 4WD standards had. As well, only the TriStar had the following options that made it an even more comfortable and utilitarian ride: Heated drivers seat Rear passenger heat Sliding windows in rear passenger doors Front seats with arm rests Grey door to door carpet front, rear and all the way into the storage bay instead of standard rubber matting Light grey cloth interior front and rear Interior “Oh Scheisse!” handles with integral map reading lights Illuminated vanity mirror on passenger side Padded dash cover Heated rear window Door storage pockets Map pockets on back of front seats Additional body insulation for cold weather Power windows Rear differential lock Twin rectangular headlights Wheel arch trim And, oh yeah, cup holders.

On with the story…So during the time the vehicles were making their way across the ocean, the mining company that ordered them came into some hard times and went belly up. Well VW Canada took those 18 units and spread them across the country to sell at their VW dealerships with 1 of them landing at the Toronto location. Here is where it gets personal. Our little DOKA landed in the hands of Karl at the Toronto VW Store. Karl knew a fellow that was really into VW’s and collecting cars and motorcycles in general. Freddy was his name. Still is. So Karl gave Freddy a call and told him what had just arrived. Freddy popped over to look at it. Freddy had never seen one, but he knew it was a rare bird and purchased it that day. That was back in the Fall of 1991.

Fast forward to Spring of 2012. Freddy is a few years older now and decides it’s time to thin his collection. Somehow he finds us online and puts in a call to Chris at the office. Freddy tells him he has a rare old VW truck that he wants to sell. Chris texts me a few details since I am the Syncro guy to see what I think. I am in South America at the time but I tell him it sounds interesting. We had never had a DOKA Syncro. Then a second text arrives that says “Good news is it only has 48,000 KM’s on it, but forget it cause the bad news is, it’s in Canada”. My response…”Canada??? Then we are definitely interested because only Canada got them legally. If he didn’t import it and he is the original owner, it could be one of the Canadian 18!” I was pretty excited but Chris reminded me that Canada generally means rust, and always means paperwork at the border to get it legit in the USA.

When I got back from my trip, and back to the office, I put a call into Freddy and he told me all about his funny little rare truck. Then I told him what I knew about them and sure enough we determined it was one the special order Tristars. He wanted a lot of money for it though, so I said I would think about it. He said no problem, and that it wasn’t going anywhere. Just before I got off the phone with him I said, “You know Freddy, you sure didn’t use it much” He say’s “I didn’t use it at all” Hmmm. “Well if you are the original owner and it has 48,000 Kilometers on it, how does that work?” “48,000 Kilometers???” he says, “No, It has 48K on it, as in 48 kilometers. I’ve never used it.”

I covered the mouthpiece and yelled as softly as I could to Chris “Forty Eight K!!! K as in 48 Kil-o-me-ters, not as in thousands of Kilometers!” Chris had heard him say it had ’48K’ on it, and down in these southerly parts, we convert that to thousands…48 Kilometers…that’s like 29 miles right? Yes it is. How is this possible? Knowing it was rare, and even though he lived less than 10 miles from the dealership, Freddy had it trucked over to his underground storage space. Freddy hopped in it, drove it into the parking spot, covered it and that’s where it was for 21 years. But Freddy knew how to take care of his vehicles so every once in a while, he would start it up, and on a few occasions he shipped it on flatbed over to the dealer and get the oil changed and have it looked over. All in all, of the 48 kilometers that are on it, he says he put maybe 2 of those km’s on the clock driving it out of the storage spot and on to the flatbed for its check up. The other km’s were VW delivery km’s in Germany and in Canada when it arrived.

Now I understood why Freddy was asking so much. We wired him the full asking price the next day and shortly after I was on a plane to Canada to document it where it sat hidden in a suburb of Toronto. My trip North…Early June I arrived at Freddy’s house and after a short tour of his classic motorcycle collection, we were off to see the DOKA which was just a short ride away. We got to the location, opened a big steel door and there it was, just like he said. Stored and covered in an underground cool climate parking space alongside an old tired Karmann Ghia. Off came the cover with lots of dust, on went the battery cable, and in went the key. It started right up, and purred without a knock or a ping. I carefully pulled it out into the filtered sunlight under a maple tree and parked it. I hopped out, took a few steps away to stand next to Freddy and stared at it. I just stood there holding my chin, and shaking my head, and 84 year old Freddy just stood there smiling. “Told ya.” he said.

A word from Freddy: -I am 84 years old now. Starting to slow down a little I guess. I bought this truck back when I was 63. I was a pilot for most of my life, but I have always loved collecting and working on interesting cars. Been driving since I was thirteen. I think I have had over 70 cars and motorcycles in my life. Anyway, I figured it was time for this VW to go to someone that can use it or share it’s uniqueness with others like at a VW museum or something. I hope people get a kick out of how well preserved and rare it is. And I hope the next owner takes good care of it. Maybe some day it will get used for what it was intended to be used for. I have heard they have some amazing off road capabilities. Hell, I barely used it on the road! Good luck and good travels to whoever is lucky enough to enjoy this next. ~ Freddy W, Toronto Canada

So there you go. We know everyone has a story to go with their VW toys. This was one of the best ones we have been a part of.
*In addition to those TriStar features noted above, the word from our importer, and the one man in North America that has seen more of the DOKA’s than anyone else stateside (Jeff at Autostadt) tells us it has at least two additional unique features he has never seen. One being original factory cable connectors to attach and lay the rear gate down 90 degrees (flat) as opposed to having it swing down the full 180. And finally the bed of the DOKA. This is usually raw painted metal or covered with Germany’s equivalent of Diamond Plate. This DOKA has what appears to be nice Oak slats running down the bed. We thought of refinishing them but wanted to pass it on as we found it. The one thing I noted was that the entire underside of the vehicle is factory sealed with a Ziebart like protectant probably in anticipation of the Canadian weather. As for the current mileage, we haven’t even put a kilometer on it yet ourselves. Not even to take the photos. But that’s going to be part of the deal. We want a ride in it from the new owner…off road.

PS: The vehicle has not been detailed yet~ it sits as it came.

full gallery here

This is one of those vehicles that you can’t really put a price on. DOKAs are rare to begin with, Syncro DOKAs even more so, add in the Tri-Star upgrades and the fact that it only has 48 kilometers on it, and you have a once in a lifetime truck.

This is my dream truck right here; it does everything I need. It’s no wonder it was the truck of choice for mining in Canada. This particular truck however, is too nice and too pristine to even consider using. This belongs in a VW museum or in a collection, because I just wouldn’t have the heart to put miles on it. Considering how much classic Type 2s are going for these days; it’s only a matter of time before the same collector pool gets hip to the modern transporters for their collections to the right collector, this will fetch pretty close to the $85,000 asking price.

-Brian

1991 Volkswagen T3 Transporter DoKa

The Volkswagen Transporter, in particular, the commercial variants, are one of those vehicles that is famous most everywhere except the United States. This is a shame, because the few families and outdoor enthusiasts that opted for the Volkswagen Vanagon over more conventional vans came to appreciate these vans for their practicality and durability. Vanagons, Westfalia Campers and Transporters have been gaining ground in terms of value in the past few years, as these represent the last of the rear engined Volkswagens. Here is an amazingly original T3 DoKa (German for Doppelkabine, or Double Cab) that presents like new for sale in Atlanta.

1991 Volkswagen T3 Transporter DoKa on eBay

The seller states:

Never available in the US from the factory, the VW DoKa is a very rare machine, even in Europe. This 1991 model is one of the very last built, and shows just over 15,000 original kilometers (not miles!) from new. Highly desirable today, it also includes all the original documents, booklets, manuals, and even the original window sticker and bill of sale, making it an awesome collectable for any VW fan. Obviously the DoKa is built on the T3 Transporter platform, known as the Vanagon in North America. If there’s ever been a more versatile commercial vehicle, I can’t imagine what it might be. Fortunately, this one appears to have never worked a day in its life, and has been expertly preserved and maintained since new.

The paint is 100% original, the body panels are super-clean, and there’s not a trace of rust or damage anywhere. Even the color, which is a vivid blue, is just what you’d imagine slogging along a narrow European street somewhere early in the morning, doing its job. Personally, I love the all-business look of this truck, with form following function and a minimum of frills. You could look at this little trucklet for hours and keep finding new details that were the result of some engineering solution rather than a stylist’s pen, which is probably why these are so beloved. The cab is spacious and bright, more akin to the van on which it is based than, say, a modern extended cab pickup. The commanding seating position is up high with a great view of the road, and with no hood, this truck is a snap to maneuver.

The seats are firm in typical German fashion, but that also means they’re all-day comfortable. Even the back seat is surprisingly spacious once you clamor back there through the third door mounted on the passenger’s side. Gauges are basic, and the speedometer reading in KPH is another reminder that this truck was never available in the US. Interesting options in the bare-bones cabin include heated seats, an AM/FM/cassette stereo system, as well as power brakes. With the lightweight front end, however, power steering is unnecessary and it gives the little truck surprisingly sharp reflexes. Power comes from VW’s traditional 2-liter air-cooled flat-four, which makes a modest 70 horsepower driving through a 4-speed manual transmission.

With an instantly-recognizable sound and surprisingly good torque in the lower gears, the DoKa squirts through traffic easily and offers stable, trusty handling empty or loaded. This one is just as clean underneath as it is up top, and although it has low mileage, it has not been neglected or stored for a decade, so it is mechanically extremely sound. For authenticity hounds, even the Continental radial tires appear to be the original type and size mounted on plain steel wheels. For VW enthusiasts, this is a rare treat, and it’s likely that it won’t stick around long once it hits the Internet.

We’ve seen a few T3 trucks here on GCFSB and this is arguably one of the best we’ve featured. While you could buy a number of new, V8 engined pickups, this VW truck is like new and rather versatile with its unique bed. You won’t blow the doors off people at stop lights or pull stumps like some diesel engined trucks, but a vehicle like this is just as cool and utilitarian all the same.

-Paul

1991 VW Doka Vanagon Truck for Sale

Since everyone seemed to be so upset by the price of the last VW Van I posted, I figured I’d post a very rare example at a much more reasonable price: just $57k.

1991 VW Vanagon DOKA Tristar Syncro for sale

Before everyone gets their collective leiderhosen in bunches, I’ll let the seller explain WHY this VW is deserving of a such a price.  It’s a long but entertaining read, and I highly recommend it to fans of obscure VW knowledge.

These trucks are pretty common all over the world, EXCEPT in the USA. VW technically did not import ANY Vanagon trucks into the USA. This is one of 18 that was brought into Canada under very special circumstances. Indeed, there is a great story behind this Vanagon TriStar Double Cab (DOKA) Syncro (4WD) truck.

As the story goes, there once was an oil exploration company in Canada that ordered 18 Syncro DOKAs just like this one. And, they were not just ANY Syncro DOKAs, but all TriStar models—more on that in a moment. The company ended up going out of business before the trucks arrived. So, VW of North America ended up selling these 18 trucks through their distributors in Canada.

Well, one of the ex-employees of the company snagged two of these, and brought them legally back home to Southern California. Check out the photos of the current California title. That is right: This is one of those 18 DOKAs made with the correct VIN for North America. This may seem like an inconsequential detail—but it is actually quite a big deal in this case, because this DOKA is diesel powered. Currently, it is not possible to bring a diesel powered vehicle into California if the vehicle in question was not a model offered somewhere else in the USA. NO WAY. So, the first amazing thing about this DOKA is that it is a totally LEGALLY REGISTERED DIESEL: That alone would be crazy enough, but it gets better…

Every DOKA ever made, except for these 18, was sold outside the USA. They were sold in Northern Europe and Scandinavia, and were mostly work trucks, put into service in severe weather (especially the Syncro models). Of the 18 that made it to North America, most were sold in Canada. What does this mean? It means that just about every DOKA ever made is now a rust bucket. By contrast, thistruck has lived all its life in Southern California, and has spent its time on the freeway. Therefore: NO RUST. Anybody who has ever spent time staring at a DOKA, like me, is simply amazed by how incredibly rust free this example is. But wait, it gets better…

This is not just any ol’ DOKA. This is a TriStar. So, unlike 90% of all VW DOKAs ever made that were basically 3-door, stripped-down work trucks, the TriStars were built super plush. TriStar means it has every factory option, including:

• Full plush cloth interior
• Padded dash
• Wall-to-wall carpet
• Heated driver’s seat
• Rear window defroster
• Cruise control
• Arm rests on both front seats
• Power windows
• Rear differential lock
• And last but not least: FOUR DOORS

And, that’s not all…

The guy we got this from is a super duper, over-the-top Vanagon NUT. He went totally overboard and did the following:

– Complete repaint inside and out to factory color
– Gray color redone all around the bottom
– Lots of seals and gaskets replaced
– All new carpet throughout
– Syncro.Org springs
– Old Man Emu shocks
– All new brakes
– Driveshaft decoupler (still has viscous coupler)
– Nice stereo with new larger speakers under rear seat
– All new power door lock system with remote entry

PLUS, HE ADDED:

– Air conditioning system (that kicks ass, BTW)
– Fresh transaxle with much taller 3rd and 4th gears, for the…

LAST BUT NOT LEAST:

– 1.9 liter Turbo Direct Injection (TDI) diesel engine with intercooler

Now, a few words about the AC and TDI engine:

AC in a DOKA? That is not possible…. that is, unless you are some sort of super duper, over-the-top Vanagon NUT. The owner had the AC unit painstakingly removed from an early 80s Vanagon, painted to match the interior scheme, and custom-installed so it looks like it came that way from the factory. Now, we have added NORMAL, FACTORY AC into a run-of-the-mill Westy that did not have it. It was a fairly straight forward job, but still cost north of $5k—all said and done. I just can’t IMAGINE how much time THIS took.

So, again, I admit that this kind of car is highly overpriced for most people. However, there is a dedicated group out there for whom the words DOKA, Syncro, and TDI are holy terms and nearly soul-shatteringly awesome when combined altogether.  For someone out there, this rare gem is easily worth its price.

-NR