We have 15 years of archives. Links older than a year may have been updated to point to similar cars available to bid on eBay.
In a recent ad campaign, I’ve been interested to see Volkswagen roll out its older Jettas to somehow link their DNA to the new model. That’s an interesting ploy, since most people I know who have had experiences with a Jetta of this ilk usually remember the calamity rather than the positive aspects of the model.
Back in March, I took a bemused look at the confusing Jetta lineup by considering the oddly placed Carat model. It fell somewhere in between the GL and Wolfsburg model, yet most of the major items remained optional. Today, we get to look at the base model – the GL. The GL and Carat shared the same motor and running gear, but instead of the ‘upscale’ wheel covers borrowed from the Passat, the GL had steel wheels with center covers and trim rings. It was one of the better looking wheel options Volkswagen had at the time, and though it was the base wheel it somehow looked neat. Inside the seats were not quite as upscale-looking as the Carat, but otherwise equipment on the two was basically the same. But there remains an inherent draw to the second generation Jetta even as a base model, and this clean GL looks ready for some serious swapping action:
Here’s another one to add to our collective knowledge of obscure camper vans! I hadn’t heard of Tischer before but it’s not that surprising considering they only made 85 total and only 10 of this XL model. Seems like a reasonable idea – “Volkswagen vans are slow, the campers even slower, the diesels are even slower, so let’s throw a whole RV on the back of one!” I like the idea of space, but to me RVs are about eliminating inconveniences, yet this seems like one seriously inconvenient RV. With an engine swap and a lot of work to fix all the “untried, assume not working” appliances this could be a funny piece of VWeird. Until then, it just seems like a gnarly project.
I’ve dreamt about the Mercedes-Benz O309D as an RV before, and today’s underwent a full conversion from a postal van to camper van in the ’70s. It has some distinct pros and cons: On the plus side, it looks amazing in baby blue, is way cooler than a normal RV, and has the venerable Benz OM617 diesel found in the 300D, so parts are aplenty. On the other hand, it’s almost 50 years old with a 40 year-old RV conversion – meaning there’s plenty of work ahead – and the non-turbo diesel inline-5 has to use its ~80hp to haul a massive van up to its 50mph common-sense limit. My calculus adds it up to an overall positive because it runs, has a ton of potential, and putting in a fraction of what some people spend on RVs would make this a killer home away from home.
I dream of owning a Unimog camper, but most of the time the barren, ex-military examples available require a lot of imagination to create one that could actually be lived in. Not so today, as this owner has created one of the most complete Unimog RVs I’ve ever seen, fully ready to climb mountains, ford streams, and escape the zombie apocalypse. If any vehicle could single-handedly circumnavigate the globe, it would be this one. The fast axles make it appropriate for highway use while the insulation means traveling at those speeds won’t destroy your ears. The generator and roof tent show that you mean business, while the living area could serve as an attractive $2k/month studio in San Francisco. It even has an insulated dog house!!! There are quite a few 4×4 Sportvans that serve as mobile apartments in SF – this would be a great choice to do the same and would give you the option to change locales should you become suddenly interested in Patagonia or Mongolia.