1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro

Mix-and-match is one of the greatest benefits of VW ownership and modification, enabling Lego-like compatibility with looks and personality straight out of the Playmobil catalogue. While most Vanagons pack the abilities of many cars into one, this T3 takes it to the next level by combining the content of two already-capable VW vans into one vehicle. As the seller embarked on the restoration of a Westfalia California, they came into possession of a non-Westy but Syncro’d van and the Frankenstein dreams quickly took hold – put all the great camping gear into the van with the ultimate running gear. As a result, they made an extremely desirable package and cleaned it up with a full restoration, rebuilt wasserboxer, and a subtle-but-great offroad package. Personal favorites include the perfect Graphite Gray paint and the Star Wars-lookin’ California top that provides a slight differentiation from most pop-top VWs you see. It may have taken a few donors, but in the end this is one excellent monster Vanagon.

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1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

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Non-Westfalia Vanagons with Syncro are an interesting proposition. Obviously the Westies are the clear choice if you’re planning on living in your van for any extended period of time, but what if you just do short weekend camping trips? In that case, the full kitchen and investment involved with the pop-top may be a bit overkill. You could fit plenty of gear (including a camping stove and a cooler) in this van and have room to sleep two on the fold-down bed in the back, all while having the all-terrainability of Syncro 4WD. This example looks great with a gold repaint and on GoWesty wheels, striking a more subtle tone than many of the accessorized Vanagons we see. If light off-roading is a higher priority than having a home-on-wheels for weeks at a time, then this Vanagon could save you $20k compared to a full Westy Syncro.

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1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro


When certain dream cars end up way more expensive than you ever thought they’d be, you’re forced to decide if you’ll wait until you make tons of money (which may never happen), or make some compromises and try to get an example you can enjoy as soon as possible. Maybe it’s just a high-miled chassis with a rebuilt engine, but when those are going for as much as a brand new GTI, what do you do? The ultimate value-killing rebuilt title is a big gamble, but with 70k miles enjoyed post-rebuild and a reserve of “well below $30k,” it may just be the best overall value for a Westy Syncro out there.

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1987 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Wagon

The B2 Quantum has always been an interesting car to me. As my first car was an Audi 4000CS quattro, there were aspects of its Volkswagen sibling that I really liked. First, while I wouldn’t say that the Quantum was more handsome than the 4000, it was certainly more distinctive looking. There are some downright odd angles on the Quantum, but somehow the design pulls it off. It’s also more rare to see them, or at least it felt so when I was driving around in the 4000. Then there were more practical things; for example, unlike Audi who ran the odd 4×108 pattern for slightly larger brakes, the Quantum stuck to smaller stock and retained 4×100 mm wheels. That made upgrades a bit easier and gave the Quantum a signature look with the GTi-sourced snowflake wheels. You could also get the 5-cylinder in front drive sedan configuration with the GL5; it was something Audi offered early on but had dropped, instead having only the Coupe GT be the front drive 5-cylinder. But the real trump card for the Quantum was undoubtedly the Syncro Wagon, as there was no Audi B2 wagon available in any configuration:

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1989 Volkswagen Caravelle Syncro

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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.

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29k-mile 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro Westfalia


Like the spotting of the Ivory-billed woodpecker decades after it was declared extinct, we have a Vanagon Syncro Westfalia today that is in nearly perfect, all-original condition. The 4WD Westies are rare enough, but nearly every example has been well used, with the nicer ones having undergone swaps and restorations (often by the great but pricey GoWesty guys). This example is the only one I’ve seen that spent most of its life in a garage and has never gone camping. Little items such as the sink sticker and vinyl drip tray cover are still intact, as this was apparently just used as occasional transportation by an older lady for 17 years, then parked after a small fender dent.

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1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

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The last few months I’ve found myself examining all manner of Vanagons, from aged DoKas to pristine GoWesty Syncro Westfalias, but today’s 7-passenger Syncro is an interesting case. Aesthetically, it’s not all that, with some ill-fitting wheels and lackluster paint. Inside, the non-camping setup is contrary to my intended use. However, the Syncro 4WD is an awesome option box that usually comes with a huge price tag. It’s covered well under 100k miles, and has my favorite of all Vanagon grills, the South African quad-light setup. The asking price is a mere fraction of what most Syncros go for, making this all-terrain Vanagon a pretty decent deal and a solid starting point for the intrepid adventurer.

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1989 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro Hightop

Syncro Westies are a special breed, but today’s Vanagon is cut from an interesting cloth – or lack thereof. While most Westfalias’ tops popped up with a cloth tent, later models like this example could be had with a plastic high-top. What is lost in aerodynamics is gained in weatherproofness, creating a cozy loft and more mounting space for the rack-loving van crowd. While the top sticks out, the overall aesthetics are upgraded but pleasantly subtle, with upsized steel wheels, the great South African grille/light combo and tough bumpers blending into the colorless white/black scheme. The more I look at it, the more I love this van, and we haven’t even gotten to the mechanicals! Those are as good as they get, with an upgraded turbodiesel and Syncro four-wheel drive. No reserve will make this a fun auction to watch, though the low mileage and strong option and upgrade lists will probably take it out of most people’s price range.

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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.

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Duocorns: 1987 Volkswagen Quantum GL5 Syncro Variant and 2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion Variant 6-speed

In yesterday’s Audi project post, I wrote up two more-rare Audis with potential, though both would require some work and dedication to get to daily driver status. Today, I’ve got two more “project” cars – though, if anything, these two are considerably more rare these days than either of the two Audis. Both are all-wheel drive wagons from Volkswagen, but if you can quint and see a family resemblance, that’s about all that links them together. The first is the B2 Audi-derived Quantum Syncro – essentially, an Audi 4000 quattro with Volkswagen hubs, wheels and brakes and a unique rear suspension under the Quantum body. The Passat W8 also shared Audi A4 all-wheel drive components but essentially was a completely different offering, from the 6-speed manual transmission this model sports to the unique W8 motor stuffed into the discreet Passat Variant package. While there were considerably more Quantum Syncros produced than W8 6-speeds, finding one today can be quite hard – many succumbed to poor residual value, rust and neglect; though not complicated cars, the were more expensive to work on than the standard 4-cylinder models. The W8 is at the verge of falling into the same fate, with the exception of original production numbers – with only a handful of W8 Variants imported originally, both of these cars are serious unicorns these days. Which is your style?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Volkswagen Quantum GL5 Syncro Variant on eBay

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