4WD Week: 1991 Volkswagen Golf Country

You’d be forgiven for thinking that we were excited to run over to German sites to check out all the cool all-wheel drive cars you couldn’t get here, because some of the most fun we have is looking at those cars we didn’t get. Falling squarely into the “Coolest Volkswagen Ever” top 5 has to be one of the many Volkswagen Golf models that failed to come to the U.S. Well before the SUV and Crossover craze grasped American’s taste, Germans were trying their hardest to exercise their sense of humor when they created one of the niche-iest Golfs – the Golf Country. As I said in the Golf Variant Syncro post, I was pretty floored in my visit to Germany in the late 1990s when I saw these jacked up Golfs rolling around Freiburg. Featuring big brush guards, an external spare tire for additional rear ground clearance (of which there was a lot!), some great looking Speedline wheels and the iconic Mk.2 Volkswagen hatchback body, the Golf Country was an instant legend among VW fans. Coveted even in their home country, many are still in great shape and come up for sale today on German Ebay, such as today’s Tornado Red example:

Year: 1991
Model: Golf Country
Engine: 1.8 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 138,000 km (85,749 mi)
Price: €6,900 ($9,516.48 today)

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen Golf Country on eBay.de

Vehicle description:
Interior blue,

Alloy Wheels

A vehicle which can not be compared with the others, as the paint is not faded and in very good condition. Driver’s seat is not torn and only shows light daily use. / / * EXCHANGE, TRADE-IN YOUR VEHICLE OR MORTGAGE LENDING, AND FINANCING POSSIBLE! * Changes, mistakes and prior sale reserved.All information without guarantee

You can find more offers on our website: www.derfaller.de

More details on the car can be found here
the faller + co. impex euro cars OHG
Phone: +49 (0) 7131 941 060
eMail: faller@mobile.de
the faller + co. impex euro cars OHG

Neckarsulmer Str 21
DE-74076 Heilbronn

Phone: +497131941060
Fax: +497131941062
eMail: faller@mobile.de

Commercial register: Heilbronn / Neckar
Location Trade:. HRA 103587

VAT ID. according to § 27a sales tax law:

Authorised representative: Stephen Faller / Edwin Urs Mallets

Tornado Red has to be one of the rarer colors on the Golf Country, as many were black or period toothpaste-green. If you caught our Facebook teaser photo yesterday, you saw the parts that made up the Golf Country – more than just a few brush guards, it included revised springs and shocks, frame rail protection and skid plates and more – a total of 438 parts. That resulted in a pretty high price for the Country – but that didn’t seem to deter buyers. This particular example doesn’t have the heavily bolstered sport seats but otherwise is fully equipped and looks to be in stellar shape. Still a few years from legal importation, these are high on the VW Mafia’s hit-list to grab as soon as the government says “go” so expect prices to crest around 2015-2016 when they start coming over. For now, they’re still not particularly cheap – $9,500 will buy you most any Golf model you want in the U.S. – but none of them will be a Golf Country, and for some folks there is no substitute.


4WD Week: 1996 Volkswagen Golf Variant 2.9 VR6 Syncro

If this morning’s Passat G60 Syncro Variant wasn’t your speed, perhaps a crazy Golf wagon will be. Long before the Jetta “Sportwagon”, Volkswagen produced some actually sporty wagons, and arguably this is one of the best. The Mk.3 GTi may have felt heavy compared to the original but it was still a great car to drive and lots of fun, coupled with the great VR6 exhaust note and torque. Now, channel that GTi experience through a 4-door wagon with the Euro-spec 2.9 VR6 and Syncro all-wheel drive and you’ve sure got a lot of win in my book. I was pretty captivated when I visited Germany in 1998/9 and saw some of these cruising around. Like the Passat Syncro, they were quite expensive and fairly rare, but this is a lower mile end of the run example that looks just about perfect:

Year: 1996
Model: Golf Variant VR6 Syncro
Engine: 2.9 liter VR6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 144,500 km (89,788 mi)
Price: €4,500 Buy It Now ($6,194.70 today)

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Golf Variant 2.9 VR6 Syncro on eBay.de

Vehicle description:
Beautiful Vr6 wagon with all-wheel drive rust free and well maintained!
Original condition, Full service history available.

Top model of the Golf 3 VR6 ABV series 2.9Liter 190HP
Motor runs quietly and without noise, full power, transmission / drive train perfect


Phone: +49 (0) 171 8.68617 million
eMail: KFZHandelAS@mobile.de
Wilhelm Andreas
Angle Brunn 16C
94078 Freyung

Tel: 01718686170 (William Andrew)
Tel: 015124085400 (Hohenwarter Klaus)
Fax: 085519139026

St-NR 157 288 205 40

Truth be told, were I importing a rare wagon from Germany it wouldn’t be this car. For around the same price, you can get into the S6 V8s and S2 Avants; both cars that I’d rather own than this. But, if I was serious about a clean Mk.3 GTi VR6, this would be my choice any day. The wow factor alone in showing up at a VW meet in one would be worth the price of admission for many Volkswagen addicts. Like the Passat, it’s a great reminder of the wonderful cars we didn’t get here and how many cool projects Volkswagen undertook. Ultimately, it’s not the best car in the world – far from it. But it’s a cool, unique car that isn’t currently very appreciated but I predict will have a cult following in another decade. Try and find a clean Mk.3 Syncro Variant then! It’ll never be the E30 M3, but buy one of these and keep it clean and you’ll have nearly every VW nut in the U.S. drooling every time you rumble by.


4WD Week: 1990 Volkswagen Passat GT Syncro G60 Variant

We’ve gone on at length about the wonderful German cars we haven’t gotten to experience here in the U.S., and the 4WD Theme Week offers us a chance to expose even more gems that were not imported. For various reasons including low overall sales number and a fear of cannibalizing Audi’s already small all-wheel drive market share in the early 1990s, Volkswagen chose not to import many of their Syncro cars. True, we did get the Audi 80/4000 based Quantum, but the third generation Passat introduced the first non-Audi based floorpan for the larger Volkswagen. What it was based on instead was the Golf, meaning that it could use a lightly modified version of the Golf’s Syncro system and engine choices. Hence, while the American market did get the great 2.0 16V in the front-wheel drive Passat, Europe and Canada got the more potent, tunable and all-wheel drive supercharged Passat G60 Syncro. They were expensive and rare cars when new, but can be found from time to time. Today there is a decent looking one on Ebay.de:

Year: 1990
Model: Passat GT Syncro Variant
Engine: 1.8 liter supercharged inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 220,000 km (136,702 mi)
Price: No Reserve Auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Passat GT Syncro G60 Variant on eBay.de

Passat GT G60 Syncro ( 35i )

EZ 06.09.1990

Top notch runner until 02.01.2008 due to Audi quattro purchase . 240km/hr speedometer was not an issue here . G-Lader updated. Larger Pulley installed , chip tuning . Thereafter, about 8,000 km covered.
Boost gauge installed cleanly. Oil cooler installed . Trailer hitch. Original aluminum wheels with 205 ‘s and of course, all-wheel – drive !

Total mileage 220,000 km .

After taking it off the road I began rewiring for sound system – cables are already installed but sill panels etc. still need to be built back . Parts for all available.
Driver’s seat has minor damage. Floor should be cleaned. I have not discovered rust.
Unfortunately , according to the extended length of time , the starter froze, ie currently does not start.
The car is quite smart , but needs an expert hand.

Inspections in 32361 Pr.Oldendorf welcome!

Admittedly, this isn’t the nicest Passat G60 Syncro I’ve ever seen; but they’re rare cars and this one is reasonably clean outside – which is the most important part. The combination of Passat, all-wheel drive, supercharger and wagon isn’t everyone’s favorite, but I really like the grill-less early B3 cars; they’re a clean and sharp looking design. Some work will be needed to get this one back into shape. Unfortunately, that may not come; the Passat isn’t highly sought after and remains a bit of a novelty compared to the more desirable Golf models. Further, VWs of this era weren’t known for their stellar reliability, construction or great materials – and the early Syncro systems in the Golf and Passat weren’t particularly good all-wheel drive systems. Still, it’s a neat car to see and a small reminder of the many cars we never received here in the U.S. Hopefully, someone will resurrect this car to it’s former glory!


1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

Over the years, it seems as if vans and four-wheel drive have been mutually exclusive terms. One would think given everyone’s propensity towards all-weather versatility, this combination would be more popular. Dodge and Toyota have dabbled with all-wheel drive in their minivans and there’s even some aftermarket companies who have retrofitted four-wheel drive systems to full-sized Chevrolet and Ford vans. But one of my favorite four-wheel drive vans is the Volkswagen Vanagon, or T3 Transporter, as it was known in other markets. A vehicle for anoraks, the styling was about as one box as you could get while the addition of Syncro all-wheel drive lent the rear-engined stalwort go anywhere capability. This Vanagon Syncro for sale in Colorado is a little bit rough around the edges but has a new engine and is up for sale at no reserve.

Year: 1986
Model: Vanagon Syncro
Engine: 2.1 liter flat-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 222,000 mi
Price: No reserve auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro on eBay

Up for sale is a very solid 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro. This is my baby; and unfortunately I’m forced to sell it. We recently put in a brand new 2.1 engine and it runs great. It has about 50 miles on in; all for the break in procedure. I haven’t even had a chance to enjoy it before I’m forced to sell it. Many other parts were replaced at the same time.


Brand new fully rebuilt 2.1 engine (New AMC Heads)

All fuel lines replaced

Brand new alternator

New Temp II Sensor

New muffler, catalytic converter, exhaust gaskets and oxygen sensor

Exhaust system in good condition, not rusted out.

New cap, rotor,

Battery replaced within the last year.

Throttle body, icv, afm, and fuel injectors all replaced with low mileage units. (the van has a really nice idle now)

New water pump.

Coolant system flushed and bled.

Previous owner claims transmission was rebuilt at 170,000. (I was never given the documentation, so I can’t prove that it was)

Transmission and clutch are in good working order.

All tires replaced since I purchased the van a year and a half ago. All of them have good tread.

Drives straight; no weird hums or vibrations.


Body is in overall good condition, but does have some damage from over the years (all damage will be pictured below. If you have any specific questions please feel free to ask). Body is generally clean with minimal rust (all rust is surface rust; I haven’t found anywhere where the body is rusted through). I haven’t found any seam rust, which is a good thing. All the rust I have found is in small patches, either under peaking out from under the rubber window seals and on the lowest part of the body under the. Again, all of this appears very minimal to me and probably could be fixed very easily, but I’m no auto body technician. The previous owner had the van repainted 4 years ago in the original silver. The paint has a nice shiny luster and appears to be in good condition. There are minor dents and dings on the vehicle, nothing out of the ordinary. Just normal wear and tear of a 27 year old vehicle.


Interior is overall nice and clean. Front seats have some wear, but overall good condition. Dash and door panels are in good shape. Radio and speakers have been upgraded. Bench seat and rear seat are in clean condition. Rear seat is a Z-bed and does fold down to a full size bed. The rear carpet was replaced with hardwood by the previous owner. The gauges have been having intermittent problems for the last couple months (I haven’t had a chance to get it looked at). Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. The speedometer and tachometer always seem to work though. The ash tray in the middle of the dash is broken. it can be easily replaced, as it is not fixated to the dash.

If your looking for a nice, solid, dependable van; that is not outrageously priced, this is the van for you. I will update the listing with any more info or pictures I have throughout the duration of the listing. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to ask. Thank you

Vanagon prices have been on the rise, especially the Westfalia Camper variants. This isn’t surprising, given what the values of their earlier T1 and T2 counterparts are fetching these days. But for the VW van enthusiast, the T3 is still very much within reach and a satisfying vehicle to own. The Syncro/manual gearbox combination on this example is surely a bonus that enables the driver to get the most out of what performance is on tap. If this were my van, I’d probably invest a bit of money into the interior and perhaps a little into cosmetic work. I wouldn’t go crazy, however, given this van’s off roading ability. You wouldn’t want to make it too pristine. Given what we’ve seen with other T3s, I’d expect this four-wheel drive version to pull a final bid of somewhere in between $9,000 and $13,000.


1987 Volkswagen Passat Variant GT Syncro

The 1980s marked the first time since its inception that Volkswagen was without its bread and butter vehicle in the lineup, the Beetle. This wasn’t as bad as it would seem, as sales of the Bug was waning as the 1970s kicked off, with consumers leaving the lovable compact for larger, more advanced vehicles, especially those from Japan. While models like the Jetta, Golf and Cabriolet proved popular in the states, one model languished in its class: the Quantum. This mid-sized sedan and estate offered German engineering at a lower entry point, and towards the end of the production run, gave buyers of the Variant (estate) the option of Syncro four-wheel drive.

Sharing the mechanics of the Audi 80 Quattro, this required the car’s floor to be reengineered to allow room for added mechanicals and a revised rear suspension. Equipped solely with the 5-cylinder engine in North America, the Quantum Syncro was an Audi Quattro on a budget. This Passat Variant GT Syncro for sale in Bavaria is the Quantum’s European cousin and rarely do these five-doors surface in such well-preserved condition.

Year: 1987
Model: Passat GT Variant Syncro
Engine: 2.1 liter inline-5
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 268,000 km (~ 166,500 mi)
Price: €4,999 (~ $6,662 USD)

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Volkswagen Passat Variant GT Syncro on Mobile.de

Absolute rarity! Passat Variant Syncro 5-cylinder. This car has had three owners and the last owner had the car for 19 years from 1994. This car has a service book that was regularly filled out, the last repairs/maintenance was: battery, chassis, belts and water pump, wishbones, undercoating, differential and transmission. A long trip with this car is not a problem, it is in full working order. For fans a genuine opportunity! ATTENTION: We have several Audi Quattros in different models such as sedans, wagons and coupes with different motors, V6, 5-cylinder, 20V, 200 20V, Typ 85, Audi 90 etc. on offer. If you are interested, contact me!

Given the price, this Passat would be a little steep for someone to import to the US, given the mileage that is a bit over 150,000. It’s asking price puts it close to the top of what these Quantum Syncros are fetching stateside, when you can find them in decent condition. The Passat badge and euro headlamps do make for a good conversation piece and in an era of look-alike crossovers, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what sets this estate apart.


1991 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro Westfalia

With summer underway, it’s time to start planning that holiday. Whether it’s the woods or someplace seaside that you are headed, a Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia would be an excellent rig to get there in. This well sorted Syncro Westy comes to us from our reader Pete and has a few practical add-ons to make this Swiss Army Knife on wheels a bit more usable for those long excursions.


Year: 1991
Model: Vanagon Syncro Westfalia
Engine: 2.5 liter boxer-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 182,500 miles (less than 6,000 miles on new engine)
Price: $73,995

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro Westfalia on TheSamba

’91 VW Syncro (4WD) 2.5 Westfalia Full Camper. $99,500. VIN: WV2ZB0253MG003421.

We priced this after comparing the last 22 Syncro campers in past 6 years by GoWesty, looking at mileage, condition, upgrades, & restorations on all 22 w/ours. This price is quite fair, considering everything the others don’t have. This is our first VW Westy camper, bought from 2nd owner-a private party 1/’06. Finally the configuration’s exactly as we want, but hurt my knee & shoulder causing pain getting in/out w/2” lift kit. Almost all of very significant upgrades/restoration/repairs were done by the GoWesty experts, & it has always been garaged. YOU MUST SEE!

All GoWesty & other invoices plus CARFAX report (totally clean & w/all their guarantees offered) available online. Please email me for links at pete@unityadjustments.com.

5 speed manual w/Granny low, all 3 knobs: 4WD + true front/rear lockers, A/C, front/rear heaters & defrosters, cruise, PS, PB, PW, front/rear windshield wipers/washers, power door locks, keyless entry, stereo, all original curtains, Dometic 3-way refrigerator, sink, & 2 portable eating/work tables w/poles.

Upgrades and Restoration:
GoWesty 2500 cc (was 2100 cc) waterboxer motor w/indestructible pistons (125 hp. = +39%/175 ft-lbs torque = +50%): replaced at 176,910 mi. on 11/21/10, & now about 182,500 mi. (less than 6,000 mi.), GoWesty Road Warrior 4 year/48,000 mi Nationwide transferable (no cost) warranty. Same fuel economy if driven the same (15/16 city, 19/20 hwy. w/cruise). After break-in period, only Mobil 1 synthetic oil & filter (15-50 oil/M1-205 filter), & changed every 3,000 mi. (not 3,500 as rec’d.). 2.5 VW matching emblem beside Syncro emblem on PS of the rear hatch.

GoWesty gears: 2nd (1.18:1=8.7% higher) / 3rd (1.18:1=4% taller / 4th (0.77:1=9% taller).
GoWesty custom-geared transaxle & front diff: 5.43:1 final drives, front & rear (12% lower).
Original (4WD) Viscous coupler replaced w/a true 4WD (drive shaft de-coupler & solid shaft).
South African BIG brakes.
South African upper & lower grills.
2 in. GoWesty lift kit.
Porsche 911 power window system w/dash switches.
Porsche 930 Turbo rear axle system.
GoWesty custom, double, swing-away bumper-mounted rear steel shelves/racks: DS=mounted
spare & 5 gal. gas can, PS=shelf for 2 KW gas generator.
Yakima roof rack system.
GoWesty steel plate bumpers w/integral 2 in. hitch in rear.
GoWesty’s off-road kit: 5 Michellin P250x70Rx16’s & GoWesty alloy wheels w/5-locking nuts.
Bed-liner (black) texture coat on entire lower body.
Deluxe aux. 2nd battery system w/2 Interstate MTP-91 heavy duty batteries.
Jensen stereo w/surr. sound: TV/CD/DVD/AM-FM w/7 in. tilt-up/swivel touch screen, w/remote.
Drop down SSL DVD/TV 15 in. monitor/2 wireless/infrared headphones & remote.
500 watt JC Audio amplifier & woofer speaker below rear seating.
Fiamma F45 10 ft. x 10 ft. x 6+ ft. high awning.
Old Man Emu shocks & struts all around.
Cobra C/B system w/dash speaker, high power amplifier & high power antenna.
3 vent 100% acrylic pop-top tent, w/zippered/covered/screened openings.
2 GoWesty’s snap on mosquito screens for side (zippered), & rear openings.
GoWesty snap on Rainfly: waterproof tent cover.
Coleman 1200 watt inverter w/2-110 volt receptacles: 6 total in Westy.
4 illuminated 12 volt connections: 2 in kitchen & 2 on dash.
Refrigerator has an extra custom electric exhaust fan… keeps food at 32-33 degrees.
Side step for sliding door entryway, w/heavy-duty grab handle at entry.
3 heavy-duty grab handles total: both front doors & sliding door entryway.
Repainted factory Bordeaux (Burgundy) with all decals – black.
Halogen outside & Hella inside headlights: w/high output load reduction relay kit for Halogens.
Wurth rubberized undercoating, complete steam-cleaning, & all rusted parts replaced.
Grover diesel truck air horn & compressor with tee configuration w/rubber hose & air fitting.
Roadmaster tow setup & RV wiring, w/auxiliary synchronized airbrakes.
Keyless entry w/2 remotes.
Updated propane tank.
Skid plate w/air compressor above it.
Hot Wire air mass sensor replaced old-fashioned air flow meter.
Bosch high-powered, clear lens fog lights for back up lights.
4 smoked signal lens covers.
2 new fluorescent lights above in kitchen: cooktop & storage/closet area.
Solar trickle charger for start battery, hard-wired, on dash.
Roof painted silver: reflects heat from camper’s interior.
4 GoWesty mud flaps.
Curved tailpipe end to help avoid water intrusion into exhaust system.
Rubber floor mats, heavy-duty: front/aisle/rear – black.
Campmobile cargo area matching grey carpet mat.
1 hidden anti-theft kill switch.
Streamlight Strion always-charged, super bright flashlight behind driver’s seat.
Covercraft® car cover.
Complete VW service manual, & all OEM owner manuals.
And on, and on, and on, and on…

Repairs and Replacements: All normal maintenance timely, Syncro tranny, A/C condenser & all the seals/gaskets/hoses, Bosch alternator, aluminum OEM radiator, OEM water pump, full Vanagon GL waterboxer clutch job & w/fly wheel, wheel cylinders, cooling/fuel/elec. systems gone thru completely, w/many replacements, proportioning valve, dash instruments replaced/repaired/recalibrated, straightened gas tank neck so if fuel gauge’s at red line… it has 2 gals. in the tank… when at empty… it’s EMPTY!, spring pads, $1,600+ reliability servicing-Inv. 75995P 7/01/2006 w/lots of Bosch® parts, $2,500+ GoWesty super-duper ultra-major service w/all items back to zero miles… & lots, lots more.

QUESTIONS? CALL PETE: 626.333.0199, 7am-8pm PDT, daily.

For those not paying attention, the market for these campers is hot. Very hot. Find a good one and it will set you back a decent chunk of change. This final year Syncro has to be one of the most well-sorted examples of its kind that I’ve run across in recent memory. It doesn’t seem like one square inch of this van was left alone in the quest to make this Westy nicer and more convenient for travel. At almost six figures, a lot of people will scoff, but if you must have the best Syncro Camper out there, few are going to measure up to this one.

For those interested in this Westy, you can contact the seller, Pete at (626) 333-0199 or via email at pete@unityadjustments.com . Good luck with the sale, Pete!


1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Wiensberg Syncro with Subaru 2.2l

Hot on the heels of a wild and woolly wagon week, I’m still thinking of fun utility vehicles. Usually when we’re writing up Vanagons they are GoWesty-type Syncrobaru monsters with every possible camping and survival accessory ever imagined, selling for close to $100,000. Today’s Vanagon eschews the popular Westfalia camper top for a Wiensberg while continuing the Syncro with Subaru Swap theme. Wiensberg tops are known for combining the full standing room of a high top with the serious camping capabilities of a pop-top. Despite Sycnro and a much more willing flat-4 from the other side of the Axis, apparently losing the “Westy” status also helps bring the price down to earth at *just* $36,000 Canadian. I love that this van possesses all of the toughness without the pretension of the craziest Vanagons, helped by T4 Eurovan steelies and a subdued green-and-black paint scheme. Someday I’ll have a go-anywhere-forever Vanagon, and hopefully it will be as well executed as this.

Year: 1990
Model: Vanagon Syncro Weinsberg
Engine: 2.2l Subaru flat 4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Miles: n/a
Price: $35,500 US

1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Wiensberg Syncro for sale on CamperVanCulture.com

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 4.03.07 PM

“It’s not a show van but a real work horse, no bells, no whistles but a very Unique Wiensberg Pop/high top camper. Its currently my daily driver and is needing some love. A real good service to the motor and brakes this spring will be needed.”


Professionally installed engine conversion
SA bull bars
blown hot air central heating
front and rear diff locks
high level spot lights
fully working 4wd system
loads and loads of storage space
bigger T4 Euro van steel wheels
wheel carrier
rock sliders
amazing pop up high roof
Double glazing
trailer and roof tent not included
Yours for $36,000 Canadian.

I’d like more information on the engine conversion and some pictures of the inside, but I love the unique high-pop-top and ultimate versatility. It’s a shame the amazing camper trailer pictured doesn’t come with it. Even so, this is one of the few Vanagons that could show up next to some GoWestys and say “yeah, but do you have on of THESE!?”


1990 Volkswagen Transporter Single Cab Turbo Diesel

The Volkswagen Vanagon, or Transporter as it was known elsewhere in the world, was a box on wheels beloved by holiday makers, business owners and contractors involved in all sorts of trades. While the US was offered both passenger van and camper van variants, buyers in other markets could opt for a panel van, a three-door, double cab pickup (DoKa), or the variant we see here, a single cab pickup (SinKa). A few of these more utilitarian Transporters have made their way to North America, including this rig, a 1998 Single Cab Turbo Diesel with Syncro four-wheel drive.

The 1.6 liter turbocharged inline four diesel is mounted in the rear, similar to the usual water cooled, horizontally opposed four cylinder, or “Wasserboxer” that US customers were familiar with. The bed is rather different than what we are used to seeing with US pickups, as the sides fold down and there is a storage compartment with access on either side underneath the bed. This SinKa for sale in Ontario, Canada is a neat bit of kit for someone wanting a fuel efficient, go anywhere utility vehicle.

Year: 1990
Model: Transporter Single Cab Turbo Diesel
Engine: 1.6 liter turbocharged inline four diesel
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 120,000 mi
Price: No reserve auction

1990 Volkswagen Transporter Single Cab Turbo Diesel on eBay

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 10.55.16 AM

Very rare 1990 factory Turbo Diesel Syncro Single Cab Transporter. 207,000 kms/129K. 1.6L (JX code) Turbo Diesel, 4WD Syncro. Sold new in Germany as a workman’s truck. It was maintained through it’s life and drives very nicely it does however show regular “patina” as expected with a workhorses lifestyle. As the pictures show it still has plenty of curb appeal and generates compliments every time I drive it.

Mechanically, it starts excellent even in very cold weather. It has good power (similar or slightly better than a waterboxer) and yet turns excellent fuel economy. Some might claim to break the 30mpg mark but I’ve not quite been able to achieve this. The brakes have been inspected and renewed as necessary. They stop straight, firm and without shimmy/wobble. The steering feels tight and positive on the road. The trans shifts very smoothly between all gears, warm or cold. This is a non-locker unit. Oils and filters are fresh. Tires are brand new BF Goodrich All Terrains in 215/75 R15s. They’re mounted on super rare Australian 5 spoke 5×112 T3 Alloys. Been saving these rims for years for the right rig. Personally I think they suit the truck perfectly.

Exterior, it’s largely original paint with some touch ups over the years. It shows well. Windows have been tinted with quality Llumar tint. All lights, wipers and other safety gear works as it should. The undercarriage on this truck is very clean for its age. To me, it is the selling point of the truck. It must have never seen snow and seen only inside storage during it’s life in Germany. Only the lightest surface rust on certain components, the rest are original paint. I have detailed undercarriage pictures I can send to interested parties. Working underneath is a real treat, as components come apart like they’re supposed to! If you’ve ever worked on a salt encrusted vehicle you’ll know preciously what I mean. Please review the pictures closely, I’ve tried to take very detailed and honest pictures of the truck. It shows well – the pictures clearly show that but it is 23 years old and was used as it was intended and as such it’s not perfect nor is being advertised as such. For someone who want’s a clean solid Turbo Diesel 4wd truck they can actually use – this is perfect.

Interior. Three person set up. I added an upgraded T3 seat with armrests. I tried to get a set that closely matched the 2 person bench and think I achieved that goal as well as possible with factory North American VW offerings. All the glass is in good condition. Gauges all work as they should. Both windows rise/lower properly and both vent wings open/secure as they should. Door handles inner and outer work as they should. The factory rubber flooring shows pretty good considering it’s job and it’s age. It has a bit of green paint that never bothered me enough to scrape or paint black – I’ll leave that to the new owners discretion.

VIN: WV2ZZZ24ZLG094564. A 1990 model, not 1980 but eBay’s system doesn’t recognize imported VINs.

I have in my possession a clear Ontario registration/title. If the seller requires assistance with importing or shipping, I’ll gladly assist but the costs are the buyers exclusively. I have plenty of other pictures. I can send them to interested parties. Thank you for taking the time read my ad.

We featured a practically new DoKa with less than 50 km on the odometer that was offered via a reserve auction back in November and didn’t meet the reserve with a final bid around $42,000. That is certainly an outlier when it comes to these trucks. But don’t underestimate this SinKa. I’d be more apt to bid on a truck like this, as it has a patina becoming of a work truck. There’s been a fair amount of bidding interest, and if I had to wager a guess, I’d suspect this truck might change hands for a figure somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000.


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.


Insane $70,000 Volkswagen Syncro Westfalia

My last extreme Syncro Westfalia garnered many chortles as the $40k asking price overshadowed the thorough restoration. What’s the best way to convert the naysayers? Find an even more insanely priced Volkswagen van.

Today’s Vanagon is definitely more decked out, with solar panels, ladders, racks, rims, and the heart of a Subaru SVX. This interesting engine swap certainly accounts for a large portion of the seller’s expectations. While Subaru transplants are increasingly common in Vanagons for their power and reliability, people usually stick with the 4-cylinders. Clearly this Syncro is about going 5 blades, so he opted for one of the biggest engines Subaru ever produced, the SVX’s 3.3L flat six. 231hp should do just fine in place of the original 2.1L wasserboxer’s 95hp. Actually, it must make this thing downright beastly. With everything working (the previously-listed Syncro got nicked for no a/c) and 1600 shakedown miles on the engine conversion, this seems to be the real Vanagon for the megolomaniac.

1991 Volkswagen Syncro Westfalia w/ Subaru conversion for sale on eBay

From the clearly (and awesomely) demented seller:

Behold the Holy Grail of Syncro Westfalia vans made, the 1991…This van is a great example of a clean syncro westfalia with all the amenities. The van has been road tested for about 1600 miles from conversion completion, enough to work out all the kinks. Everything works on the van, power windows, locks, front and rear window washers, diff lock, decoupler, stove, sink, propane heat…Everything!
Below is a breakdown of all the items included in this build.

Many more photos at subagon.com

(5) 215 70 16 A/T BF Goodrich tires and wheels (powder coated black)
120 watt solar panel
2 stage custom paint (orley blue)
8′ Fiamma Awning
Propex Gas
Subagon Big Brake kit front
Subagon rear Disc Brake addition
built in inverter 1500 watt
cruise control
door alarm
drive shaft decoupler kit
rear differential lock
dual isolated battery
dynamat sound deadening material
rear bumper w/ hitch receiver, swing away tire carrier, fuel can carrier
fridge delete kit
front AC – rear AC
front bumper with bull bar
large 12v fridge
new interior
rock chip guard
svx motor install – 1996 with 50k miles
rebuilt transmission with taller 4th gear
old man emu suspension
2″ lift springs
tinted windows
truck mirrors
New rear cv joints – inner and outer
New 3 window pop top canvas
New Rear Flat sub woofer
Pop top Struts- (strongest)
Hijack lift mounted on front tube bumper
PIIA fog lights
Hot water heater and shower
Permanent Ladder
TDI Starter
Custom front skid plate / water proof lock box

Plus a bonus fun note from Subagon.com:

We built this van for a customer that spared no expense. He took the van on a few road trips and now wants us to build another one, the twin to this van but with a Subaru Diesel, a build that will land in a price range north of six figures.

Yes, that’s bonkers money for sure, but at least some rich dudes are spending their money in awesome and unique ways.

I know people will again question why anyone would spend this kind of money on a Vanagon. But honestly, I would much rather have this than a new Range Rover or X5 or Sprinter camper. Bespoke and thoroughly badass, the price is jaw-dropping, but so are the choices and execution. Next time you see any car on the road that costs $70k (and where I live, that’s >50% of the cars on the road), ask yourself if it’s cooler than this. Regardless of the car, I already know my answer.