1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro Tintop

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The seller of this van affectionately calls it “Big Ugly” after 15 years of rough and tumble ownership. There’s plenty of blemishes and rusty seams to make it not just a clever name, but if you’re not too worried about aesthetics this van has a lot going for it. A Westy kitchenette is installed and fully functional and it runs well. He says it needs a few coolant hoses and possibly other things he doesn’t know about, but if you purchase Big Ugly at the Buy It Now of $12,350 he’ll take it in and get them done along with up to $2k of any other repairs. Bidding is currently closer to $5k right now, so maybe some haggling needs to be done on the phone. Anywhere in that range, it’s a lot cheaper than 95% of the Syncro vans you see.

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1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

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As I fantasized the other week about rocking a Golf Country into the mountains, I didn’t really account for the limiting factors of a lifted hatchback. Yes, it can probably get you and a couple of friends over and through just about anything, but what about your stuff? Or your other friends? Hatchbacks are certainly known for utility, but when you start talking sleds, camp stoves, extra clothes, and maybe more than 4 people, you’re either going to have the biggest roof rack known to man or have to look at a bigger automobile.

Back, then, to most popular Syncro, the Vanagon! This isn’t a Westy, just a tintop, of which we’ve seen some decent examples before. An all-wheel drive tin box that can carry 7 comfortably, and this one has a burly cargo rack on top that can gather any and all snow toys you need. It’s not as fancy as some nor does it have the pop-top, but that cuts the price by over half. It’s not as immaculate as the Golf Country, with some general interior wear and a rebuilt engine and transmission a few years ago, but it looks pretty nice for 220k miles and sports some quality upgrades like Emu shocks and disc brakes. There’s plenty to do to make it cleaner and personalized, but it’s a great start on a van that could take winter adventures to the next level.

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1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

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We’ve featured a few Tintop Syncros here before, and they present an interesting alternative to the more commonly seen (and voraciously desired) Syncro Westy. They lack the pop-top and its attendant hipness, height advantages, and sleeping space, but cut a slick line accentuating the box-on-wheels. The Syncro helps this out, lifting it up like the control cabin of an AT-AT in The Empire Strikes Back. Everything looks to be in order on this 95k-mile example, especially with new wheels, bumpers, and awning. It may be the 7-seat arrangement, making camper conversion a little more involved, but it could also serve as the coolest mountain shuttle out there.

Click for details: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro on eBay

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