1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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The license plate on the Vanagon is “STLMOVN,” an apt tag after 200k miles. Perhaps it also refers to its aged owners, who clearly have a sense of adventure but are passing on their great camper. Despite the higher mileage, the van looks extremely well cared for, with the seats having been covered, the exterior shining like new thanks to living in a garage, and a newer engine (though it’s unclear if that means rebuilt or fully new). It’s too bad “AC is not working” is the a main description line, because the more important news is that all of the appliances are like new. Something – perhaps the higher mileage? – seems to be scaring bidders away from the $14k starting point, but I think this is a very attractive Westy.

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1980 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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I typically steer clear of salvage titles for obvious reasons, but this Westy seems deserving of an understanding eye. For starters, I’m guessing that you could sneeze on a 1980 Vanagon and the insurance company would total it. A little engine fire in one of these oldies would certainly do the trick. Some kind soul saw fit to save it, however, and the world is a little better for it. The restoration is a mix of subtle and style, with the classic brown exterior looking stock and the plaid-plaid-plaid upholstery making you think this thing’s top speed is a few orders of magnitude higher than it actually is. The new interior, pop top, and exterior plugs all turn this Westy into a faux time capsule instead of a basket case. It may be aircooled, but this thing looks brand new!

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1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Carat Weekender

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My recent project of converting an inherited minivan into a camper has reinforced my interest in tin-top Vanagons. The Westy is certainly the way to go when a whole family is involved, multiplying the available sleeping space – and the price too. Besides affordability, tintops bring a much sleeker look, especially with subtle upgrades like today’s 1990 Carat Weekender. With a South African grille and 17″ Audi wheels, this Vanagon looks like it could be a Porsche Racing support vehicle. Alas, this is no Vanagon B32 (the Porsche-produced and -engined monster) but it’s still a sweet van that shows few, if any, signs of its 279k miles. Thankfully it won’t feel that well-traveled either, as it had an engine rebuild and transmission replacement 100k miles ago; it should have many roads and adventures ahead. While a lot of the Vanagon-love out there is steeped in overindulgence, this is a great example of how minimalism can still provide great versatility.

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Double Take: Volkswagen Transporter Diesel Pickups

I’ve seen a few DoKas running around this area recently, and can’t help but smile every time they rumble by. My affinity for Vanagons is well documented on this site, but the truck versions are a great mix of funny proportions, classic style, and no-nonsense pragmatism. With that combination, any engine other than a small four-cylinder diesel would seem excessive. Luckily we have two clean examples coming from the same seller in New Jersey that – considering how small the niche market of T3 Diesel Pickups is – provide interesting options for the buyer to decide on. Double cab or single? All-original or spruced up? Turbo or no? Crazy-low mileage, or just very low? Tough choices in this Transporter Pickup Showdown!

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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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro on eBay

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1964 Volkswagen Type 2 Double Cab

If it weren’t for trade wars, we might still be able to buy Volkswagen commercial vehicles in the US to this day. Every time I see articles on social media from Volkswagen touting new developments with their Transporter range, I pine for the days when you could still buy a Eurovan stateside. Sure, these vans always lurked at the back of the showroom, but I always marveled at how functional and sturdy they were. With everyone clamoring to buy SUVs this was an unorthodox choice for a people mover, but you still seem them on the road occasionally. Something about them still appeals to the inner anorak in me.

Dial back a few decades before the Chicken Tax came into effect, and you could spec a pickup body based on the old Volkswagen Bus. This 1964 Type 2 Double Cab for sale in Minnesota has an upgraded 12 volt electrical system, newly rebuilt 1600cc motor and wears a patina that wouldn’t make you shy using it for hauling duties.

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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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Convertible Week: 1976 Volkswagen Ragtop Bus

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Few things say “summer love” like a ragtop VW Bus, elevating the free-love van to the next level by opening up the whole roof like the tin can that it is and creating huge apertures allowing for the sun to flow in and your favorite herbal vapors to flow out. This bus has been beautifully restored with a level of modification that helps it look exceptional without going over the top. The exterior looks perfect in tan and black over Porsche Empi wheels and is backed up by a 2.0-liter Porsche motor. The interior nicely flips the color scheme for black leather and tan piping on a limo-style dual couch setup in the back, creating a very inviting space to chill. The tasteful and detail-oriented restoration means the seller is probably looking for a hefty price, but in return for the value of several bricks of contraband you’ll get one of the nicest T2 Buses we’ve seen.

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1983 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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Today we have a gorgeously restored Westy that ticks just about every box. Featuring a litany of perfect modifications, the exterior is highlighted by an OEM tan repaint, tough and functional Rocky Mountain bumpers, good-looking Passat 16″ wheels, and a GoWesty lift kit for better clearance and that great Syncro look. Under the rear sits a like-new 2.4 liter wasserboxer from GoWesty connected to a rebuilt transmission. The interior looks pretty original but decent for nearly 200k miles, and just about everything functions minus the a/c. Locked, not quite stock, and ready to rock, this is about as ready-for-fun as the come.

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1982 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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As I continue my search for a van to support adventures without breaking the bank, it’s fun to happen upon examples like today’s which have good bones and a little work to be done, all at a reasonable price. This van was acquired by a VW tech from an older guy who had bit off more than he could chew, and now it has a rebuilt engine and restored running gear. The Westfalia interior pieces will need work to be fully installed and operating, but on a clean van like this from a seller that sounds like he’s expecting something along the lines of $10k, it’s a heck of a deal.

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