1992 Volkswagen Transporter DoKa

The Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado have been at the top of the list of best selling vehicles in the US for years. It’s no secret Americans love their full sized pickups, but what if you live in the US and don’t necessarily need the stump pulling torque and four-wheel drive many of these trucks offer? What if you just want something that offers utility, a cab that seats more than two (or three in some cases) but you still need a traditional, large truck bed? Your choices are slim. Compact pickups are disappearing from the landscape faster than a pack of smokes at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Many of the versatile work vehicles offered around the world were not sold here, largely due to the chicken tax imposed under President Lyndon B. Johnson which slapped a stiff tariff on importers of light trucks.

So what to do, then? Well, we’ve seen a few Volkswagen T3 Transporter single and double cab variants crop up from time to time here at GSFSB, but this is the first time we’ve seen the workhorse version of its successor, the T4 Transporter. This T4 Transporter DoKa, or double cab, is on offer in British Columbia.

Year: 1992
Model: Transporter DoKa
Engine: 2.5 liter inline five
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 237,510 km (~ 148,500 miles)
Price: Reserve auction

1992 Volkswagen Transporter DoKa on eBay

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This 1992 VW Transporter Double Cab (Doka) is very rare in North America. Research indicates that only 22 were imported and all of those went to Canada. No Double Cabs of any other year in the VW T4 model run (1990-2003) were imported. Drivetrain and some body parts are readily available in North America as it was imported under the name Eurovan as a camper and passenger vehicle. This truck has the all-important USEPQ compliance sticker under the hood meaning that it can legally be exported from Canada to the USA.

This vehicle was first owned by a VW dealer in Victoria, BC and used for parts delivery. The next owner used it for his contracting company on Vancouver Island and the third owner also had a small contracting company located in Vancouver, BC. It spent its life in West Coast conditions with no salt used on the roads and shows no rust anywhere. The speedo reads in Km and shows 237,510 which is about 148,500 miles.

It has a few small dings and scratches in the original paint from its use over the 21 years but is very clean inside and out. The windshield and all other glass is perfect. It has a new wooden deck (Fir) which measures 6’ wide and 7’ long. Both sides and the tailgate fold down for access. With seatbelts for five, it can carry the whole crew. The rear seat can be removed for carrying tools etc.

The 2.5 litre in-line 5 cyl gasoline engine runs great and the 5-speed manual gearbox and clutch operate as they should. It is unusual in that it is a front wheel drive pickup truck. In Europe these trucks are known for being very rugged and lasting over 400,000 km. It has excellent Michelin tires, new plugs, cap and rotor and is ready for the road.

It is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada but with proper documentation I can arrange exportation and shipping to the US at the buyer’s expense.

This is another one of those cars that is hard to price, as they aren’t uncommon in other parts of the world but are pretty much unobtainable in North America. The 1990 T3 single cab turbo diesel we featured earlier this month wound up selling for $9,500 after 33 bids. While this T4 adds a bit of versatility with the double cab, some may prefer the “wasserboxer” flat four engines, or the diesels that were available in some, like the one we featured. While it is being auctioned with a reserve, I’d suspect this car might bring $12,000 to $15,000 at the high end, considering the mileage is closing in on 150,000.

-Paul

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

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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.

-Paul

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.

-Brian

1961 Volkswagen Single Cab

Based on the T2 Transporter, the Single Cab was a utility vehicle, that because of its rear engine layout had many great features that made it one of the best utility vehicles of its day. In order to accomodate the the height of the rear engine, the bed floor of the  Single Cab had to be raised. At first inspection this would look like an issue, however, it resulted in 2 great innovations that made these trucks more usable than many others of the day.

Because of the bed height, VW added fold down gates on the bed to make accessing cargo easier. This also gave the truck the capability of carrying loads wider than the bed floor. Another added benefit of the raised bed height is the “treasure chest” storage area, a weather tight area beneath the bed between the cab and the engine.

These design features on the T2 Single/Double Cabs made them great little workers. This clean original Single cab for sale in Victorville, California is a good example of a usable vintage VW.

1961 Volkswagen Single Cab on eBay

Hello, Up for sale is a 1961 VW Bus Transporter Single Cab powered by a 1776 engine which runs strong. A true vintage “peace” of history with a clean title. This vehicle has the original historical plates. The body is straight with some minor rust on the roof. A replacement roof will be included with this amazing piece of history. This is a head turner!!! Good Luck!!!

Finding one of these trucks that isn’t a total rot box is no easy task these days.  As is the case with any VW, the epicenter for clean rust-free examples is California.  While this truck isn’t perfect, it’s in the right condition for someone that likes to drive and tinker with their cars.  This is the type of truck I’d love to have for VW shows, and home depot runs.

Currently the bid is at $4,000, and the reserve has not been met. Based on what these trucks are going for, I’d expect one in this condition to go in the $6,500 to $7,000 ballpark. Whether or not it sells will depend on how realistic the seller is with the reserve.

-Brian

2002 Volkswagen Eurovan GLS

I find it ironic that the company which popularized the small van over 60 years ago turned to another manufacturer when it came time to reintroduce a van to the US market. But that’s exactly what Volkswagen has done. The Routan is nothing more than a rebadged Dodge Caravan. Volkswagen projected they would sell around 45,000 of these vans in the first year, but they were only able to move a little more than 14,000 units. Perhaps this is automotive karma for this cop out of a product offering? Whatever the case may be, this has me questioning whether Volkswagen would have been better off offering the latest generation of what we see here for sale in Missouri, the Eurovan, or Transporter, as it is known elsewhere in the world.

This 2002 model represents the second to last year that the Eurovan was offered stateside. The last of the Eurovans featured the 2.8 liter VR6 engine with a four-speed automatic as the only transmission choice. Versus the earlier Eurovans with the anemic 2.5 liter five cylinder engine, these vans could at least get out of their way.

2002 Volkswagen Eurovan GLS on VW Vortex

The van was purchased new by my father in Feb. ’02 and then I purchased it from him in about 2 ½ years ago. It had Ziebart rust protection installed before delivery. I have complete history from the window sticker to the most recent repair. Everything works perfectly and it needs nothing. It passed full safety and emission inspections at the end of July.

Although all repairs are documented, these are a few of the most recent and major:

Nokian entyre tires (proper load rating) were installed in March of ’11.

June of this year (3k miles ago) I replaced all motor mounts, serviced transmission (fluid and filter), and replaced all brake pads (all parts purchased from Europarts SD)

Last week I replaced the alternator. A/C compressor, drier, expansion valve, and pressure switch were all replaced at the dealer in Aug. ’05. The van is in excellent condition. The inside is in great shape, but does have some wear/stains on the carpet. The hood has some rock chips that have been touched-up. The only modifications are a six-disc CD changer (dealer installed) and installation of clear corner marker lights in the front (I still have the OE amber). Although I am the second owner, it has been in my family its entire life. I would not hesitate to drive this van anywhere (I drove it to D.C. this summer)! Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I am located just outside of St. Louis.

It’s hard to find Eurovans with low mileage, as these haulers are often employed for long distance and vacation travel. The asking price of $7,900 seems reasonable in light of the condition and one family history and it’s always a good sign to see that the seller is willing to negotiate. The Eurovan certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to a family hauler, but for those who want to be different, this might just be the ticket.

-Paul

The Ultimate RV: 1987 VW Vanagon Syncro Westfalia

For reasons too complicated to fully explain here, a close friend recently bought an $800 RV and moved to Neah Bay, WA, essentially the northwestern-most tip of the US. We went and visited him to see exactly how this RV situation was going to work out and offer our condolences. Side note, on the way out we found the best driving road I’ve ever been on, Highway 112 – I hope everyone can someday experience the empty, smooth pavement with 180-degree bends and awesome elevation changes. Anyway, what was I talking about?

Right, RVs. So the RV turned out to be a great deal, redone paneling, everything worked, runs, etc., which I wouldn’t expect from an $800 car let alone a livingmobile. But seeing it, as well as the myriad forms of RV I saw on my road trip back to CA from Washington, made me wonder what kind of vehicle I would want to live in. Real RVs are out due to size and self-respect issues. Truck campers seem silly. I think I’d rather get a decked-out Syncro Westfalia and explore the globe. Go-anywhere (from off-road to normal parking lots), sleep comfortably, and do it in style.

The only issue is Westys don’t cost $800. Or $8000. For the really good ones, you’re looking at over $30k. Such is the case with today’s immaculate, totally-redone Syncro. Bidding is only to $13k but Buy-It-Now is an eye-opening $40,000. Less than a Sprinter conversion van, but definitely not the cheap way to go RVing. If you’ve got a penchant for German cars like I do though, it’s the only way to go.

1987 VW Vanagon Syncro Westfalia for sale on eBay


The list of how to do a Vanagon right:

Just passed CA smog and is registered through June of 2013. Within the last 6 months I have done the following to make sure this beautiful Syncro makes it another 25+ years!

Exterior:
Brand new paint (Done the right way – base and clear coat, new seam sealer, removed all windows, etc.)
All new window, door handle, and wiper arm seals.
All new front window seals and vent wing seals.
New window tint.
Powder coated bumpers, door handles, wiper arms, and wind wings.
New pop top, skylight, and luggage rack seals.
New stainless steel luggage rack hardware.
New skylight and hardware.
All new GoWesty hook-up boxes! (New highly improved design!!!)

Interior:
All new upholstery.
Re-built foam in front seats and installed additional foam for lower back lumbar support.
Steam cleaned all carpets, cleaned and bleached interior of pop top, machine washed all curtains.
New 3-window pop top tent.
New GoWesty 2nd battery and 2nd battery wiring system.
New main battery..
Powder coated all interior metal pieces (stove face, table legs, door sill, etc.).
Serviced fridge with GoWesty refrigerator pump re-build kit.
New sink tank pump, replaced all tubing, and cleaned and bleached water tank.
New ignition switch.
GoWesty high power head light kit (huge improvement over stock lights!).
Alpine stereo with CD and I-Pod connector. Infinity front speakers and new rear speakers.
AC is intact but does not blow cold (probably needs a re-charge).

Engine/Mechanical:
Engine is from a low mileage 91 Vanagon Syncro (was removed for an engine conversion).
Approximately 100K miles on the engine. Heads were re-built within the last 15K miles.
The speedometer cable was broken when I bought the van so not sure of the true mileage on the body. The odometer reads 116K.
New cap, rotor, plugs, wires, and belts.
Cooling system was flushed and various coolant lines were replaced. Re-enforced coolant pipe ends.
Re-built rear locker assembly, new vacuum actuator (works great and engages/disengages quickly).
New clutch within the last 15K miles.
New throw-out bearing.
Front diff is quiet and VC works.
New Red Line MT 90 gear oil in transmission and front differential.
GoWesty “Doka” style driveshaft.
All new front CV Joints, grease, boots, bolts, and axles. (German not Empi!)
Re-packed rear CV Joints, new boots, bolts, and grease.
New front discs, pads, and soft brake lines.
New rear drums, shoes, wheel cylinders, soft brake lines, and hard lines.
New clutch slave cylinder.
Removed and re-sealed gas tank. All new gas tank fuel lines, fuel level indicator, and fuel filter.
Stainless steel gas tank straps.
New tie rod ends.
14″ Vanagon alloy rims with Nokian Hakkapeliitta tires in almost new condition.
KYB gas shocks and stock Syncro springs.

I’m sure there’s something else I left out too!

Really an amazing van. Many are fully decked out with attachments, gas tanks, rhino bars, etc., but it’s pretty awesome to see one bare and beautiful and ready for a new owner. Is someone going to cough up that $40k for the honor? Probably not on eBay, but shockingly enough there really is a market for $40k-Vanagons, so I’m guessing it will find an appreciative home soon enough.

-NR

2011 TH Automobile Volkswagen T5 Transporter

The Volkswagen Transporter has long been a commercial workhorse the world over. But that hasn’t stopped tuners from having a crack at this rather pedestrian looking box. Back in the 1980s, Porsche built a T3 Transporter based “B32,” essentially a Volkswagen Transporter with a 3.2 liter flat six engine from the 911 Carrera at the time. More than just a prototype, Porsche built 11 of these vans as support vehicles for the newly developed Group B 959 which was competing in the Paris Dakkar Rally.

Fast forward two generations later, and the formula for putting a Porsche mill in the back of a Transporter still seems attractive. A company called TH Automobile has undertaken a monumental task in turning the front-wheel drive T5 Transporter into a rear engined beast, replete with the 3.6 liter, twin turbocharged flat six from the Porsche 911 produced between 2004 and 2008. With 480 horsepower on tap, 60 mph arrives in under five seconds with a top speed of over 170 mph. Impressive numbers for what is not the most aerodynamic vehicle out there.

While we as Americans won’t have much of a chance importing a stealth van like this anytime soon, it’s nice to occasionally look across the pond and see what forbidden fruit is out there.

2011 TH Automobile Volkswagen T5 Transporter on Mobile.de

The TH2 is made ​​by hand. The TH Automobile Company is a well known car factory in Berlin. Here was manufactured, among other things, the fastest bus in the world (311 km/h). This car is built forge T5 Bus with Porsche Turbo technology for true individualists. The motor is always in the back of the T5! Driving pleasure is guaranteed. This has everything: luxury, space, athleticism, speed and on request relaxed driving. Add to that a very good quality. Since the list is very long, please call with any questions or simply browse on www.thautomobile.de.

At over €100,000, there are a ton of other fast cars that one could choose from, but probably none that could seat six and carry everyone’s luggage. I’m a huge fan of vehicles like this that hide their true aggressive nature. In this subtle shade of brown, one would never suspect you could blow the doors off almost anything that might roll up along side of you.

-Paul

1991 Volkswagen T3 Transporter DoKa

The Volkswagen Transporter, in particular, the commercial variants, are one of those vehicles that is famous most everywhere except the United States. This is a shame, because the few families and outdoor enthusiasts that opted for the Volkswagen Vanagon over more conventional vans came to appreciate these vans for their practicality and durability. Vanagons, Westfalia Campers and Transporters have been gaining ground in terms of value in the past few years, as these represent the last of the rear engined Volkswagens. Here is an amazingly original T3 DoKa (German for Doppelkabine, or Double Cab) that presents like new for sale in Atlanta.

1991 Volkswagen T3 Transporter DoKa on eBay

The seller states:

Never available in the US from the factory, the VW DoKa is a very rare machine, even in Europe. This 1991 model is one of the very last built, and shows just over 15,000 original kilometers (not miles!) from new. Highly desirable today, it also includes all the original documents, booklets, manuals, and even the original window sticker and bill of sale, making it an awesome collectable for any VW fan. Obviously the DoKa is built on the T3 Transporter platform, known as the Vanagon in North America. If there’s ever been a more versatile commercial vehicle, I can’t imagine what it might be. Fortunately, this one appears to have never worked a day in its life, and has been expertly preserved and maintained since new.

The paint is 100% original, the body panels are super-clean, and there’s not a trace of rust or damage anywhere. Even the color, which is a vivid blue, is just what you’d imagine slogging along a narrow European street somewhere early in the morning, doing its job. Personally, I love the all-business look of this truck, with form following function and a minimum of frills. You could look at this little trucklet for hours and keep finding new details that were the result of some engineering solution rather than a stylist’s pen, which is probably why these are so beloved. The cab is spacious and bright, more akin to the van on which it is based than, say, a modern extended cab pickup. The commanding seating position is up high with a great view of the road, and with no hood, this truck is a snap to maneuver.

The seats are firm in typical German fashion, but that also means they’re all-day comfortable. Even the back seat is surprisingly spacious once you clamor back there through the third door mounted on the passenger’s side. Gauges are basic, and the speedometer reading in KPH is another reminder that this truck was never available in the US. Interesting options in the bare-bones cabin include heated seats, an AM/FM/cassette stereo system, as well as power brakes. With the lightweight front end, however, power steering is unnecessary and it gives the little truck surprisingly sharp reflexes. Power comes from VW’s traditional 2-liter air-cooled flat-four, which makes a modest 70 horsepower driving through a 4-speed manual transmission.

With an instantly-recognizable sound and surprisingly good torque in the lower gears, the DoKa squirts through traffic easily and offers stable, trusty handling empty or loaded. This one is just as clean underneath as it is up top, and although it has low mileage, it has not been neglected or stored for a decade, so it is mechanically extremely sound. For authenticity hounds, even the Continental radial tires appear to be the original type and size mounted on plain steel wheels. For VW enthusiasts, this is a rare treat, and it’s likely that it won’t stick around long once it hits the Internet.

We’ve seen a few T3 trucks here on GCFSB and this is arguably one of the best we’ve featured. While you could buy a number of new, V8 engined pickups, this VW truck is like new and rather versatile with its unique bed. You won’t blow the doors off people at stop lights or pull stumps like some diesel engined trucks, but a vehicle like this is just as cool and utilitarian all the same.

-Paul

1985 Volkswagen Transporter 2 door truck

For over 60 years, the Volkswagen Transporter has been famous for being a workhorse the world over. Recently, Volkswagen has abandoned efforts to market the Transporter in the United States, where it was known as the Vanagon and later the Eurovan. That is a shame because all we are left with is a poor effort at badge engineering by taking a Chrysler minivan and slapping a Volkswagen badge on it. When will manufacturers learn? The Transporter featured below is the seldom seen in the US truck version and has undergone an overhaul, complete with a Subaru 2.5 RS engine swap.

The seller states:

1985 VW Vanagon Single Cab Pickup Ground up “restosturbish” (part restore, part refurbish). 2.5L Subaru Impreza RS motor installed (6,200 miles on motor) Custom installed A/C. Rebuilt 4 speed transmission KEP stage 2 clutch. New CV joints, brakes, master cylinder and clutch slave. Dash has speedo and clock (no tach). Custom roll cage and driving lights modeled after VW Tristar. Custom all weather fabric pickup bed cover. Custom oak wood slats install on pickup bed. Modified vehicle interior out of Vanagon pasenger van. Vehicle driven 1,200 miles since restosturbish. Speedo mileage is not actual. Pickup will have genuine heavy duty VW Vanagon mudflaps installed prior to shipping.

I’ve seen truck versions of the Transporter sell for well into the $20,000 range, with some clean examples going for $30,000 and higher. While this isn’t an original example, I am intrigued by the Subaru engine and the reliability that would come along with it. Compact pickup trucks have recently been disappearing from the automotive landscape here in the US, and while this isn’t the smallest of trucks, this T3 sure makes for an interesting proposition and is one that would be durable enough to stand the test of time.

-Paul