1991 Volkswagen DoKa Tristar Syncro

$_57 (1)

We’ve seen all sorts of DoKas here, from ex-military workers to high-dollar Tristar examples. The Tristar package brought nicer upholstery and full carpeting, creating a more comfortable environment than the typical metal-and-floor mats worktruck interior. This DoKa also has Syncro, adding a few more items to its long list of capabilities. You could take on just about any light-duty work or off-roading in this truck, but you might be hesitant to put it in harm’s way due to the amazing condition. 70k miles total miles would be low on its own, but this DoKa has a new engine, suspension, brakes, fuel system, and cooling system. The original exterior paint looks great and the repainted bed looks even better. Each extra word on this verbose model name adds serious value, and the seller claims it has been professionally appraised for almost $80k!

Click for details: 1991 Volkswagen DoKa Tristar Syncro on eBay

Continue reading

1988 Volkswagen T3 Tristar DoKa

$_57 (5)

It’s always a fun day when you see a DoKa in real person. These funny Vanagaminos definitely cut a unique profile, always looking like they should be a commercial vehicle delivering for a home-made hipster artisan honey and hand-hewn furniture outfit. Today’s example was imported from Germany and given a full mechanical restoration along with a new GoWesty engine. That all sounds pretty great until the seller comes right out and says he’s going to break the cardinal rule of used-car pricing: ask for exactly what he put in. It was clearly quite an undertaking to ship this thing from Germany and then get all of its moving bits redone, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get all of that money you spent on labor, shipping, etc. back in your pocket. Exterior blemishes underscore the point, showing that this is a nice but imperfect DoKa proposition.

Click for details: 1988 Volkswagen T3 Tristar DoKa on eBay

Continue reading

1991 Volkswagen DoKa Tristar Syncro

There’s been some chatter about whether the US government will end the infamous chicken tax, a tariff placed on potato starch, brandy and, oddly enough, light trucks during the Johnson administration. Given the limited variety of new compact pickups available to consumers, a repeal of this tax would be a boon for consumers, as there are a number of attractive options from foreign manufacturers, most notably Volkswagen, with their new pickup, the Amorak. While Volkswagen fans dream of the day they could trailer their vintage Mk1 and Mk2 iron behind a pickup truck wearing the same badge, they can satisfy their cravings with this T3 Double Cab Tristar Syncro for sale in San Diego.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen Tristar Syncro on eBay

Continue reading

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

1990 Volkswagen Doka Syncro Tristar

A few months back we featured a few VW T3 Dokas here and here, and yet another one has cropped up for sale on The Samba, this one relatively cheaper than what we have seen lately:

1990 Volkswagen Syncro Tristar on The Samba

The seller states:

1990 Syncro Tristar 2.1 wbx

Yes, a 4 door, 4 wheel drive Volkswagen pickup truck, one of only 500 ever made. The Tristar is the top of the line in the doublecabs. It’s easy to make a Tristar more off road capable, but very difficult to turn a regular doublecab into a Tristar loaded with following options in addition to other Tristar standard options:

factory sunroof
factory anti lock brakes
factory fog lights
antenna in windshield
rear window defrost
power windows, locks, mirrors
aftermarket cruise
H4 headlights
headlight washers
power steering
factory tow hitch
sliding rear windows
factory rear bench seat belts for three
locking rear differential

Truck has dents, scratches, and other exterior blemishes. Repaint or not. Very little rust. Driveshaft is currently in place and vibration free. Titled and registered in California. Comes with spare vinyl rear bench, great for dogs or messy kids.

Price does not include the 16″ rims as shown. Truck will come with stock 14″ rims/tires to match stock 4:86 transmission. I have some 15″ Ronal rims which would look great on this truck and would still match standard gearing. Optional higher price of $17,900 will include a fresh rebuilt 5:43 drivetrain w/ rear locker , decoupler and front locker (three knob setup) 16″ rims w/ 225/75/16 tires as shown, coilover suspension. New 2.1 motor was installed in Germany, runs strong.

Rare opportunity to own a great driving practical collectable that turn heads ! This rare truck will hold it’s value over time. Offered for a bargain price because of the dents which can easily be pulled out. Almost no seam rust which is very common in doublecabs. Sorry, no trades, serious buyers only please.

While I’m not a truck person, these things have that similar basic appeal that draws me to the Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen. Someone out there is sure to snap this Doka up at this price and it will more than likely soldier on for many years to come.

-Paul

1991 VW Doka Vanagon Truck for Sale

Since everyone seemed to be so upset by the price of the last VW Van I posted, I figured I’d post a very rare example at a much more reasonable price: just $57k.

1991 VW Vanagon DOKA Tristar Syncro for sale

Before everyone gets their collective leiderhosen in bunches, I’ll let the seller explain WHY this VW is deserving of a such a price.  It’s a long but entertaining read, and I highly recommend it to fans of obscure VW knowledge.

These trucks are pretty common all over the world, EXCEPT in the USA. VW technically did not import ANY Vanagon trucks into the USA. This is one of 18 that was brought into Canada under very special circumstances. Indeed, there is a great story behind this Vanagon TriStar Double Cab (DOKA) Syncro (4WD) truck.

As the story goes, there once was an oil exploration company in Canada that ordered 18 Syncro DOKAs just like this one. And, they were not just ANY Syncro DOKAs, but all TriStar models—more on that in a moment. The company ended up going out of business before the trucks arrived. So, VW of North America ended up selling these 18 trucks through their distributors in Canada.

Well, one of the ex-employees of the company snagged two of these, and brought them legally back home to Southern California. Check out the photos of the current California title. That is right: This is one of those 18 DOKAs made with the correct VIN for North America. This may seem like an inconsequential detail—but it is actually quite a big deal in this case, because this DOKA is diesel powered. Currently, it is not possible to bring a diesel powered vehicle into California if the vehicle in question was not a model offered somewhere else in the USA. NO WAY. So, the first amazing thing about this DOKA is that it is a totally LEGALLY REGISTERED DIESEL: That alone would be crazy enough, but it gets better…

Every DOKA ever made, except for these 18, was sold outside the USA. They were sold in Northern Europe and Scandinavia, and were mostly work trucks, put into service in severe weather (especially the Syncro models). Of the 18 that made it to North America, most were sold in Canada. What does this mean? It means that just about every DOKA ever made is now a rust bucket. By contrast, thistruck has lived all its life in Southern California, and has spent its time on the freeway. Therefore: NO RUST. Anybody who has ever spent time staring at a DOKA, like me, is simply amazed by how incredibly rust free this example is. But wait, it gets better…

This is not just any ol’ DOKA. This is a TriStar. So, unlike 90% of all VW DOKAs ever made that were basically 3-door, stripped-down work trucks, the TriStars were built super plush. TriStar means it has every factory option, including:

• Full plush cloth interior
• Padded dash
• Wall-to-wall carpet
• Heated driver’s seat
• Rear window defroster
• Cruise control
• Arm rests on both front seats
• Power windows
• Rear differential lock
• And last but not least: FOUR DOORS

And, that’s not all…

The guy we got this from is a super duper, over-the-top Vanagon NUT. He went totally overboard and did the following:

– Complete repaint inside and out to factory color
– Gray color redone all around the bottom
– Lots of seals and gaskets replaced
– All new carpet throughout
– Syncro.Org springs
– Old Man Emu shocks
– All new brakes
– Driveshaft decoupler (still has viscous coupler)
– Nice stereo with new larger speakers under rear seat
– All new power door lock system with remote entry

PLUS, HE ADDED:

– Air conditioning system (that kicks ass, BTW)
– Fresh transaxle with much taller 3rd and 4th gears, for the…

LAST BUT NOT LEAST:

– 1.9 liter Turbo Direct Injection (TDI) diesel engine with intercooler

Now, a few words about the AC and TDI engine:

AC in a DOKA? That is not possible…. that is, unless you are some sort of super duper, over-the-top Vanagon NUT. The owner had the AC unit painstakingly removed from an early 80s Vanagon, painted to match the interior scheme, and custom-installed so it looks like it came that way from the factory. Now, we have added NORMAL, FACTORY AC into a run-of-the-mill Westy that did not have it. It was a fairly straight forward job, but still cost north of $5k—all said and done. I just can’t IMAGINE how much time THIS took.

So, again, I admit that this kind of car is highly overpriced for most people. However, there is a dedicated group out there for whom the words DOKA, Syncro, and TDI are holy terms and nearly soul-shatteringly awesome when combined altogether.  For someone out there, this rare gem is easily worth its price.

-NR