1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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As a counterpoint to the gold Syncro earlier, here we have a non-Syncro, non-kitchened Westfalia, giving a few more sleeping options without overcomplicating the interior. It may not be quite as original – the rear seats look nicely recovered and the “new engine” leaves more questions than answers – but there’s no insane asking price here. The engine (listed in “item specifics” as a 6-cylinder, but the description sounds more like it’s a rebuild?) has just 18k miles on it, a positive regardless of engine size. It’s by no means perfect, but behind the worn paint and question marks, there may just be a diamond Westy in the rough.

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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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1991 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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Thanks to a childhood friend’s family having a Vanagon in the exact same spec, this dark blue, final-year Westy (for the U.S.) paints the same picture as the entry for “Vanagon” in my personal car encyclopedia. It’s a very nice, mellow blue that teams up with body-colored mirrors and perfect (if small) OEM 5-spokes to accomplish a subtle aesthetic that is both handsome and unassuming. Fully loaded and fully functional, it’s covered just over 100k miles and is significantly more original than most nice Westfalias we see. The care to keep it looking good and performing perfectly is clear, but its all-originality helps it occupy a nice middle ground in terms of asking price.

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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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1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro

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When certain dream cars end up way more expensive than you ever thought they’d be, you’re forced to decide if you’ll wait until you make tons of money (which may never happen), or make some compromises and try to get an example you can enjoy as soon as possible. Maybe it’s just a high-miled chassis with a rebuilt engine, but when those are going for as much as a brand new GTI, what do you do? The ultimate value-killing rebuilt title is a big gamble, but with 70k miles enjoyed post-rebuild and a reserve of “well below $30k,” it may just be the best overall value for a Westy Syncro out there.

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1987 Volkswagen Westfalia Biodiesel

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We’ve seen some great diesel Westies here, but today’s brings the added benefits of a biodiesel conversion. Built by a reputable Bay Area VW mechanic for himself, it’s clean through and through and has a nearly-new TDI swap. Now you can get over 30 mpg in your camper AND have the delicious smell of french fries follow you wherever you go! A solar roof adds to the green credentials, and some other nicely refreshed parts like a new tent make it a pretty great package. Bidders are going a bit wild, with a huge amount of bids pushing this up into top non-Syncro territory.

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1980 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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In my continuing exploration of the extremes of the Westfalia spectrum, today we have an extremely inexpensive aircooled model with a recently rebuilt engine and transmission highlighting its plausibility as a great starting point for an enthusiastic but frugal Vanagon enthusiast. The refrigerator and the stove don’t work, but for just $6,500 you get a decent looking, strong-running van and can improve the camping functionality as you go. Compared to most of the Westies out there, the buckets of money you’ll save on this one should leave plenty for the fix-it fund – or for a nice cooler and kerosene camping stove.

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1980 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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Many of my current escapist daydreams involve Vanagons, and while it’s fun to imagine going huge and having a low-mileage Syncro Westy, we all know those are some of the most expensive 80s Germans out there. In the face of that extreme investment, I’m ok bringing my expectations back down to earth and just looking for a decent, inexpensive van that can serve as a home away from home for a while. In that case, finding a lower-mileage example that has good bones but could use some love seems like the pragmatic starting point. Despite some cosmetic blemishes, everything on this aircooled Westy works and it’s only covered 92k miles. Sounds like a lot of fun for well under ten grand!

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1989 Volkswagen Caravelle Syncro

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Most of the T3 Syncros we see in the US are megacampers, done up with lots of GoWesty parts to take a shot at being the toughest van out there. Today’s Syncro used to belong to a German fire department but comes delightfully bare; a tin top with standard wheels and hubcaps keep it extra stock, with just the white top and bright red paint alluding to its public service history. There’s no camper or even bed in the back, but you can seat 9 people in this thing! With fewer than 50k miles, it’d go for something crazy on this side of the pond, but in Germany the T3 supply helps keep prices low.

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