1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Carat

There is one vehicle I’ve been on the lookout for ever since I started writing for GCFSB. The Porsche B32. Not familiar with this Porsche? Well, that’s because it really isn’t a Porsche. Rather, it’s a Volkswagen T3 Transporter, or Vanagon, as we knew them in the US market, with a Porsche heart. Motivated by a 3.2 liter flat-6 out of a 911 Carrera, this was one quick people mover. Only a handful of these über Vanagons were devised as a chase vehicle for the Porsche Group B 959s competing in the Paris Dakar Rally. The chances of getting your hands on a B32 are highly unlikely, but a few have attempted the Porsche flat-6 conversion themselves. If speed isn’t your concern but you like the aggressive B32 look, this 1990 Vanagon Carat may be the ticket.

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1985 Volkswagen DoKa VR6 Swap

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In America, DoKas are so rare that even mediocre examples (albeit with a GoWesty engine) can go for almost $40k. In Germany, you can get this amazing VR6’d DoKa for less than $10k. The matte/murdered-out look is a bit past its prime, but if any sleeper deserves a mean rattle-can job, it’s a crew-cab VW van-truck with more than twice its original horsepower. The seats have been nicely recovered, highlighting an interior that is functional if not cohesive. Double bonus points for the home-brew see-through engine cover. Like a Ferrari, but with a window from West Marine! All told, this is a Vanagamino that isn’t clean or perfect, but it’s not trying to be either. It’s made to blow minds and scare children.

Click for details: 1985 Volkswagen T3 DoKa on mobil.de

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1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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While most clean Westfalias come on the market with strong asking prices, today’s is an exciting no-reserve auction. This provides an opportunity to get a nice van for a good price, but it’s also going to attract a lot of attention. Early in the auction there are already well over 50 bids as some VW-friendly adventurers minds start churning. It’s covered a decent amount of miles, but 141k shouldn’t be too much of a deterrent. The rebuilt automatic transmission makes for easier cruising but not as much fun. Swaps and upgrades are always an option with these great vans, but this should be a solid starting point without needing any big-ticket items any time soon.

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1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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While the insane VW vans available these days are a fun fantasy, I much prefer finding the undervalued drivers that have significant upsides. This Campmobile model has a few foibles that should be addressed before it’s a really great self-contained adventure machine, but the low price gives plenty of room for some redemptive reconditioning. In brown, it’s nicely average and original, save the well-chosen South African grill and less attractive wheel covers.

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29k-mile 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro Westfalia

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Like the spotting of the Ivory-billed woodpecker decades after it was declared extinct, we have a Vanagon Syncro Westfalia today that is in nearly perfect, all-original condition. The 4WD Westies are rare enough, but nearly every example has been well used, with the nicer ones having undergone swaps and restorations (often by the great but pricey GoWesty guys). This example is the only one I’ve seen that spent most of its life in a garage and has never gone camping. Little items such as the sink sticker and vinyl drip tray cover are still intact, as this was apparently just used as occasional transportation by an older lady for 17 years, then parked after a small fender dent.

Click for details: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro Westfalia on The Samba

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Subaru’d 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Weekender

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The Vanagon Weekender is a nice alternative to the full-on Westfalia treatment, lacking the fluid, electric, and gas inlets/outlets, but still possessing great campability with a pop-top, table, and folding rear bed. Today’s Weekender has undergone the popular Subaru flat-4 conversion, bringing a little more power and reliability compared the old VW wasserboxer. You could see the Weekender and non-turbo Subaru engine as compromises, or as very capable options that keep costs down. That’s the lens I choose to see this Vanagon through; it’s not a high-powered, fully-optioned and mega-expensive model, but it has the right bits to get the job done.

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1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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Vanagons can be found for cheap or ludicrously expensive, but today’s restored Westfalia seems to be the right van for the right price. From an updated interior (check out those front seats!) to a 2.3 liter GoWesty engine update, it’s a fully-functioning camper that needs nothing (except maybe some new wheels). It’s not a bonkers Syncro mega-worldrover, but it is clean and well-done. $35k isn’t cheap, but it’s a reasonable price in the Westfalia world, especially considering the work done here.

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1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

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The last few months I’ve found myself examining all manner of Vanagons, from aged DoKas to pristine GoWesty Syncro Westfalias, but today’s 7-passenger Syncro is an interesting case. Aesthetically, it’s not all that, with some ill-fitting wheels and lackluster paint. Inside, the non-camping setup is contrary to my intended use. However, the Syncro 4WD is an awesome option box that usually comes with a huge price tag. It’s covered well under 100k miles, and has my favorite of all Vanagon grills, the South African quad-light setup. The asking price is a mere fraction of what most Syncros go for, making this all-terrain Vanagon a pretty decent deal and a solid starting point for the intrepid adventurer.

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1985 Volkswagen Transporter DoKa

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Earlier this week I posted a DoKa of such questionable taste that I would have posted it in our Friday Fail series if the auction had lasted long enough. Well, today we’ll right those wrongs with a Friday Win in the form of a gorgeous but barely-modified DoKa. It comes one owner removed from GoWesty, who, for all my gripes about their ludicrous prices, certainly do things right and take excellent care of Volkswagen vans. This one has been repainted in the Playmobil-perfect and T2-correct light blue with black bedliner on the lower portions as well as the bed and hinged sides. With just 95k miles, it has decades of life left in it. It may be on the utilitarian side of things with no frills inside or out (not even a Euro-map GPS!), but you can bet that the condition and GoWesty history will help it collect some serious interest.

Click for details: 1985 Volkswagen Transporter DoKa on eBay

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1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Wolfsburg Edition

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I’ve been getting pretty into these non-pop-top Vanagons recently, and today’s is an interesting case. It comes with tons of miles and a rebuilt title, but has clearly been cared for and gone through a thorough mechanical rebuild. While normally title issues raise huge red flags for me, most older Vanagons are inherently going to be projects, and it’s nice to know that someone has done a lot of the important stuff here. Most of all, if you didn’t know about the title this would just present as a clean, excellently 80s gold-on-tan van. The few issues will keep it affordable, turning this versatile vehicle into a good deal.

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