1980 Volkswagen LT28 Westfalia

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Last month we featured a rare Sven Hedin edition of a VW LT28 Westfalia. It had a lot of style and promise, but looking deeper past the Playmobil-esque lines showed a van that needed serious love and effort inside and out. Today’s 1980 model look to be cleaner throughout, though the single exterior shot leaves plenty of opportunity for hidden blemishes. The interior while still heavy on the 80s style, is notably better and doesn’t have the saggy-bags on the wall. Under the hood it has a recent turbodiesel heart transplant from a 96 Volvo. Despite originally living in the other Vol-car, these DT24T engines were actually built by Volkswagen from 1982-1992 and are as close to OEM+ as you can get for the LTs. With both the turbo and the intercooler, it pumps out over 120hp, a big improvement over the original 74hp. With highway capability, a dated but ready-to-use interior, and a simple, clean exterior, this is a great plus-sized alternative to the standard T3 Westy.

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1988 Volkswagen LT28 Westfalia

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We’ve posted some interesting variations on the Volkswagen LT vans, the plus-sized Vanagons that never came to the US. From firetrucks to zombie defense vehicles to race team vans, they’re like VW’s Sprinter. Today’s LT28 model, indicating the lightest gross vehicle weight available (they went up to the LT55), is a special edition form Westfalia called the “Sven Hedin,” the Swedish world explorer. The bigger size of the LT allows for more amenities than would ever fit in a T3 like a shower, while the hightop makes standing up much more comfortable. The size and rarity are definitely the main draws here, as it’s showing some wear after its 125k miles and 28 years. The interior looks original but droopy, especially the wall-mounted cloth storage sacks. The exterior shows some cracked and possibly redone paint areas, and the incredible blue stripes have seen better days. All of the thick plastic Westfalia interior bits look great though and the turbodiesel inline-6 should be just getting into its prime, so as long as there aren’t a bunch of rust spots hiding, I think it has a lot of potential as a plus-sized camper.

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1991 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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Late-model burgundy Vanagons were the first to ever catch my eye, and even as I’ve spent the last several years exploring the many variations and degrees of modification available for this versatile van, it’s still the look I find most appealing. This 1991 model has steel bars instead of the clean fiberglass, body-colored bumpers available at the end of the lifecycle, ostensibly to protect your legs and engine from the natural weak points of the cab-over design. They may not be sleek but they don’t look bad, and it seems practical to protect where this guy has put most of his money – the engine. It doesn’t say how long into its 198k-mile life it received the rebuild, but the engine was redone into 2.2-liter form and apparently all engine parts were specially hardened before assembly. The original interior is in great shape for having covered almost 200k, and the upper bed has only been used once. This no-frills, all-business Westy is available for a reasonable $18,300.

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1981 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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I always wonder what people get out of selling advertising space on their cars, a topic Jalopnik provided a point/counterpoint to yesterday. If you really don’t give a damn about the appearance of your car, I guess it’s essentially free money. Company vehicles can be cool – I’m thinking old bakery delivery panel vans – but sometimes some dude just had to offer up his vehicle as a promotional platform. Something like that happened here to this 1981 Westy for Montana’s MOJO 92.5. Considering the recent trend of consolidating small radio stations into conglomerates whose names make me distinctly NOT love radio, I’m guessing Montana just lost one more station beloved by roofers and garbage men. I sure hope the window decals can come off easily, as well as the tiny logos swimming around in the black trimline.

Beyond the glaring weirdness of being a rolling billboard, it’s a pretty nice early Vanagon. GoWesty wheels are the most tasteful choice on the vehicle, which has such anachronisms as a “ceiling mounted DVD player!” Not exactly my type of van camping, but could be a plus if you like road trips but your preferred parenting method is screen hypnosis. The new interior looks well done if overly Halloweeny, but you’re not going to get away from that in this van. The houndstooth is nice and the appliances and cabinets all look outstanding. With a Lamborghini Orange paint job, is this pumpkin worth $23k?

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1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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We often speak of the value of Vanagons here, which has stretched upward to dizzying heights in some cases. It’s worth taking a deeper look at how conservative campers from the People’s Auto inspires such devotion. Today’s seller has touched every piece of this car and tried to do the best possible thing to make it immaculate and/or updated. Leading in with

I will try not to bore you with all the details of my restoration but here goes:

he proceeds to passionately explain rebuilding the engine, then removing it recently and painstakingly clean everything… just because. And this guy isn’t alone. The parts are available through amazing companies like GoWesty to have tinkering on your van for years, meeting all kinds of other people who also like driving a mobile personal campsite. His Buy It Now is big money, creeping towards some decent Syncros, but the fact that he can’t not share his excitement about making the perfect van is convincing. It’s cleaner than clean.

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Low-Mileage Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalias

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The strong market for Westfalias should surprise no one by now. What is surprising, however, is finding two ridiculously low-mileage Westies for sale at the same time, in nearly the exact same spec. They’re both late-model, white on grey Vanagons that are looking for high-$30ks. That’s starting to get into decent Syncro Westy territory – are they worth it?

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1980 Volkswagen Vanagon Country Camper

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This new year, I pledge to do a LOT more camping. A boat trip to Alaska will guarantee an uptick, but here’s a new Vanagon variant to help lengthen those road trips. This 1980 2.0-liter Vanagon was converted by Country Home Campers, an outfit that did Westfalia-like conversions for some 30 years. It certainly looks like an 80s country home inside, with some nice wood paneling and faux-leather vinyl seats. The air-cooled four has been rebuilt and cosmetically it looks very clean throughout, if not beautiful. The camper top doesn’t reach as far as the Westy’s, allowing for a little moonroof action for those in the front seats. It may not be the most desirable Vanagon, but it has a lot of capability and a low, no-reserve auction.

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1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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Bordeaux Red Pearl has always been one of my favorite Vanagon colors, and today’s burgundy Westy looks just about perfect after just 113k miles. It’s a good sign when the only blemish the seller can think to list is a missing center cap on a front wheel, which are now the common, perfectly-fitting Mercedes rims. It has a brand new pop-top tent and some post-production Westfalia stickers (of which I’m a big fan) and all the camping gear is functioning perfectly. If you can afford it, this is about as nice a stock, mostly-original Westy as you’ll find.

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1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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Though sometimes a certifiably blah color, on certain cars brown can really hit the spot. See Steve McQueen’s 250 GT Lusso. The log-shaped Vanagon is no Lusso, but it’s the kind of color that helps it blend into its chosen habitat: the forest. Black Benz wheels and other details blend into the forest floor while a new-to-it wasserboxer of unstated mileage helps it get into the wild. Plenty of reasonable maintenance and replacements make it ready to go immediately, but small rough spots around the edges keep it from being anything more than a like-original, slightly dinged van. In the days of $100k Vanagons, how much is that worth?

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1989 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia

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The last Westy I posted was an exercise in extremes. Every mod imaginable and a 1.8T engine swap led to the van selling for the best offer, obviously less than the $110k asking price but probably not by that much. Today I present a counterpoint, a late-model, all-stock Westy with fewer than 50k miles. Silver on gray and about as close as possible to what you found on a VW showroom floor in 1989, this is a van that can keep chugging away for at least another 25 years and probably more. No racks, no lights, and no lift kit, yet it’s just as attractive.

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