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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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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