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.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen the kind of Syncro Westy that can command the better part of a hundred thousand dollars. We’ve seen some nicely restored and modified examples, but even then they’ve struggled to break $40k. Well, folks, we caught a big one. Let’s see if we can haul it aboard.
Inside out and top to bottom, this Westy is mega. Starting with the mechanicals, there’s no Subaru imposter or rebuilt wasserboxer here – it’s a like-new, $35k 1.8T conversion putting out a very healthy 255hp with custom cooling and exhaust systems. Underneath you also get new suspension and a big brake kit, along with a rebuilt front differential and Porsche 930 axles. I especially like the dual fuel tanks for removing any range anxiety when you’re way out in the woods.
From there, we’re just looking at a no-holds-barred interior and exterior. Inside, there’s an entertainment system with a back-up camera surrounded by a custom houndstooth interior. It has everything a Westy lover dreams about, from the solar system connected to twin auxiliary batteries to an on-board air compressor and front-mounted Warn winch, though I’m rather confused as to why they put the Hella lights in a position where they’re blocked by the winch.
This van goes well beyond what is necessary to live the Van Life. It’s an exercise in how far you can go and how many dream-boxes you can check, but the resulting price tag is similarly fantastical.
Click for details: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro on eBay
The Westfalia market is all over the place right now, with top values staying remarkably strong as they stand strong as one of the best campers ever made. On the other end of the spectrum, we have examples like this brown survivor. A life on the East Coast has caused some minor decay, but the seller, a serial-VW owner, has taken care of many issues and replaced the engine with a later-model 2.1 a while back. It’s far from a perfect example, but it is functional and could be a solid project for a VW enthusiast. For under $8k, this is about as inexpensive an entry into Westylife as you’ll find.
Click for details: 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia on eBay
The license plate on the Vanagon is “STLMOVN,” an apt tag after 200k miles. Perhaps it also refers to its aged owners, who clearly have a sense of adventure but are passing on their great camper. Despite the higher mileage, the van looks extremely well cared for, with the seats having been covered, the exterior shining like new thanks to living in a garage, and a newer engine (though it’s unclear if that means rebuilt or fully new). It’s too bad “AC is not working” is the a main description line, because the more important news is that all of the appliances are like new. Something – perhaps the higher mileage? – seems to be scaring bidders away from the $14k starting point, but I think this is a very attractive Westy.
Click for details: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia on eBay
I typically steer clear of salvage titles for obvious reasons, but this Westy seems deserving of an understanding eye. For starters, I’m guessing that you could sneeze on a 1980 Vanagon and the insurance company would total it. A little engine fire in one of these oldies would certainly do the trick. Some kind soul saw fit to save it, however, and the world is a little better for it. The restoration is a mix of subtle and style, with the classic brown exterior looking stock and the plaid-plaid-plaid upholstery making you think this thing’s top speed is a few orders of magnitude higher than it actually is. The new interior, pop top, and exterior plugs all turn this Westy into a faux time capsule instead of a basket case. It may be aircooled, but this thing looks brand new!