Tuesday, May 5, 2015

20k: Syncro de Mayo: 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

Welcome to Daily Turismo's Syncro de Mayo, our May 5th celebration of all Volkswagen's four wheel drive system known as Syncro.  Up first is this tip and story by DT reader Andy L:
I am going to be off the grid again this year for May 5th, so here is my early submission for Syncro de Mayo.  Find this 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Camper Syncro offered here on eBay for $24,000 buy-it-now (currently bidding for $15,100 reserve-not-met) with 1 day to go, located in Eugene, OR.

What could an 86 camper Vanagon with 140,000 miles possibly be worth, you wonder?  20 cents per pound?  Well, it's not 1995 anymore and this is not your typical VW camper Van. That's right, all four wheels are powered on this one so it can be bought for about 20 thousand 2015 dollars.
For the ability to go 70 MPH flat-out, pay a VW specialist to do your repairs and have the luxury of doing your stove-top cooking standing up while camping (who does this, anyway?) you can trade a year-old Mini Cooper S or a low mile Jeep Rubicon.

The upside is that you will get ALL the hipster cred you can ask for.  A $5000 Winnie in similar condition and vintage may be many times more practical, reliable and comfy.  The problem is that it doesn't have the minimalist kitsch to project your image as a refined and worldly trust fund custodian in just the right way.  Nothing says I am rugged yet tasteful quite like a syncro camper van.  
Enjoy your new ride, bearded one!  

Thanks to Andy for the link and story!  See another Syncro for cheap? Send it here: tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. "Syncro de Mayo" - I've said it before and I'll say it again: you guys crack me up!

  2. This is cool and all but not a camper, or Westie. My family had two of them, back to back, in the 80s and they were remarkable vehicles for their efficiency of space utilization. We never used that stove when we camped, tho, instead preferring to cook over a real campfire. It was pretty remarkable: my folks slept up in the upper deck, my two little brothers on the floor bed and me on the rear hatch area bed. Fun Doctordel fact: I first experienced a sleepless night due to sunburn prickly heat in that Westie. It must have been 85 degrees inside that thing and my back felt as if it was being intermittently bitten by a hundred red ants as I tossed and turned all night long. Good times!

    1. Those are some really fond memories there, Doc. I also have (some) fond memories of a Westy; my grandparents had one. Unfortunately they also died in it; collision, the front was crushed. Still, it was really a neat vehicle.

    2. Combining elements of both the above, I am reminded that my best place to sleep in a Westy was inside the air conditioned showroom of Thunderbird Imports, in Norman, OK on any OU (home) football game day Saturday when sales were dead. I could sleep in the upper bunk while still keeping an eye on the lot through the pop-top's screen zipper window :) 2nd best purpose: they make great vantage points for parades or races due to their compact parking footprint.

  3. Sadly, not a camper (it would be a bajillion dollars if it were).

    1. this. syncro westies are going for nearly 6 figures now. probably a lot cheaper these days to go find one in deutschland or italy and import it.

    2. No joke....when did hippies get so much disposable income?

    3. They turned into Boomers and made killing in live cattle futures. ;-)

    4. i was thinking it was more of a killing in pineapple thai

  4. Also, Syncro de Mayo is a real event too. Here's a good video of some syncros doing some actual off-roading.



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