By on September 19, 2016

1982 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia in Colorado Junkyard - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The Volkswagen Vanagon has a global cult following, for reasons I have never understood, and the Westfalia camper version is an object of heavy-duty veneration among Vanagon zealots. You hear about the crazy prices that any Westfalia Vanagon will fetch … but it turns out that most serious Volkswagen fanatics are too cheap to pay the prices they quote so knowledgeably. So, rough examples of the Vanagon show up often at cheap self-service wrecking yards.

Here’s an ’82 that I found last week in the Denver area. (Read More…)

By on October 15, 2014

12 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis being Colorado, I see quite a few Volkswagen Vanagons on the street and in local wrecking yards. Mostly I ignore them for this series, because their local popularity means examples that show up at a Denver self-service yard get stripped immediately and aren’t very interesting photographic subjects. So far, we’ve seen just this exquisitely stereotype-reinforcing Steal Your Face Edition ’83, and that’s it prior to today’s find. An ordinary Vanagon with most of the parts gone, I’m not shooting it. A Vanagon Syncro (which I believe to be the most unwise money-pit available on four wheels or a Westfalia Camper, on the other hand, I’m always willing to photograph those rare birds. Here’s a squalid ’81 Westy that I found at a Denver yard last week. (Read More…)

By on November 23, 2012

I usually don’t pay much attention to VW Transporters in the junkyard, but I have a friend with a Vanagon (he’s an industrial designer and decided that this VW— which I believe to be one of the worst motor vehicles ever built— says positive things about his sense of style and appreciation of good design) who needed a bunch of parts for his hopeless project van. So, when I found this ’83 at a Denver self-service wrecking yard, I grabbed a few bits and took some photos. (Read More…)

By on December 27, 2011

I’m now experiencing my second winter as an ex-Californian in Denver, and I feel as though I’ve been adjusting pretty well— got an Outback in the garage and everything. However, there’s one big automotive mystery here, and that’s the incomprehensible love many otherwise sensible Coloradans have for the Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro. At the risk of enraging the Vanagon Jihad, I have to say that the only way Volkswagen could have made the fragile-at-best Vanagon even less reliable was to give it four-wheel-drive. And yet I see these things being used as very costly daily drivers all the time.

I understand the allure of a lovable, high-maintenance European vehicle loaded with interesting design features and with ancestry stretching back to the pre-hippie era, but the zealots of the Vanagon Jihad believe that the Syncro actually makes sense as everyday transportation in snowy areas. Please, someone, explain this!

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