What Is It About The Vanagon Syncro?

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
what is it about the vanagon syncro

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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4 of 39 comments
  • Sector 5 Sector 5 on Dec 27, 2011

    Must be some hillbilly shack up there that keeps these things running...

  • Skeeters Skeeters on Jul 02, 2012

    Have you ever seen the Jeeps with the "you wouldn't understand" sticker? It is the same concept. I drive an 86 Vanagon Syncro that I love. Drove it for a year with it constantly breaking down and I continued to fix it. Have ran it now for almost 2 years with no problems. Just returned from a 2500 mile road trip to Southern California with no problems. I also own several old split busses and a few early beetles (6 actually). They all require constant tinkering but once you own and old vdub you are hooked. Check out our latest project below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsaYK9P6m68

  • Hellenic Vanagon Hellenic Vanagon on Jan 09, 2013

    You really do not know anything about VANAGON SYNCRO T3: http://www.4tforum.gr/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=49098 please visit us! You are welcome!

  • Rollo Rollo on May 03, 2014

    I've had an '87 Vanagon Syncro Westfalia for the last 12 years. It was the perfect vehicle for cruising the coast in California, and now it's the perfect vehicle for hunting and camping in Montana. It's not a vehicle to suffer fools lightly, but then those vehicles can't climb up a logging road and provide sheltered standup room, a bed and a full galley.