For Sale: 1986 Volkswagen Westfalia Syncro Van

Share on Tumblr

This an admittedly unusual post, and Adventure Journal isn’t turning into Craigslist or Ebay, but I am letting you guys know about a 1986 Volkswagen Westfalia Syncro four-wheel-drive van being sold by my friend and fellow scribe Chris Dixon. Chris wrote the Westfalia Syncro story that appeared in the New York Times and also appears here on Adventure Journal, and he was my guide over the two years it took for me to research, find, and pull the trigger on my own Westy. He also oversaw the restoration of Jimmy Buffet’s Syncro. Barely a week goes by that someone doesn’t read his piece and email me if there are any for sale. Now there is.

Chris actually has two Westys and doesn’t need the 4WD, so he’s semi-reluctantly getting rid of the Syncro. I say “semi” cause few people part with smooth-running vans readily, but that cheddar is already earmarked to be put into his boat.

I’ll yield the floor to Dixie’s description of the van. There more pictures at the bottom, along with a link to even more pictures and a fuller description, and a way to contact him.

1986 Syncro Westfalia

$17,500 firm

Killer awning

Front A/C rebuilt and working

Stock engine/no leaks. 180K miles on van/engine. No rebuild.

Tranny rebuilt by Rancho at 100k miles.

Power windows

Power door locks

2 inch lift kit

No diff locker

GoWesty 3 window tent

Everything works except window washer – which I’ll probably fix, and power mirrors – which you have to hand adjust

TA/KO tires with 90 percent tread. 14 inchers

Pings and dings from offroading but absolutely no rust and a brand new front windshield

Interior’s fricking gorgeous

All camper gear works. Fridge, stove, sink.

Has rear underseat rear heater but it’s been removed for space. Can be reinstalled if buyer wants.

Gowesty 3 window acrylic tent that’s damn near waterproof.

The van has variously been known as Cecilia, Jean Claude Damn Van and Foxy Brown. It was first owned by a lady whose husband worked in films and she used it on the Hollywood lots as a hangout spot.

Then it went to a couple in LA who sold it to me in ’01, I think.

I kept it in Calif until 2004, when I bought another Syncro and sold it to a guy in Atlanta named Adam Reed – be glad to provide a reference if you wanna contact him. I’m sure he would tell you I correctly represented every issue with the van when he bought it.

Then Adam went to hike the Appalachian trail for six months and didn’t want it rusting in his driveway so he sold it back to me two years ago.

I rebuilt the A/C and did the cool door panels myself.

I have nearly all the receipts for everything done to the van from when it was new.
The passenger window is slooow, but it’s always been slow and has never failed since I bought the van back in 01.

As other references, I’ve dealt a lot with Seth Hatfield at H&R in Santa Barbara and Joe Schoeningh at Europro in Costa Mesa and the guys at Sportsmobile. All in reference to the work I did on building out Jimmy Buffett’s Syncro and Sportsmobiles.

I can tell you more, as I know this van obviously, intimately. She’s been my baby and I’ve used her well and wisely and have always cared for her extremely well.

Van is at my home in Charleston, SC.

Contact Chris via email. Read more, see more pictures here: LINK

Share on Tumblr

{ 13 comments…read them below or write one }

  • Mike Key

    I dunno if this is a sign from the car camping Gods or not, I had just tweeted http://bit.ly/fGWyrI about how a saw one of these on Adventure Parents couldn’t stop thinking about how awesome it would be to take on on my adventure road trip this summer.

    Beautiful ride, and SC isn’t too far of a drive from Virginia Beach…. very very tempting. Retweeting this and discussing with the wife.

  • Anthony

    I own the same year, make/model and color Westy. Just pulled the trigger on a Subaru motor for ours.

    These are great adventure mobiles. Great price on this one.

  • Anthony

    Found a 2008 2.5L with 26K, should be ready for our Colorado summer.

    Your article way back when helped to push us towards to a Westy Syncro.

    Keep up the good work and fight the good fight.

  • Chris Dixon

    Hey Steve, Thanks for posting this! I just took a deposit on the van from a surfing dad up on Long Island. T’will be a bittersweet parting, but it sounds like he’s gonna put it to exactly the sort of use it was designed for. Will put some of the money into our 2wd Westy and the boat and the rest into paying off bills. Then when my kids get a little older, and it’s time to head to the Outer Banks, hopefully another Syncro – or even Jean Claude Damn Van – will again present itself. Chris Dixon

  • Suzanne Hill

    My ex-husband and I bought the very first 1973 VW Campbus off the line (orange, pop-top), and paid $4200.00 for it. We picked it up in Bremen, Germany in September, 1972. We put 17,000 miles on it, had a porto-potty, 2-burner stove, and a catalytic heater. We lived in it for a year, did not spend one night in a hotel, and sold it on Ramstein AFB for $4100.00. I wish I still had that bus. But once you get the VW Campbus ‘bug,’ I don’t think it ever leaves you. I am just now learning about the syncro van, and want one. My little house will be paid off in 6 years, and I want to buy a bus and disappear for a while. I am VERY happy to be discovering these websites.

  • August Spies

    hey guys. listen. i just found a 1986 syncro. very nice. trouble is, she had a burn. engine compartment. didnt get into the camper, came out the sides. i expect the motor to have to be redone. wiring. all that. paint on rear quarters, and deck lid. no prob. thing is, i want to try to do it. i have a friend VW nut here in eugene, and i know he’ll help. but what am i looking at? im hoping to get the van itself for $5,000 or so. will another $5000 do the motor and wiring? otherwise, she is beautiful. the fire didnt get inside, but i know the engine is somewhat damaged. help! if you could e me, but ill come back here. the Smaba really hasent been the place to speak on this. thanks….

    redondobeach@live.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>