You only have to glance at the number of #vanlife posts on Instagram to see how popular the idea of packing your world into a box on wheels and hitting the road is right now.
Combine that idea with our current fascination for 1980s kit, and the cultish appeal of older VW products, and you’ve got the makings of some seriously expensive used camper vans, including this $50k VW bus from Lupo Motors in Boise, Idaho. To give that price some context, the most expensive VW currently sold in America is the $43,645 Golf R hot hatch.
The confusingly named Type 2 (T3) was sold as the Transporter and Caravelle in Europe, and the Vanagon (van-wagon) in the U.S., and could be ordered in various configurations, from a panel van to a pick up to a minivan. But this one is rocking the genuine Westfalia camper setup and comes with the tilt-up roof and a fully fitted kitchen area.
Lifting it literally head and shoulders about your usual VW van of the period is this version’s Syncro chassis. Syncro vans benefitted from a raised ride height and all-wheel drive to make sure you could park at the most hard-to-reach camping spots.
The four recently powder-coated wheels are turned by a 2.1-liter wasserboxer four-cylinder motor, the presence of a second grille mounted beneath the main grille on the nose telling us this van was built after the switch from air- to water cooling. That motor is hooked up to a floor-shifted manual transmission with four forward gears and an additional crawler ratio, while pull switches on the dash control diff locks for when the going gets really tough.
It all looks in good, if not perfect condition, but would you drop $49,995 on what is essentially a 35-year-old commercial vehicle? A quick search on eBay, where this van is advertised, shows that you can spend a whole lot less on a massive, and far more modern, RV, though we get that many people looking for one won’t like the idea of the other.
Before you answer the $50k question, though, you might be interested to know that the same dealer is selling a second Syncro Westfalia that has covered just 35,000 miles, and looks even better. But this one has a sting in its tail, courtesy of a turbocharged 1.8-liter Audi motor, the kind found in the original TT. Here’s the even bigger sting: it’ll cost you $67,995…