In order to find a Westie Weekender that’s not crazy expensive, you might have to make a few concessions. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice pop-top makes those for you. Let’s decide if its present state demands that the price does too.
Years ago a family friend, who has long since passed away, owned a 1966 Mercury Comet Indy Pace Car. The paint was faded but the proof of its claim to fame was still discernible on the doors. Our friend sold the Comet through AutoTrader or some other pre-Internet venue and while that may have been the end of the story, there turns out to be an interesting epilogue. Almost a year after bidding adieu to the Comet, our friend received a notice in the mail saying that the car had been impounded for unpaid parking fees or some other malfeasance. It turned out that the car’s buyer had never bothered to change the title and so our friend, not having any success in contacting that buyer, went and paid the fees and got the car back. That allowed him to sell it for a second time, and that deal went off without a hitch.
I tell this tale because many of you showed the same sort of apathy toward yesterday’s 1973 Cadillac Eldorado Indy Pace Car as did my friend’s fly-by-night Comet purchaser. The result was a massive 82 percent No Dice loss for the Caddy at its $37,000 asking price.
“Ran when parked” is a phrase much like “hold my beer” that, for many, implies an incipient and unavoidable challenge. A foolhardy challenge, yes, but unavoidable nonetheless. Looking at today’s 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Weekender we are informed by the ad that it is presently in a non-running state, but is described as having “ran when parked.” Despite that — or perhaps encouraged by it — one can see much potential even in its now tow-home status. That’s because car people tend to go nuts over full-on Westies, and even do so for the less well-equipped Weekenders.
This one, however, has a number of issues that may cool that ardor. Those problems — rust, a crumpled zone in the right-rear corner, and an engine that hasn’t been called up for duty since about 2007 — also mean that it’s a lot cheaper than your typical just-get-in-and-go Westie.
According to the seller, the Vanagon has been in storage for a couple of years and did sputter to life before that, albeit poorly even then. Now it needs to be towed to a new home where the major issues can be addressed. There are 142,000 miles on the van, and aside from the notable rust cascading down from the panel seam on the driver’s side rocker and a crunched corner that looks like it will be no fun to fix, the van actually appears to be fairly solid.
The pop-top works and is intact save for a small tear at the top of the bug screen. That looks like it could easily be repaired with a needle and thread. Below that, the paint is not great, as the clear coat seems to be abandoning ship pretty much across the board. Considering the issues with the bodywork underneath, a respray will most likely be called for anyway. Wheels are VW Carat alloys but those wear tires so old that they fart dust and the seller says they aren’t even safe to tow on. That’s ok, though, the Vanagon will fit on a flatbed.
Inside, things are a little better, with what looks to be reasonably clean upholstery and carpet. One nice touch on these VWs is how when in park, the automatic transmission’s shift lever matches the angle of the steering column. You just don’t see that kind of wonderful symmetry in cars all that often.
According to the seller, all of the van’s mechanical systems need to be gone over and likely refreshed. That means new brake and fuel lines, probably a flush of the gas tank and cooling systems, and, of course, dealing with that dang engine. It all sounds like something Mustie1 would take care of in a single Sunday video.
As we noted, prices on Westies, even the later models like this, are pretty crazy these days, with many nice ones going for over $20K on the regular. This one has a clean title but needs a lot of work to be done before it can exercise that out on the road. Acknowledging that, the seller has set a price of $6,700 for the pop-top van.
What do you say, is this down but not out Westie worth that kind of cash? Or, is that still too much considering all the days of work required to make this Weekender live up to its name?
H/T to both S.R. Gooch AND gagagarage_usa for the hookup!
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