Pick of the Day: 1985 VW Westie camper for road-trip isolation

Restored Vanagon completely equipped for getting back outside

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The VW camper is one of the desirable Westfalia conversions and said to be fully restored

In these strange times, there are many questions people are trying to answer. Such as, with things opening up so that you can take your classic car on a road trip, what do you do if that drive lasts more than an afternoon? Would you really want to stay in a hotel, Airbnb or VRBO rental with the ongoing risk of COVID-19 infection?

The Pick of the Day presents a possible solution, a 1985 Volkswagen Vanagon CL Westfalia Deluxe Camper advertised on ClassicCars.com by a dealer in Marietta, Georgia.

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A little history on these VW Campers. In 1947, the idea of a VW Bus was created when Dutch VW importer Ben Pon saw the motorized trolleys used to transport parts around a VW factory in Wolfsburg.  These vehicles were built using a stripped-down Beetle chassis with a boxy body in place of the sedan.

Ben thought that these could easily be turned into passenger vehicles that could carry more people as well as deliver goods.  Pon penned a sketch on April 23, 1947, of a van based on the Beetle. This idea would become the VW Type 2 bus in 1949.


VW watched carefully how people used the Type 2. One thing they saw was families using them for extended vacations. To offer a better option for those customers, VW contracted with Westfalia-Werke in 1951 to develop and create the legendary VW Westfalia camper van.

This Westfalia – Westie as VW aficionados refer to them – is painted Pastel White with a beige Interior. The van is power by a 1.9-liter fuel-injected flat-4-cylinder engine with a 4-Speed manual transmission.  

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The Vanagon received a fully documented restoration, including exterior, interior, brightwork and mechanics, according to the seller, and the VW boasts a portfolio of photos and receipts. The restoration, including a professional engine rebuild, was completed during the past 5,000 miles and includes a new German fabric 3 Screen Canvas Top, the seller notes.

The Vanagon also includes a complete set of all manuals (owner’s manual, supplement to VW Vanwagon owner’s manual, VW maintenance, plus owner/dealer Protect-O-Plate card, refrigerator manual and listings of factory service centers for refrigerator, generators and air conditioners) and its original window sticker.


This Vanagon is equipped with the special Westfalia camping options, which all function properly, the ad says, including the original sink, stove, refrigerator, cupboards, folding tables and, of course, the iconic pop top.

Vanagon Westies are quite affordable and represent the last of the classic VW van before the advent of the redesigned front-engine Eurovan. They are also the most usable of the rear-engine VW vans and can actually cruise at freeway speeds.

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This van could easily be driven cross country and can sleep 4. The kids probably will fight over who gets to sleep in the pop top.

This is a fun classic and with an asking price of only $39,950, offers a lot of usability for the money. And think of the savings on hotel bills.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I love you guys and read the daily submission religiously. Please take a minute to think about stopping the spread of fear related to the nearly benign virus by not including it in your essays.
    Thanks!

  2. Speaking as a former mechanic, these “legendary” VW Westfalia camper vans were a great concept and a lot of fun. But unfortunately they were a total piece of crap, inside and out. Anything “Bosch” was a problem and hard to isolate, especially back then when we didn’t have all the expensive diagnostic stuff that only the dealer had. If you were able to find parts, they were always “dealer only” they were very expensive. Almost as bad as Audi.
    P.S. We have enough Covid-19 stuff 24-7, cant get away from it , don’t need it here. Just want to read about cool vehicles!

    • Ooh, Mike, I do so agree. Enough virus to last a lifetime, and, sir, have you noticed that you can determine an individual’s politics by their written views on this? So effing tiresome.
      I love VWs, but must own that Cal-look dropped, 1800+cc built, Fuch rimmed/dechromed pre-71 Beetles are my thing, even though I drive an Holden made ’04 Pontiac GTO.
      Never driven a bus, much less a Westphalia, but I ‘spect they’re slow and tippy. The one Cal-look Bug I got to drive was jet-black, dropped, had a twin 2x Weber 1835cc built motor, and would swap ends with a lift in a corner. If you overcooked it, was best to steer in and give more throttle. To lift was to spin. Always. And it was snap oversteer- Mario Andretti couldn’t have stopped it. Fun, not always safe.
      I always liked the yellow/green/brown plaid that came in some of these, and some later VW Golf variants. Homey ’70’s, fer sure.
      All that Bosch trouble can be erased now. I commend to you Wolfgang, or Jet Engineering; there are a multitude of modern ignition/injection solutions to quell the Bosch curse.
      There’s also a site that shows how to put a GM LS1 V8 in a bus… well.

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