Swiss Army Utility vehicle
I purchased the van from an old friend who had to get rid of a couple of his Vanagons. It had a bad Brake Caliper so I towed it home and fixed that myself.
Soon, I realized that the sway bar links, hydraulic clutch line, gas tank seals were also bad... mainly due to age/rust. Also, a battery drain.
The vehicle didn't have much rust, considering it was a North East car but some components were either rusted or dry rotted. I purchased this as a 4th car to play around with and restore along the way. But, when the hydraulic line went, I decided to give up. I couldn't source the right part and figured spot fixing would only last until the line burst someplace else.
I drove Vanagons in the US Army, Berlin in the late 1980's and loved them. They are so SOLID and ergonomically efficient! I didn't say fuel efficient, however. I think I got around 15-17 mpg. Which, isn't bad for the size of vehicle but is for the trickle of power you get in exchange for the burned fuel.
Mine was just like I remembered. Only, some 17 years later, my example was 25 years old. It still a lot of the attributes I remembered but did need restoration. I recommend anyone considering one to realize this.
It ran fine around town and even did OK on the highway, reaching 65 or so and able to keep up with traffic. It's a little susceptible to crosswinds but not bad considering its shaped like a brick.
Visibility was good, although somewhat blocked with the Westy package curtains and shelving units. Better than my Jeep Commander.
My car had the camper package with the sink, stove and refrigerator. The exterior wall that these units mount to as a tendency to rust from the drains and service lines and especially the hookup plugs on the exterior of the vehicle. My car was rusted here and, from what I understand, fixing this area is not so simple but it can be done. If I were to get another Vanagon, I'd make sure this area was in good shape or just get a model without the hookups.
In the short time I owned the van, I used it to transport new windows for my home, and lots of other things. Its very useful like that. Very spacious inside and still pretty easy to drive around and park.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 14th April, 2008