1985 Volkswagen Vanagon GL 1.9 from North America


The best of German engineering, too bad they don't make them anymore


Water pump failure on cross-country trip.

Leaks in coolant system which are common and easily fixed.

Brakes squeak and are expensive.

General Comments:

The best of the entire VW transporter lineage, IMO. Has loads of room with all of the common car amenities (mine has A/C), which is better than any previous generation.

Had a 1981 Westy that was horrible compared to this 85 GL. There is no comparison from air to water cooled. I will take the leaks, it beats the air cooled mess.

West-fail-yas are overrated and usually run into the ground... get a GL with a rear bench/bed, cooler, and a camp stove... you will love the extra room. If you keep them tuned they will run forever.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th January, 2006

1985 Volkswagen Vanagon Transporter 1.9 gaz from North America


Transport it


One of the head gasket blew.

The gas tank had several problems.

Rusty rust is rusting this truck, but penetration is not too bad, the frame is solid.

Much more, but I don't remember.

General Comments:

This car handles very cool, like a truck.

Room, more room and more, go 6 with bicycles and camping stuff one week and you still have room.

The vision is excellent, you see everything.

Everyone laugh at you while you are in this truck.

Shifting is hard since transmission if 15 feet behind you.

No power assisted direction makes big muscle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th December, 2002

1985 Volkswagen Vanagon GL 4 cylinder from North America


Not worth the time or money


The spark plugs would fall out once a month.

Could not hold a steady idle.

Temp. light would always come on.

General Comments:

I know I bought a car that I had no idea how many miles it had, but everyone told me how great a car they are.

The wind gets a hold of you in the van like no other car I have ever been in.

The inside of the van is huge.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th November, 2002

10th Feb 2009, 01:05

Yes, these vans are amazing. You have to be careful to ad the proper coolant without phosphates or you'll have a myriad of problems. Avoid the models that transmission oil leaks into the engine, or is that the other way around? They can fit all sorts of cargo in them if you take out all the cupboards, stove, fridge etc. It doesn't fit a 4 by 8 sheet of plywood in it however. Or maybe it does - I will try tomorrow. I hope I don't rip the seat covers and have to replace them at $1000.00. They have great resale value too. (1983 van 6000 dollars).

I think they are one of the most versatile vans you can own - if you have all the time in the world to tinker around every weekend and have lots of money. For people that have no time or money, I wouldn't risk it. It's also a class thing.

22nd Jan 2012, 00:46

Well that's just it. If it wasn't a class thing, nobody would even try to ask the high prices they do in reselling these vehicles. I think they are great, and don't quite know what to make of the politics around it.

3rd Aug 2014, 05:55

Ummm class thing??? Based on your comment, that suggests that you need LOTS of money to own one of these vehicles. That is so not true. Most people I know have very little disposable income, yet would never part with their Westy. It is transport, shelter, and freedom all in one. You must be adventurous, determined and willing to be where you end up if you wish to own a Westy. Those that want a NEW 30 year old vehicle... well yes you will pay a lot to have someone else provide for you.

1985 Volkswagen Vanagon Wolfsburg gasoline from North America


Excellent, with miles of smiles!


Exhaust rusted and has been replaced 3 times.

New engine replaced at 55,000 miles.

Seats wore well until a dog entered the picture.

Thermostat replaced twice.

Radiator replaced once.

General Comments:

This vehicle has been expensive to upkeep because I am not able to do my own work.

Does not have any power.

Never needed transmission work.

Most comfortable seats.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th June, 2001