Westfalia Camper Survivor: 1974 Volkswagen Vanagon

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The Westfalia Camper was a conversion of the Volkswagen Type 2 (aka Vanagon) built in the back half of the 20th Century. Westfalia was the subcontractor that Volkswagen used for many of these transformations. This 1974 edition has an interesting history, where it spent time with its first owner in Europe before coming to the States. Located in Clearwater, Florida, it’s not in running condition but is available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $10,300.

The earliest VW conversions began with the split-windshield Kombi’s between 1950-67. The Vanagon would serve as the basis for the camper after that, and then other variants through 2003. Westfalia wasn’t the only coachbuilder involved, with others including Dormobile, EZ Camper, ASI/Riviera, Holdsworth, Danbury Motorcaravans, and VW Sun-Dial. Westfalia Campers were available through VW dealers worldwide and were also delivered via the Tourist Delivery Program — whereby a customer would pick up their new van in Germany, drive it in Europe, and then VW would ship it to the customer’s home.

This conversion may have come through that tourist program. The first owner put some miles on it in Europe and then California, Oregon, Illinois, and finally Florida. After that, the seller’s uncle bought the van with 60,000 miles and it watched the odometer flip over. Some of those excursions included places like Mt. Rushmore and Montana, as well as many camping trips throughout Florida. About 17 years ago, the uncle moved out West and parked the van in running condition in Clearwater where it’s sat ever since. No one has tried to start in since then.

We’re told the van saw frequent and documented maintenance over the years. The odometer reading is just under 64,000, but the seller says it’s 164,000 because the tracker only goes through five significant digits. The body is in mostly solid condition with a little rust but fading orange paint, a popular color on these vans. The vehicle received a Ziebart rustproofing treatment in 1977 which has likely helped with its longevity. There is some surface rust brewing by two of the side windows and a small hole has popped up the driver’s footpad. In addition, an area that was once repaired with Bondo on the passenger’s side door sill will have to be redone.

The van should have a 1800cc 4-cylinder “Boxer” engine along with a 4-speed manual transmission. Once the buyer can get it running again, there will be some long-overdue maintenance-type items that will need attending to.  Like a tune-up, all new fluids, brakes, battery, and four new tires. The seller doesn’t have any interest in going camping, so it’s time for the family heirloom to be passed along to someone else.

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  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Owned a ’77 and an ’84 and only the ’84 was designated “Vanagon” to go along with the new and larger body style. Both were good campers and long trip units. Lots of fun with them.

    Like 7
  2. GerryMember

    As Bob said this isn’t a Vanagon those were later mostly water cooled models from 1980 and later this is just what is a called a Baywindow (non split window)
    Looks to be fairly unmolested and could be a good deal if it stays below 20K

    Like 6
  3. Raymond

    Hate uneducated VW so called experts, the Type 2, which this is, and the Canyon, introduced in 1980 as air cooled, and 83 as wasserboxer, also considered a Type 2 are different vehicles, some call Vanagon a type 2.5, a westfallia package was available on both, but does not make a 70’s type 2 westie essentially a transporter a vanagon….do your homework

    Like 5
    • Raymond

      Vanagon not canyon…good trick tho

      Like 1
  4. Christopher Gentry

    Educate me. I thought the vanagon was the latter 80s watercooled models that shared some parts do the golf . am I wrong ?

    Like 2
  5. steve

    From the top. Bugs etc are type 1. The buses, the 2nd vehicle they made? Type 2. Type 3 are the fastback/squareback cars. Type 4 are 411’s and 412’s. Then in 1979 for the 1980 model year, VW introduced the type 25 which in the US is a “Vanagon”. Where it get odd is nothing was ever a “new model”. The 80-83 Vanagons came with a version of the later van engine which is itself a version of the 411/412 “Type 4” engine. During 1983 they dropped the aircoold for a liquid cooled engine which was built on an “air cooled” production line. (Bug valve covers fit the “new engine”.) That year the also offered the diesel engine lifted from the Rabbit/Jetta. So..no THIS is not a “Vanagon”. Another area off misinformation is this bus does NOT have a “Porsche engine” as some starry eyed owners will tell you. Remember that type 4 engine? Some models of the 914 came with a version of that engine. In Europe those cars, as basically a Karmann Ghia replacement, were labeled “VW-Porsche”. The 1976 912E also had a “Type 4” engine. Having a SBC In your Chevelle does NOT mean you have a “Corvette engine”.
    Whew..I owned the twin for this van. The original 1.8 blew up and I replaced it with a FI 1.7 out of a 411 car. What a difference in power and fuel mileage.
    I’d like to have it, but my 84 Westfaila (subaru 2.2 power!)is a better car and gets about the same looks going down the road.

    Like 6
  6. steve

    And…..The 74 Westfaila is NOT a “conversion” in that the chassis came down the assembly line at VW to be a Westfalia. 74 is actually the 1st year for that. The roof structure is the main difference. It was built exclusively to accept the Westfalia pop top. Prior to 74 the campers were constructed on a sunroof kombi chassis. In both cases the incomplete vehicles were sent to Westfaliawerk to be completed. They were then shipped back to VW to be delivered through their dealer network.
    All others are conversions which are “cut up” standard buses.

    Like 4
  7. bobhess bobhessMember

    Right on the money steve! Knew 90 percent of what you said but it was too early for that much typing for me. After a ’55 panel, two Notchbacks, two campers, ’73 thing and a new ’76 912E it’s not hard to pick up VW’s history. Got a friend with an ’85 van with a Subaru 6 cylinder that’s quite a runner. Thanks.

    Like 0
  8. steve

    Funny thing..Im not a “car guy” or even a “bus guy” but I end up surrounded by vw buses and campers. 15-18 years ago wife and I sat down to count how many I’d personally owned. We stopped counting at 100…We move and found ourself a few miles from Vuhvanagon where he has over 500 of the things..
    The paint code on that 74 is L30B which is “Bright Orange” (no kidding, right?) and you better like it as EVERYTHING is orange! A lot of exposed sheet metal inside and the seats and trim and…Forget a color change…
    And the color MEANS something! That means it it a P27 which was the top of the line. If I recall the P24 was yellow and the P21 was white. Both had fewer features like the stove and fridge.
    I need to go do some work on my Land Rover Series 2a diesel which, like this “Vanagon” nonsense is NOT a “Defender”!
    Kid today…..

    Like 1
  9. steve

    It’s raining and I am bored..
    Tires? Wrong!! That vehicle HAS to have 185R14 tires which are A: 6 ply rated and B: never available in whitewall.
    The airpump and bracket is missing from the top of the fan shroud. No problem, right? Guess again! The reason my 1.8 blew up was that the PO had removed the pump. The air outlets go into the exhaust ports and that are was used to cool the valves. They knew that the area where the nozzle intruded was blocked off from fan air but with the pump air coming in, it was a wash. No air from the pump? All the valves were burned right up and #1 had the head come off. Good luck finding a pump for this!

    Like 0
  10. bobhess bobhessMember

    steve… Our ’77 was the orange color with the orange plaid interior. Wife named it “Orange Julius”. Wound up with a pair of Weber 40s on it. Went like stink but the fuel mileage stunk too.

    Like 0
  11. SteveF

    Looks like the heat duct to the front has been removed also.

    Like 0

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