At $11,995, Will This 1990 VW Vanagon be Gone, Baby, Gone?



For whatever reason, VW Busses like today’s Nice Price or No Dice Vanagon tend to command premium prices. This one-owner Type 2 may be an exception. Let’s see what that might all be about.

When it comes to first-world problems, where to put the removable hardtop for your convertible sports car when detached must be amongst the most vexing. That was definitely a concern with yesterday’s 1997 BMW Z3 2.8, although not enough to cause similar consternation over the car’s $8450 price tag. That earned the little Bimmer a laudably non-problematic 85 percent Nice Price win.

An old joke asks “what’s the last thing to go through a fly’s mind when it hits your windshield?” The answer, of course, is “its ass.” And that, my friends, is why in the U.S. we don’t have forward-control consumer vans like this 1990 Volkswagen Vanagon for sale new these days.

Safety concerns aside, VW’s Type 2 is an amazing bit of packaging, having taken what was ostensibly the Beetle platform and stretching the bodywork over it in a form that offers the absolute maximum passenger and/or cargo capacity. To do that, it meant placing the two (or three) front seats over the front wheels, and the steering column out well ahead of those wheels. As one might postulate, that’s not the greatest place for either to be in the event of a front-end collision.

That has not stopped classic VW Busses and even later models like this Vanagon to creep up in value as desirability seems to outweigh death and disfigurement in the minds of the model’s most money-flush advocates.

This is a fairly box-stock Vanagon, which, per the ad, has been a single-owner car up until the present. It comes in deep blue over silver and wears a set of handsome factory alloys. Seriously, does anyone do better alloy wheels than the Germans? Maybe the Italians. I don’t know.

At any rate, the seller says the boxy bus has been an Arizona resident all its life so rust should be a foreign concept. Age, however, as well as the brutal Arizona sun are evident in the paint on the rear bumper and the ominous presence of a toupee stop the dash, the latter being cleverly held in place by a pair of standard binder clips.

The rest of the cabin presents well, with the gray cloth upholstery showing little wear and lots of padding. A long tube mounted to the ceiling circulates the A/C throughout the cabin. Of course, with just 90 horsepower on tap from the Vanagon’s 2.1 liter pancake four, cranking up that A/C may mean relegating the van’s progress to a walking pace.

The seller doesn’t give any deets on the condition of that air-cooled engine or its four-speed manual drivetrain companion. There are 147,000 miles on the clock, and it’s not unreasonable to assume that anyone who owned a vehicle like this for so long and that many miles would have maintained it in some fashion.

What the seller does note in the ad—actually it’s more of a veiled threat—is that lacking responses on Craigslist, the van will go up on some undisclosed auction site, calling the current post a “small window to buy directly,” whatever that means.

The ad sets the sale at $11,995, and it’s now up to us to determine if the Vanagon is a deal at that price. What do you say, will it sell at that asking and thus save the seller from having to list it elsewhere? Or, does that price make this a Bus that you would kiss goodbye?

You decide!

Phoenix, Arizona, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Bill Needam for the hookup!

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