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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Something they don't tell you about in the books or fatherly articles is just how amazing it will be to watch your kids interpret and embrace the hobbies you're passionate about - granted that you've managed to at least keep those hobbies somewhat alive after the kids arrive. I'm a firm believer that encouraging them to be involved is the key to making the balance work; and it just becomes more fun that way even if things take a little longer.







It's been a dream come true to mess around in the garage with these nuggets, however, the real fun is out on the road right? My daughter isn't old enough to safely ride in the 911 yet, and nobody was able to (or really wanted to) come with me to the track for a drift day. With the window of opportunity quickly escaping, my drift schedule getting lighter and lighter, and the premium for a V8 240sx at a record high - I made the decision to sell the drift car and look for a project that whole family could get into (literally) and enjoy together for years to come.

sooooo a Westfalia Vanagon! What could go wrong?!

The #vanlife is certainly tempting, but we're grown-ups now and don't exactly have plans to sell off the house, quit our jobs, and live in a van down by the river. This van will our gateway to the outdoors in 2 or 3 day sprints where hikes will be reasonable in length, wifi will be unavailable unless it starts raining, and marshmallows will be their own food group.

The Search:
Thankfully there's a crazy wealth of information for anyone looking to learn anything and everything about these vans. My search lead me towards later model vanagons that have larger engines and improved cooling. Syncros are awesome, but way out of the budget. A pop-top was a must for camping, however we didn't need the headache of the kitchen in the full camper models. I'd rather cook outside anyway. So with those parameters set, I ventured into the depths of the internet and found all sorts of interesting examples: total rust buckets, BAT wannabes, hippie vans I could smell through the screen, etc.

Eventually, I found the right candidate about 4 hours south. It was an original California van with tons of records, a clean interior, and minimal rust. I hitched up the trailer and social distanced myself down to Virginia.





The drive home wasn't too bad, and my truck even managed to keep up a nice cruising speed!

The Van:
Upon returning home, I parked the truck and trailer down the street so that I could unload the van and drive it into the driveway. The horn is hilarious, and the gang quickly came outside to see what kind of disaster I had brought home. We grabbed a photo for social, and then continued the tour while my daughter kept shooting.









We named the van Wendy. It hasn't really stuck yet.

Wendy herself is pretty great though. She runs well, and her 2.1L gas engine has been well maintained over the years. Shifting the 4 speed manual is a little tricky, which I predict is a shift linkage needing adjustment. She needs some maintenance around the brakes and steering, but nothing all that serious. Most importantly, the interior is not overly gross or covered in weird stickers or paraphernalia.

Bright and early the following weekend: game on. Mission one is giving Wendy a top to bottom clean out. We pull all the fabrics, and let loose with simple green and the shop vac.











Oh and we film a video for the tubes:


Since then I've just been knocking out little things here and there. I fixed some internal power circuits, added some greenery, swapped out the shift knob, and ordered an absurd amount of parts.







If nothing else, the van is just a nice place to work from when I need a change of scenery. Stay tuned for more updates, vids, and hopefully some actual trips.



Thanks for reading!
 

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Congrats! Looks like you found a pretty good example of a Vanagon and the tent looks in pretty good condition as well. I'll be following this closely as I'm basically in the same boat: Have an old Porsche, have a VW van project, will eventually have kids just gotta make some. Will be cool to see what kinds of things you can do with the family and the van other than the requisite camping in the forest trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

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Loved this whole thing. My daughter is 7 now but she went to her first C&C at about 6mos. She loves our cars, helping work on them, etc.

I too have been scanning for a Vanagon and hoping that prices might start falling in the current situation, but they still haven't fallen enough. I love going out for drives in my GTI but it is usually only me (which can be nice) but I keep thinking how nice it would be for our whole family to enjoy something like this.

Can't wait to see where this goes. Good dad. :thumbup:
 

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Awesome purchase :beer: My dad had a VW bus and my uncles had Vanagons when our crew was little, many good memories camping and adventures! Looking forward to seeing your progress! Are you tempted to drop a Subaru boxer or bigger - a Porsche engine into it?
 

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Nice garage! Always loved the Sunagon (will always be the name because Hot Wheels). A few years ago during my work travel days, I stumbled upon California Westys in San Diego, and realized how cultish they've become.
 

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I have daily driven Vanagons since the early 90s, and have had a jump-seat model for the last 13 years. Love it. So much room for activities.

We eat in it when the power goes out.
We offer up charging neighbor's phones (with the aux battery) when the power is out for an extended amount of time.
We've slept in it when our destination runs out of bedrooms.
We have been taking it on date nights every weekend for the last two months and eating in the parking lot of restaurants during the shutdown.

Have fun with it. There is a lot of it waiting for you.
 

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Love this, I've been patiently awaiting a thread, so thank you. :thumbup:

Can't wait to see you guys enjoy it.
 

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This thread is full of win! :thumbup::beer:
 
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