Purchasing a GoWesty Camper: Where To Begin?

Thank you for visiting GoWesty. This article was written specifically for the visitor who is interested in purchasing a vehicle, but does not know where to start. I know, I know: you just want to talk to a human! And believe me, we're eager to speak with you about these vans! But before we do, in order to not waste your valuable time, please take a moment to read this article thoroughly. It will answer many of your basic questions and help you narrow down your search—so that when we finally do get a chance to talk, the time will be spent efficiently. 

First of all, let's get familiar with the models:

Buses (1968-1979): The typical Bus looks like this (below). We do not buy and sell these models, as a general rule. Every once in a great while one comes along that we can represent as worthy. Normally, though, these vehicles are vintage curiosities, not serious long haul and/or reliable vehicles.

Vanagons (1980-1991): The typical Vanagon looks like this (below). Typically, we buy and sell 1986-1991 models only. Every once in a great while we come across a 1983-1985 model that is worthy of upgrading to the newer 1986-1991 systems so it becomes, essentially, as good as the later models.

Eurovans (1993-2003): The typical Eurovan looks like this (below). We buy and sell all years and models of Eurovans with pop-tops. The Weekenders were available for five years: 1993 (5-cylinder stick or A/T), 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2003 (all V6 with A/T only). The full camper was available in 1995 (5-cylinder stick or A/T) and from 1997-2003 (all V6 with A/T only).

As previously stated, GoWesty specializes in buying, restoring, and selling 1986-2003 models only. So if you are looking for a 1968-1979 Bus, 1980-1985 Vanagon that is air-cooled gasoline, water-cooled diesel, or water-cooled 1.9-liter gasoline powered, we probably can’t help you. We have studied these vehicles thoroughly, and have concluded that the 1986-1991 2.1 liter Vanagon, and 93-03 Eurovan models are the best ones. For more details as to why, it is essential that you visit the Library Section of our web site. In the Library Section please read the following articles:

"Camper Model Overview"

"Am I a Vanagon or Eurovan Person?"

"Diesel Engines in Vanagons"

If you need help navigating within our website, please do not hesitate to ask one of our helpful staff to assist you. If you take the time to read these articles, you will be better informed on VW pop-top vans than most shops that work on them. It is definitely an important read that will only take ten or fifteen minutes, so please take the time.

Once you are familiar with the different models and the pros and cons of each, the next most important deciding factor, naturally, is price. Most people assume that since the Vanagon models are older, they are probably less expensive. So people on a budget initially don’t want to consider a Eurovan. However, the reality is that, dollar for dollar, a Eurovan can provide you with a lot more vehicle than a Vanagon can. The NEWEST Vanagon was built way back in 1991, the oldest back in 1986. We pride ourselves in selling vehicles that DON’T BREAK DOWN! It is not an easy, simple, or CHEAP task to make an older vehicle as reliable as a modern one. So, before you decide that a Vanagon is for you simply based on price, please visit the “Vehicles for Sale” page of our website, where our current vehicle inventory is listed. Once there check out the “Satisfied Customers” section, which is a reference list of the vans we've sold. This section is broken down into model years, and in the case of the Vanagon, into 2WD and Syncro (4WD). This section lists not just some, but EVERY vehicle we have EVER sold. It lists what they got, when, how much it cost them, and even how to contact the customer and ask them questions directly! A few minutes scrolling though these past sales and you will quickly get an idea of what we do to these vehicles and what they cost. You will notice that IN GENERAL:

1986-1991 Vanagon (2WD) full campers or* Weekenders with pop-top typically run between $45,000 and $55,000

1986-1991 Vanagon Syncro (4WD) full campers or* Weekenders with pop-top run between $45,000-$80,000

*You will notice that there is no difference in price between the Vanagon camper and Weekender with pop-top. The pop-top feature is what drives the value of these vehicles, not the interior layout.

1993-2003 Eurovan pop-top Weekenders typically run between $20,000 and $50,000

1995-2003 Eurovan full campers typically run between $30,000 and $60,000

If you think those prices are high, please read the following articles:

"Why do GoWesty Campers Command Such a High Price?"

"'Cheap' Vanagons Are the Most Expensive"

So, now that you have an idea of what these vehicles are all about, what they more or less cost, and hopefully have decided “Am I a Vanagon or Eurovan Person?" (if not, maybe it’s time for a test drive in both?), now you need to decide if you want a full camper or Weekender.

Vanagon full camper vs. Weekender with pop-top:
These vehicles are identical in outside dimensions and sleeping capacity (4 adults). They differ in that the campers have a stove, sink, and refrigerator, and seat only 4 (with extra seating possible), whereas the Weekender has none of that stuff but instead more space and seating for six or seven, standard. Either of these vehicles is well suited for daily driving. Visibility and maneuverability is excellent in both.

Eurovan full camper vs. Weekender with pop-top:
These vehicles are totally different animals. The Eurovan camper/Weekender decision is a much more significant decision. These two different models differ similarly to the Vanagon models in that the camper seats only four (with extra seating possible), whereas the Weekenders seat seven, but both sleep four adults. But in addition to that, the full camper is a significant 15.5 inches LONGER than the Weekender version, and weighs about 25% MORE. The full camper version of the Eurovan was converted to pop-top and camper by the Winnebago Corporation in the USA, using a special extended wheel base model of the Eurovan. The Weekender version of the Eurovan was converted to a pop-top by the Westfalia Corporation in Germany, using the regular wheel base version of the Eurovan. Whereas the Vanagon camper/Weekender decision may be a “toss-up," the visibility and maneuverability is MUCH better in the Eurovan Weekender than in the Eurovan full camper, where the entire left rear corner has no visibility at all (no window, all cabinet). In general, I dissuade folks from buying a Eurovan full camper if they intend to use it as a daily driver, where good maneuverability for parking is desired.

So, now that you are up to date, what is the next step? Well, you can simply keep an eye on our site. As we finish vehicles we are working on, we will post them on our Vehicles for Sale page. Keep in mind, though, that they tend to sell pretty darn fast. A better way to go is to submit a "Wish List." Once we are clear about exactly what you're looking for, your name will be placed on the appropriate mailing list. You will get an email notification on the day we post a vehicle that fits your Wish List specifications. 

Happy camper shopping!

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