1970s / 1980s / 1990s / Future classic / German / Volkswagen

Is the Volkswagen T3 a future classic?

volkswagen-t3-1About a decade ago, a bay-window Volkswagen Bus could be purchased for the price of its weight in scrap metal and self-service junkyards always had a couple of rough examples in stock. Collectors almost unanimously wrote off bay-windows as parts cars at best and focused their attention on restoring the earlier split-window vans.

Now that split-windows are essentially out of the average enthusiast’s reach, bay-window buses are finally starting to attract interest and their value is creeping up every year. Next in line for the unenviable title of “most unloved Volkswagen commercial vehicle” is the boxy T3, which was introduced in 1979 and sold as the Transporter/Caravelle in Europe, the Vanagon in most American markets and the T25 in the United Kingdom.

Although still powered by a rear-mounted engine, the T3 broke with the past in several important ways throughout its long production run. It gained a 1.6-liter diesel engine in 1981, a water-cooled gasoline-burning flat-four in 1982 and a 4×4 drivetrain called Syncro in early 1985. It was available with a slew of creature comforts – including power steering, electric windows and heated mirrors – that made it a better daily driver than its predecessors.

Still, the T3 never obtained the cult status that the split- and bay-window buses reached in the 1960s and 1970s. Consequently, it is remembered as more of a work vehicle than anything else.

Will the T3 eventually become a sought-after collector’s item, or will it remain Volkswagen’s unloved van forever?

6 thoughts on “Is the Volkswagen T3 a future classic?

  1. The Syncro , Doka and commercial variants like the single cab are already appreciated, like due to their rarity here in the US because of the “Chicken Tax.”

  2. The Vanagon (North America), especially the Westfalia camper variants, is already achieving cult vehicle status here in Canada and the USA – well cared for T3 Westfalias are seeing steadily rising prices, and $20k-$25k for one in good shape is not unheard of. See http://www.vanagon.com for a hint of the growing popularity of these ‘ultimate’ rear-drive VW vans.

  3. Pingback: Future classic: The provisional rankings | Ran When Parked

  4. Pingback: Future classic: The provisional rankings | Ran When Parked

  5. The thing I have found most irritating with regards to
    VWs is getting replacement items, at least it is a major pain for
    the much older VWs. I have a Volkswagen Transporter (T4) and it will take a few months acquiring parts for it,
    I dread to think just what a T1 model owner will have to do.

  6. Pingback: Mercedes w124 crowned RWP’s future classic of the year | Ran When Parked

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