Welcome to Used Car Face Off, where we find two similar or similarly priced used cars and ask you which one you would buy. Choose wisely!
This week, Volkswagen announced it was going to stop production of the rear-engined T2 Bus – which you can still buy new in Brazil – at the end of next year. And it's really sad because the one-box shape of the Transporter is one of those automotive staples. On top of that, properly equipped it's truly a car you can live in. Which is probably why so many people do near beaches. That's why the Bus was driven by everyone: it's as functional as it is cool.
The Bus has long been dead in the US and is a true classic car now. But the essence of it has lived on for generations. The T3 model of the 1980s used to be somewhat popular in middle-class areas before Chrysler's minivans took over every driveway. But it still had the option of a pop-up tent and a fridge, perfect for the middle class definition of camping.
This is a pretty spotless 1990 Vanagon Multivan that has the popup tent and the table, but not the refrigerator or stove. Still has the ridiculous/awesome curtains, though. I also enjoy the period VW upholstery. And of course, in the back there's a closet for your items sitting above the flat four that produces more noise than power.
It's really no wonder why I see a lot of these things with Subaru engine conversions. After all, 95 horsepower coming from 2.1 liters isn't enough to power much. Definitely not something with the space of a Beacon Hill one-bedroom, that's for sure.
But there is a more modern alternative, with an engine in the front that's powerful enough to actually propel a vehicle. It seemed like no one bought a EuroVan new but they pop up every now and then in, again, middle-class settings.
With the engine up front, VW wisely stuck in its VR6 motor with 201 horses in this application. Even in 2001, minivans with 200 horsepower were considered cutting edge. While it's not going to push this brick through the air with overwhelming force, it is a nice engine. What's also nice are modern features like airbags.
This also red 2001 Eurovan comes with the same sort of livable features as the Vanagon, like the table and rear-facing captain's chairs and pop-up tent. Although the ad says there is an iPod connector, all I see is a cassette player – which only sort of counts. Still, as far as potential beachfront property is concerned this isn't too shabby.
I really do like the nostalgia of the Vanagon, but I'm not a VW van purist who insists there has to be a boxer engine in the back. I'll take the EuroVan any day, and while neither of these living rooms are going to be fun on a back road, it does make for a great home away from home. And a nice way to pay homage to the coolest people mover made.
Photos credit eBay