1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

Illustration for article titled 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

Welcome to Down On The Street, where we admire old vehicles found parked on the streets of the Island That Rust Forgot: Alameda, California. The VW van is a fairly common sight in Alameda, so much so that I keep passing by most T2 Transporters without stopping to photograph them (we've seen numerous T1 buses: 1956, 1957, 1960, 1966, and 1967). I'd been contemplating the inclusion of an early water-cooled Volkswagen van in this series- but still wasn't convinced they belonged- when I spotted this super-clean '87 Vanagon Syncro parked just across the street from the 1957 Cadillac. I'm convinced now; it's Vanagon Monday today!

Illustration for article titled 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

The four-wheel-drive Syncro didn't sell at all well in North America, no doubt because Detroit and Japan were filling showrooms with burly off-road hardware that made the VW look like something only Yurp-lovin' effete snobs (not to mention nattering nabobs of negativism) would choose to drive.

Illustration for article titled 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro

South Africans loved the Syncro so much that VW continued selling them there into the current decade; see the most annoying car-ad jingle ever made.

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I like looking up the video clips of people crawling their Syncros all over the offroad trails. There may not be a lot of gumption under that rear deck, but if you can get the traction and not tip over, chances are good the Syncro will climb it.

With all your camping junk aboard, under cover. That's tough to beat.