For $36,995 Canadian, Would You Sail The Highways In This 1997 VW T4 Dehler Optima 5.4?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Perhaps the most decadent embodiment of conspicuous consumption is the yacht. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Eurovan has been converted by a yacht maker, but will its price prove that only 1-percenters need apply.

Do you think that owning an Alfa Romeo is a badge of honor among auto enthusiasts? You know, like actually showing up anywhere is a win in itself?


That tradition seems to continue with the modern Alfas, as they seem to have maintained the reputation of their elder brethren in being both quirky and frustratingly gremlin filled. Hell, even the company’s press cars seem to have electrical issues, and those are the machines that are supposed to make a good first impression.

Yesterday we looked at a modern Alfa, a drop dead Fred sexy 2016 Alfa 4C to be precise, and while the clock was ticking on its warranty, the same couldn’t be said of its valuation, at least not as far as the seller was concerned. His $45,000 asking was one of the lowest on the market, but that wasn’t good enough for the 65-percent of you who found it too Crack Pipe for your liking. Maybe the outcome would have been different if, in addition to the gorgeous body, staccato exhaust note, and engaging performance, that Alfa had also provided you with a place to go poop.

Here we have a 1997 Volkswagen T4 Dehler Optima 5.4 and it does in fact come with a commode. I’m sure that, in addition to marveling at that major amenity, you’re also asking your self: ‘a Dehler Optima what?’


Dehler Mobile GmbH was a division of the German boat maker Dehler Yachts. The subsidiary was founded in 1981 with the intent of bringing the amenities of luxury sea-going to the on-shore camper crowd.

Dehler offered a number of different models/configurations on the Volkswagen T3 and later T4 models, the largest and most well equipped of which was the Optima 5.4, an example of which we see here.


This one is offered in Canada, but appears to be a European model. That means that its speedo reads in KPH and that it’s still too young to make it in the U.S. of A. without some major wrangling. That’s too bad. It’s also yet another point for our wily neighbors to the north. Geez, first Poutine, and now this!


The Optima offers a full camper experience within its modest confines. Unlike the more traditional VW Westy, this van has a top that’s permanently popped. That affords stand up room in back, as well as the opportunity for some funky styling that admittedly does visually balance that Kardashian ass. It’s all seemingly in decent shape and there’s a sizable awning attached for outdoor extravaganzas.


Inside you get a lot of storage and some nice teak trim. The space is sectioned by function, and the dining area in the middle converts to a bed. Behind that is a full kitchenette while bringing up the rear is a bathroom with the aforementioned toilet and a stand-up shower. What more could you possibly want?

Well, you may desire a little more power. While mods were made to the Caravelle base, the mechanicals are still stock T4. That means a 2461-cc inline five cylinder gas engine with 113 horsepower and 148 lb ft of torque. Next to that is a four-speed automatic, which admittedly was never one of VW’s best transmissions.


Countering that somewhat sullied gearbox rep, the seller notes that this Optima “[D]rives fantastic with zero issues.” It also comes with a mere 50,000 kilomenters (31,000 miles) on the clock. That’s almost new! Another plus is the note of a recent servicing which included a timing belt and new Bilstein shocks.


This is perhaps one of the rarest VW-based campers around. It’s arguably also the boatiest. If you’ve ever lusted after the yachting lifestyle but perhaps suffered from uncontrollable motion sickness or just a fear of the Kraken and hence want to stay on land, then this is your opportunity. That is, if you’re Canadian. Up there, the car is asking $36,995 which works out to aboot $29,412 American. That price looks like an even better deal in Euros where it comes it at 23,753€.


Look, this Dehler looks to be intriguing enough that it might even be worth the hassle of shipping to Europe, or even undertaking the ordeal of making it legal in the U.S.. The question is, while interesting, is it priced right to do so? What do you think, is this literal land yacht worth that $36,995CA asking? Or, does that price totally sink the deal?

You decide!


Vancouver, BC Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

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Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

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