I have a soft spot for the 1984-1985 Westys. First off, I own an ’85, 2nd, it was a short lived generation with the new water cooled 1.9L. You can usually get these vans much cheaper than the 1986-1991, mainly because of the larger motor and better cooling systems. They also don’t have the proper spindles and wheel bearings to upgrade to big brake kits. However, if at some point you’re going to do an engine upgrade or swap anyhow, you can usually upgrade everything mechanical that would make it very close to an ’86-’91. At any rate, this 1985 Westy popped up for sale on The Samba about an hour ago, in a prime region too, Encinitas, CA. This listing is nicely documented, including a full photobucket with 82 pictures of the van. There’s 0 rust and they’ve done the gas tank reseal, which is one of the major issues when buying one of these older Westys. My guess is this van will sell in a couple of days for no less than $14k.
Things I would ask the owner or do before buying.
- If it’s the original motor, have the head gaskets ever been replaced?
- Get the VIN and do a full title check to make sure mileage looks legit, how many owners, etc.
- Pictures of the engine compartment and undercarriage.
- I’d maybe get a compression test first to see if the engine is still tight.
- Drive it around in traffic for 20min to see how hot it gets, does the needle go above the led light?
- Does the fridge still work? Will it run on propane?