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Just another car nut
05-04-2011, 08:53 PM
Post: #1
Just another car nut
Having owned more than 30 T3's of the 100+ vehicles I've owned, should qualify me as a car nut. I own other German made machinery but obsessed with T3's specifically the Syncro Doublecabs. I'm located in San Francisco, California, USA. Which means there is little likelihood you will find me in a local weekend gathering. I dropped by the new Syncrofest event in Hollister Hills in California two weeks ago. And you will also find me at Syncro de Mayo in the same place tomorrow. You will also find me organising the San Francisco Van-O-Rama and BurningVan gathering.

I joined the SA Syncro group some years ago in search of knowledge about Syncros where they continued to be made a decade after they were available in our market place. I was also been unsuccessfully searching for an alternative source for SA parts than the traditional US importers and vendors or such parts.
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05-04-2011, 10:16 PM
Post: #2
Re: Just another car nut
Parts are a big problem locally - I have exchanged in excess of 160 emails with the local agents, Barons, in search of those all elusive parts to bring my double cab up to date. I've had to source parts from dealerships all over the country while incurring additional freight costs in order to do so. I've ordered parts from Germany, the UK and the USA (gowesty.com) and scour local websites for parts on a daily basis. Some things were NLA just two years after the T3 was discontinued in 2002. I really don't understand VWs policy on spare parts - it's like they built T3s here up to the point where the could no longer complete another bus and then just stopped production and never made any provision for parts for these vehicles for the next ten years as I understand they are supposed to do. If I wanted to buy a nice late model T3 Caravelle now, it could cost me R100,000 to R120,000 ($15,000 - $18,000) - even saw an exceptionally low mileage one (35,000km) going for R150,000. Now who would want to spend that kind of money knowing that there are very few parts to be had? In many instances the parts I sourced were the very last ones in the country. I bought the very last seat belt stalks, the very last jump-seat release handle, the very last jump-seat base cover, the very last front spoiler parts, the last electric window switch bezels, the last dashboard ashtray and the list goes on.

I wanted to buy the T3 Caravelle in the pics below in 2009 - it was in remarkably nice condition and going for R70,000 ($10,500) but it needed one or two vital replacement parts which I couldn't source and had little hope in sourcing, so I ended up giving it a miss. (For instance it had a cigarette burn hole in the passenger door panel, which I couldn't have lived with and there were no trim panels available).


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05-05-2011, 07:38 AM
Post: #3
Re: Just another car nut
Hi Ben

Just an update, we only got factory built syncro's until 1992/3. The t3 2wd with either 5cyl in 2.5i intially and 2.3i and 2.6i later as well as an 1.8 carb 4 cyl were available until 2002. there was a VW garage that bought most of the syncro spares from VW of SA that built a few aftermarket syncros with either 2.0i golf motors or 2.3/2.6i depending on what the customer wanted. they were expensive, you supplied a 2wd drive bus and ZAR 150 000-00 and they turned it into a syncro. The give away on them is the fuel filler is a repositioned 2wd unit at the back.
and we only got the t4 in 2000.less than 100 t4 syncro's here in SA

Stuart
syncro hospital

I may be a mechanic, but i can't fix stupid
Bad planning on your part does not make your issue an crisis to me
Bad workmanship by other garages does not entiltle you to better rates at me
Syncro, syncro , syncro and more syncro, this is the syncro way of life
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05-05-2011, 12:00 PM
Post: #4
Re: Just another car nut
syncromad Wrote:Hi Ben

Just an update, we only got factory built syncro's until 1992/3. The t3 2wd with either 5cyl in 2.5i intially and 2.3i and 2.6i later as well as an 1.8 carb 4 cyl were available until 2002. there was a VW garage that bought most of the syncro spares from VW of SA that built a few aftermarket syncros with either 2.0i golf motors or 2.3/2.6i depending on what the customer wanted. they were expensive, you supplied a 2wd drive bus and ZAR 150 000-00 and they turned it into a syncro. The give away on them is the fuel filler is a repositioned 2wd unit at the back.
and we only got the t4 in 2000.less than 100 t4 syncro's here in SA

Stuart
syncro hospital

Thanks, Stuart. I had a hint of this story but not this specific before. I have seen photos of the converted 2wd's but had no idea that the reason they appeared in the marketplace was because VW did not produce the Syncro anymore. I speculated that the reason those conversions came to be was because there was a low supply rather than absence. Now I know.

We never got 2wd T4's here and VW appeared to have deemed the T5 too pricey to sell here as well. We got the Chrysler built and powered Routan instead with a genuine VW dashboard. :roll: I do not know any self-respecting VW bus pilot who bought one.

Cheers,

BenT
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05-05-2011, 12:16 PM
Post: #5
Re: Just another car nut
Hi Nico,

Parts seem to be an issue everywhere. Thankfully, VW has given their blessing to VW Classic Parts to start reproduction of some important parts formerly NLA. It's not all wine and roses as they also kept the VW list prices and in many cases ramped up to the aftermarket price.

For example, the Syncro 16" arches are now back in production with the original tooling. Price from VW was about 300 Euros each set of six. In the US, I was able to get some from a fellow enthusiast working at a VW dealership for $479. At that time, they were being priced at the $1200 per set. Guess what? VWCP has them priced at 895 Euros. It's the price we pay for owning old & unusual vehicles.

It is fortuitous that a healthy support industry has sprung up here in the US. Both GoWesty & Van Cafe are in California. The latter being only 2 hours drive. Builders of custom suspension and driveshaft parts such as Burley Motorsports are also nearby. Others within a few days shipping time away. In other words, all is not lost as long as the contents of your wallet do not run out. Even that is not as bad compared to what owners of more exotic cars pay. If this makes you feel a little better, I just purchased a new battery for my brother's 3 year old Ferrari. The dealership wanted $760. I got one from a wholesale source. It cost $522. Besides being very slightly narrower than my Syncro's battery, the main difference was the price. Same brand battery cost me $100 for the T3. Some of those old flat-12 engines have distributor caps costing $635 vs. my already expensive $45 T3 cap.

Everything is relative.


BenT
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