Expedition Portal Classifieds: 1988 VW LT40

The Syncro Vanagon is easily one of the most beloved adventuremobiles of our time, combining all the funkiness of a VW with the capability of a four-wheel drive and space efficiency of a van. Yet, far fewer people in North America have heard of the VW LT, even though it boasts all the same ingredients of the wildly popular Syncro recipe. So today we’d like to introduce you to the Vanagon’s bigger and much badder brother, the LT40 4×4.

As weird as it sounds, the LT was quite literally designed by Volkswagen to outperform the Vanagon. Despite the widespread success of the Vanagon platform in commercial variants, the rear-engine design couldn’t keep up with the growing weight demands of many transport consumers in the 1960s, which forced VW’s team back to the drawing board. What they came up with was a vehicle that was not only quite a bit larger but utilized a front-engine and rear-wheel-drive layout for maximum versatility and utility. They dubbed it the LT for Lasten-Transporter, or simply the Cargo Transporter.

The new truck was well received, so a four-wheel-drive variant was eventually introduced, and that’s when things got interesting. Each four-wheel-drive LT came standard with a higher suspension system sitting atop solid front and rear axles. Both a center and rear differential lock came standard, and an additional front differential lock could be added as an option, an option that the van for sale here does include by the way! Under the hood, you’d find a 6-cylinder, turbo-diesel motor, which was paired to a 5-speed manual transmission.

Unsurprisingly, this combination four-wheel drive, front, rear, and center locking diffs, solid axles, and a diesel motor quickly caught the attention of overlanders throughout Europe, and many of these big VWs began circling the globe. Now, this particular truck is ready to do the same. It has undergone a full restoration down to the last nut and bolt in Germany and boasts a range of modifications from solar charging systems to diesel-heated floors. Although there are no interior pictures, the owner has posted a detailed video covering every aspect of the van online. Be warned though, you may need a few cups, or pots, of coffee to get through it. The one hour video can drag on a bit, to say the least.


Year: 1988

Make: Volkswagen

Model: LT40

Engine: DV turbo-diesel 2.4L, 102 PS, 6-cylinder

Mileage: 313,000 kilometers/194,000 miles

Price: $72,000

Original Advertisement

Editor’s Note: The following text appears unaltered from the original ad.

It hurts us very much that we now officially offer a great love of our life for sale. We would like to point out in advance that this vehicle will only be sold by us because we will not have the time to take care of it in the future anymore. Since we have always maintained and cared for this vehicle with a lot of love, had many great adventures with it and much more… we have a very close connection with the vehicle and it is very important to us that this vehicle is passed on into good hands.

The offered vehicle is not just any four-wheel motorhome. It is much more, it is one of the only few built 4×4 VW LT 40 and this one is in a technically and optically almost new condition. The vehicle is imported from Germany, was taken apart there, down to the smallest screw and got restored/renewed from a Company who is specialized in old VW vans. According to Service Ontario, it is the first LT40 4×4 from 1988 imported from Germany into Ontario. The vehicle has countless features and extras that make it an absolutely self-sufficient expedition/adventure vehicle. Camp anywhere, without electricity, without water, in the middle of the wilderness, even the cold Canadian winter doesn’t speak against a trip with this motorhome! We tested it ourselves and lived a complete winter in Ontario in this vehicle. Details about the equipment etc. can be found further down in the text.

Added to the sale will be expensive special tools and spare parts specially required for this vehicle, who will be a great help to you for future repairs and maintenance.

Important: The vehicle leaves our yard only when the purchase amount has been credited/booked on our bank account.

Included in the purchase price is a half-day tour around the camper, during which we will explain every little technical detail to the buyer and teach you how to keep this vehicle in top condition and maintain it properly. So that the buyer can enjoy this unique vehicle for a long time. Included is also an oil change which we carry out together with the seller shortly before it gets picked up, so that the seller is also familiar with this process with the vehicle.

Since it is a private sale, we give neither a guarantee or a warranty on the vehicle and any parts. Also to this letter we would like to protect ourselves legally and therefore note that sizes and quantity data partly correspond to estimates and could deviate with exact re-measuring.

And now we come to the probably most important part, the vehicle description:

VW LT 40, 4×4, 1988 in Germany

Engine: DV Turbo Diesel 2.4l, 102 PS, 6 Cylinder

Front and rear differential lock!

5 gear, Manual


-diesel heater -diesel powered floor heating -diesel-powered hot water boiler -Built-in engine preheater that uses the heat from the diesel heater! (unique system!) -Emergency diesel heater -fuel preheater -4 solar panels, total reading of 360 watts -4 solar gel batteries approx. 360 aH 12V, all fused with battery monitors and deep discharge protection -1 starter battery 80 aH 12V -complete interior equipment converted to LED Built-in high-performance computer that was special built for this vehicle and also works with 12 volts, complete mobile powerful home office that works on 12 volts. -LED Flatscreen -Lots of USB charging spots -built-in special charger, works with all input voltages of the world no matter if 110 or 230volt etc…. Charges all 5 batteries safely and quickly At the same time! Made in Germany. -Full bathroom and shower -additional outdoor shower -2 bedrooms -custom-made large fuel tank with about 140l total volume. -Approx. 160l freshwater tank, of which approx. 40 in hot water boiler. -Kitchen with three burners, propane gas, permanently installed tank under the vehicle, with outside connection for an additional barbeque grill. -3 Air horns -Offroad LED Lighting -custom-made bumper -2x spare tyres -2x sand plates -Custom-made heavy-duty luggage carrier -trailer hitch -Built-in readout device for auxiliary heaters -Fire, Propane gas, etc. Warning system -GPS Tracker -Alarm system, coupled with mobile phone -Bicycle carrier for two bicycles -Bedroom Ventilation System -extremely energy efficient electric refrigerator -JPL sound system with new radio and subwoofer -optimized instruments (oil pressure, oil temperature, turbocharger pressure etc.) -Rearview camera (with night vision) -Roof camera for bridge underpasses (with night vision) -Flyscreens Roller blinds -Darkened windows -Sun protection roller blinds Driver’s cab -2x with vehicle frame screwed Tressors -and many more…………………………………….

This list could go on like this for quite a while because this adventure vehicle is well equipped from front to back with everything you need, everything is in an excellent condition and works. Please watch our Youtube video for a complete tour with all the details!


The following things have been renewed in the past weeks:

-the complete underbody including all parts under the car was derusted, repainted and sealed with underbody protection. -The car is completely repainted. -The complete interior was cleaned, including new bed sheets, etc. -All seals, particularly those on the roof were renewed. -Interior freshly painted, including bed floors with special mold protection paint.

The following things were renewed and completed 5’000 km ago:

-Tyres Balanced and equipped with special air valves to withstand more pressure. All tires have between 70 and 85% tread pattern. -all cardan shafts were overhauled (bearing exchange, balancing, etc.) -All fuel lines were renewed. -Gearbox COMPLETELY OVERHAULED -Transfer case COMPLETELY OVERHAULED -Both axles, front and rear, COMPLETELY OVERHAULED (New wheel bearings + calibration, new differentials + calibration, new sealing rings, new steering bearings + calibration, oil change and much more) -Completely new steering linkage + bearing -Completely new rear drum brakes -New brake pads + front brake overhaul -brake fluid change -Air inlet funnel (special design) -Additional electric fan for engine cooler (high-performance fan made in Germany) -Marine Diesel Filter System (Made in Germany, from shipbuilding, custom made, filters even the dirtiest diesel clean) -New exhaust system -Diesel auxiliary heating system

-A complete overhaul of engine: New starter, new turbocharger! New turbocharger pipe, injection nozzle cleaning, new glow plugs, injection pump sent to Bosch and overhauled, cylinder compression and tightness measured, all at about 80%, new clutch, new clutch bearing + seals, new fuel return hoses, cooling water change + installation of the engine preheating system and much more.

-Instruments/Cockpit overhauled + all bulbs in the cockpit replaced and electronics overhauled. -And much more…… for more details please have a look at our video.


-The vehicle has an improved suspension system with two additional stabilizers each from Trailmaster, which also makes faster driving comfortable. -Widened track -Extreme off-road capability -Imported to Ontario with official papers and currently registered in Ontario. -Air snorkel with up to 1.6m deep water crossing possible. -An absolutely worldwide unique vehicle that looks for its equal in top condition and immediately ready to travel!

Purchase price and remarks:

As mentioned before, it is almost impossible to list all details of this vehicle here, please watch our Youtube video and come by for a vehicle inspection for more details. https://youtu.be/hNgYCeKy9L0

Please do not ask for a lower purchase price, the minimum quoted is already below the value of the vehicle. The import, registration and all the listed restorations were very very expensive.

Example: a single complete axle overhaul costs about 6’000 Euro (not CAD) because the required bearings, gears, seals etc. etc. are no longer manufactured and all had to be rebuilt and this work is very time consuming etc. → The axles for the next 200’000 km should not cause any problems. (depending on the use)

To view the original advertisement click here.

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Chris didn’t receive a real taste of the outdoors until moving to Prescott, Arizona, in 2009. While working on his business degree, he learned to fly and spent his weekends exploring the Arizona desert and high country. It was there that he fell in love with backcountry travel and four-wheel drive vehicles, eventually leading him to Overland Journal and Expedition Portal. After several years of honing his skills in writing, photography, and off-road driving, Chris now works for the company full time as Expedition Portal's Senior Editor while living full-time on the road.