Overland Classifieds :: 1985 Volkswagen VW Vanagon Westfalia

Photos by Chazz Layne

“It’s not a slow car, it’s a fast house,” reads a green sticker affixed to Mike and Geneva Saint-Amour’s 1985 Volkswagen VW Vanagon Westfalia. These words ring true for any vehicle-based traveler, especially for Mike and Geneva, whose blog boasts the same name. After retirement, they sold all of their possessions and moved into the Vanagon full-time (with three dogs). For four years, they toured the USA (including Alaska), Canada, and Mexico (Baja, Sonora, and Chihuahua).

Named Alta (Spanish for “tall”), this Westfalia lives up to its name. Mike and Geneva replaced the canvas pop-top and installed an Adventurewagen high top, which allows inhabitants to stand up in the back at all times. Perhaps one of the most attractive features of this build is the Bostig engine conversion, bringing the reliability of the Ford 2.0-liter Zetec engine to one of the most liveable indoor spaces out there.

From Mike and Geneva

“We loved this van for the ease of parking, driving, and stealth camping. The blackout windows and curtains make it possible to be nearly invisible inside. Meal prep is simple with adequate counter space. Sleeping is comfortable in a double-sized bed. The high top also added great interior storage. The unique look meant that people often wanted to ask questions, take photos, or tell us stories. This added deeply to our enjoyment of travel, as we met amazing folks everywhere we went!”

Mike and Geneva’s Vanagon was featured on Expedition Portal in 2014. Check out the article here: https://expeditionportal.com/slow-car-fast-house/.

Features:

Adventurewagen high top
Bostig engine conversion with Ford 2.0-liter DOHC Zetec engine (31,000 miles)
Ultra Gauge with Bostig link system (provides engine temperature, mpg, rpm, oil performance, and other data on engine performance)
Rebuilt manual transmission with limited-slip differential (rebuilt by AZ Transaxle)
GoWesty high-power headlight kit (S.A. Grille)
60-watt GoPower solar panel
GoPower PWM solar controller and switch
Secondary 10-pound propane tank with propane fittings for a ceramic heater, external BBQ, or water heater
Spare tire carrier underneath front end converted to a secret storage bin
Fiamma 45s 10-foot awning with custom canvas room enclosure
Bumper-mounted rear GoWesty swing-away system

Interior:

Storage modifications include built-in cabinets, sliding closet doors, spice racks, pegboard
Kitchen sink with custom 20-gallon water tank
Mr. Heater Aqua Cube propane water heater

Listed for $26,000, Mike and Geneva’s 1985 Volkswagen VW Vanagon Westfalia is currently located in Prescott, Arizona. Check out the full vehicle specs or contact the couple with questions/offers via the originalCraigslist ad here.

 

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Ashley Giordano completed a 48,800-kilometer overland journey from Canada to Argentina with her husband, Richard, in their well-loved but antiquated Toyota pickup. On the zig-zag route south, she hiked craggy peaks in the Andes, discovered diverse cultures in 15 different countries, and filled her tummy with spicy ceviche, Baja fish tacos, and Argentinian Malbec. You can usually find Ashley buried in a pile of travel books, poring over maps, or researching wild medicinal plants. Ashley is a co-founder of Women Overlanding the World and crew member of Expedition Overland. You’ll find this Canadian-born couple exploring a different continent in 2021, and sharing their trip every step of the way at Desk to Glory.