As Amazonray and I were crossing this grassy parking lot at the Powerland Museum a few weeks back, I peeled off a few quick shots of this double-cabin (“DoKa”) VW T3 Transporter, given that it’s pretty unusual in the US. As best as I can tell, VW did not import these officially to the US, due to the infamous 25% chicken tax. But it turns out to be even rarer than I thought.
At the time, I didn’t even notice the “Tristar”emblem stuck to its front end below the windshield. But a bit of Googling tell me that according to “legend”, only some 1500 Tristars were ever built, as a luxury version of the DoKa T3; some 500 were AWD Syncros; the rest 2WD. Given the lack of Syncro badges, I’m assuming its the latter.
So what makes this so special? For the typical sparse German standards of the time, this was a luxurious version of the T3, with nicer upholstery, and other touches.. But the most unusual is the second rear door in back, o the driver’s side. The standard T3 Doka had only a curbside rear door. I’m guessing the tooling for the other side already existed, for RHD countries, but in the Tristar, both were included.
The cabin in these T3s is very practical, in that classic old-school German way. The upholstery and other materials wear like iron, even if the wasserboxer 2.1 liter four doesn’t.
The sideboards on these beds fold down flat, for loading or hauling oversize objects.
Of course, the bed is a bit high, since it sits over the engine. There is a storage compartment under the front of the bed, but on the double cab, it’s none too big. Well, everything is a trade off.
Compared to an big American double cab pickup, the DoKa T3 is a paragon of space efficiency. Of course, it won’t tow 10,000 lbs.