Craigslist Classic: 1972 VW Westfalia Camper – “Annie Is For Sale”

(Typically the text of CL ads are only reposted here because of their bad grammar, hyperbole, falsehoods, exaggerations or just plain absurdity. But Len Peters sent me this ad whose text makes a worthy post in its own right. It’s not enough to make me want to buy it, but it was a good read)

Annie is for sale.

9,000 dollars

Annie, as this 1972 VW van is affectionately known, was born and raised in a VW factory in Germany in 1972. I am the fourth owner who was lucky enough to meet the second owner…who told me Annie’s life story. If you are going to purchase Annie, this might be of interest to you…

She was purchased by a free and crazy stewardess, Pauline D Bolanos, who immediately drove her to Morocco. Pauline must have been a wild woman who knew the value of a qualified mechanical inspection as she had them done exactly as the manual suggested, every five thousand miles. She also had the inspection record stamped to prove it and all the original manuals remain in Annie’s possession. It is kind of cool to read them. Ms Bolanos, drove Annie to Canada and all the way to Alaska, probably playing Joan Baez tunes the whole way. Of course, why drive all that way and not make it even more epic by driving all the way to Costa Rica? Perhaps you have driven the Alaska highway…but did you do it in the 1970’s and did you drive all the way to San Jose with an air cooled engine.

Before we go on. The engine in this vehicle is original and it has a total of 132,327 miles (not kilometers) on it. In fact, everything is original except the bumpers, the roofrack and the headlight lids. Even the paintjob is original and the original interior is in pretty good shape for a vehicle that is 49 years old.

I met the second owner in July, 2000 while checking out a bookstore … the second owner was also a woman. She was living out her later years in Victoria, British Columbia. She met Pauline in Costa Rica on a similar sounding road trip… but in a Chevy van with a husband and kids. Only she did not like the Chevy van and maybe not even the husband or the kids… because she fell in love with Annie. For some reason she wanted to dress her up a bit so she bought the chrome bumpers and they drove all the way home. One big happy family, a Chevy van, and Annie probably choo, chooing all the way home to Canada. Apparently, it went well… they traveled around the United States and came home in one piece…where she was parked in a garage…for fifteen years.

And this is probably why Annie is still here with us today. It was a covered garage, she was winterized, put up on blocks and tenderly turned on every blue moon while the kids grew up, the Chevy van was sold and the iron curtain came and went.

Eventually, the day came when Annie was rolled out of the garage and the mechanics did a tune up so the second owners could go on a retirement trip without the kids to Yellowstone National Park… and back. Apparently, it was fun…without the kids.

Then she was sold to my friend Michelle in the late 1990’s … who had visions of selling hippie clothes from the 1960’s… at folk music festivals… which is exactly where Annie went… off to a series of fun lovin, guitar strumming, fashion conscious, folk music festivals in British Columbia. She went to Nelson and all the way to Smithers, where I first met her, sat in her seats and admired her pop top. We did not meet again for another year.

When I bought her off Michelle, who was busy having twins as a result of all the fun lovin folk festivalin. She had 98,000 original miles on her and I later watched the odometer click over… almost all of those miles could be retraced. She needed brake work and some sagebrush cleaned out of her air system. She needed a tune-up and some new tires and she needed a loose screw in one of the carburetors tightened up.

I needed a place to live… so Annie and I drove from paragliding launch to launch in B.C. I flew while she waited in the landing zone. We had a great time and she was a fine home and trustworthy companion. Eventually, I bought a more permanent place… stored her in a covered horse barn and religiously started her up every month…

I then drove her to California with surfboards on top where her number 3 cylinder failed. Out came her motor, her heads were rebuilt and new fancy Weber carburetors gave her more power.
We surfed, we played and she was happy. Eventually we came back to Canada and before retiring we went on one last kitesurfing trip to Oregon. She was starting to cough and I let her rest. We have travelled 35,000 miles together over the past 22 years.

And this is where I think Annie and I will part… not because I don’t love her… but simply because I don’t have the time I used to have to get her back on the road. She should get back on the road where she belongs. She needs someone with time to care for her. She needs leisurely Saturday morning love with lots of armor all and WD-40. She needs a new relationship. Her engine was running when I last parked her a few years ago. She has been living in one of those Canadian Tire car shelters here in Gibsons B.C. My loving sister pulled her out of the tent this summer, cleaned her up and we popped up the top. She looks cute in the backyard but she will look better back on the road.

So here are the cold hard facts.

She is not running right now and I am selling her “as is where is”. You will probably have to tow her away. It could be something simple, it or it could be something complicated. I have not had the gumption to investigate. I had replaced lots of basic things like the starter, muffler, clutch, brakes and so on and her transmission was good. My guess is that the gas in the carburetors needs to be flushed. My visions of turning her into an electric vehicle have faded.

On the good side… Annie still has the original window cot for the front, a cot up top in the pop top (say that four times) and the original VW table and original stool. An authentic VW chrome roof rack (which I added on for surfboards). Original manual, paperwork since day one (literally since day one). New distributor cap, spark plugs, wires, points, were all done before I went to Oregon…but that was a while ago. I stopped keeping receipts at one point as I am just not that kind of guy.

Bottom line, I think she will start and run and work for someone who has the time to get her going but you should be mechanically inclined. You can get a new canvas these days. I don’t have the time to help you so you need to be able to do this stuff yourself. Comes with a copy of “How to keep your VW alive for the complete idiot” by John Muir. I am told VW vans are worth a lot of money these days so I will try selling her for 9,000 dollars but will take the best offer before the summer is finished. The first person who can buy her with the least hassles will be her new owner. VW vans are a lot of fun and Annie was worth every penny.

Call me if you are serious about her…


Full CL ad here