I’ve been on a bit of a van kick recently (forever?), and today we have a gorgeous VW that is, in fact, NOT a Westy, Transporter, or Vanagon at all. It’s one of VW’s commercial vehicles from Europe that has spent time as a fire van, but has covered just 13k miles in its 24-year life. Apparently the seller couldn’t register it in California due to the intense EPA rules, which is hugely disappointing as it means I can’t buy it. If you live in any other state, though, this van is impeccably clean, with the normally-dull firetruck’s paint still shining. The interior is an enticing proposition as well; while I’m usually musing about how I would discard the original equipment and turn a van into a camper, this one is all set to become whatever you want as it’s just extremely clean metal with some useful mounting points in the side. And, as always, I fricking love jump seats. This is a very cool and very unique VW van that has a Buy-It-Now lower than just about every nice US-market VW Van sale.

Click more for details: 1980 Volkswagen LT31 Van on eBay

Year: 1980
Model: LT31 commercial van
Engine: 2.0 liter inline-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 13,668 mi
Price: $15,000 Buy It Now

The Ultimate Utilitarian & Stylish Ride for Your Business or Extreme Endeavors

This genuine commercial VW Transporter is in a class of its own for practical functionality merged with offbeat allure. A pleasure to drive with unsurpassed maneuverability, it is a highly desirable model even in Europe. It is a real collectors item and classic car in beautiful original shape that still has many years remaining of reliable service and wide-ranging utility. The siren and warning light systems are sensational at events and extremely useful tools off public roads.

LT stands for “Leicht-Transporter”, Light-Transporter. It was never exported by VW to the US due to its commercial rating. This particular van has a very clean interior with factory assembly line code tags, VIN plates, service placards and original owners manual map all still in place. It was always babied and meticulously maintained by the Rauenberg Fire Department in Baden-Württemberg, Germany and has barely been used since arriving in the US. There have never been animals or smokers in this van and in fact it has only been cleaned inside and out with unscented natural cleaning products, isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, water and HEPA vacs. This is a very clean vehicle.

The second owner shipped this Transporter from Germany then was unable to register it due to California non-compliance with EPA regulations. This commercial VW van can easily be registered in most states including Nevada, Oregon and Washington which follow US DOT/EPA regulation that allows the use and registration of a carbureted vehicle if it is at least 20 years old. All US Customs documents, the bill of lading from Germany and freight broker records are available.




• Most recent service only required replacement of hoses and similar parts that age without use

• Ready to be outfitted for your business or as a camper, surf ride or Burning Man coach

• Ultra low miles and excellent overall condition with minor cosmetic issues

• Handles beautifully and runs strong


• An outstanding advertising tool prompting exceedingly positive attention

• A head-turner with or without a company name and logo in bold white on red

• A superb city delivery van with an extremely compact turning radius

• Sliding doors on both sides and a roll-up aluminum back door


• Model year 1980 – Type 281

• 13,668 original miles, 21,997 kilometers

• Manufactured by VOLKSWAGEN AG Wolfsburg, Hannover plant, West Germany

• Customized as a German fire engine crew truck by ZIEGLER in Gingen, West Germany

• Super efficient Audi-Porsche 4 cylinder, in-line, 2 litre, 75 HP, water-cooled gas engine

• Dual sliding doors and walk-through cab with four-seater removable configuration

• Working emergency horns, sirens and light system by Hella

• Rear compartment with aluminum tambour door

• Rear wheel drive, 4-speed manual transmission

• Turning circle 11.9 meters

• 195 R 14 tires with plenty of tread left

• Battery disconnect pin to preserve power

• New NAPA Legend 40R battery

• Roof rack, ladder and antenna

• Front and rear fog lights

• All original keys

I love the look, cleanliness, and endless possibilities with this van. Also, an aluminum roll-up rear door immediately multiplies your street cred. When I first saw this van, I wanted to paint it Empacher yellow, like that Mercedes we saw, and use it as a work truck, but it’s clearly too clean to alter the exterior appearance, and the whole California thing. If I weren’t traveling for work, I might drive up to Santa Rosa just to see this van in person. Again, $15k is the low end for most VW vans, and few are as unique and well cared for as this.


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