Camper & Bus Magazine published a really nice feature story on Syncro de Mayo 2011 in its January issue.
Richard Kimbrough took the fantastic photographs and wrote the accompanying story. He did an excellent job and it’s well worth the read, as is Camper & Bus. Click on any photo to read a PDF of the article.
For information on this year’s Syncro de Mayo XIII, visit the event website. It’s coming up soon!
The 12th Annual Shasta Snow Trip was held earlier this month. If you have not heard of the event, it is an epic journey each year up Mt. Shasta in north-central California under brutal conditions in the dead of winter.
From the event website:
This adventure is an exclusively pre-1967 VW Bus journey from lower Mendocino County to Mt. Shasta City via up to 350 miles of dirt and paved back roads. The trip’s “off the grid” routes have reduced -not eliminated- the probability of a fatal accident involving another car with it’s remoteness, however, it brings fast to the forefront numerous other, more exciting ways to die, like: flying off cliffs, hitting trees, live stock, or being run over.
Now if we can only come up with a splitty to do Shasta Snow Trip next year!
Wow! It’s something totally new and innovative in a VW camper.
And the overall result appears to be pretty good … or will be once they release the Syncro version!
There is something disconcerting about it fully extended, but perhaps that’s just from a Freudian point of view.
But when you ponder it, the concept as executed really is innovative, well designed and a genuine breakthrough. And it somehow fits in with the VW Camper engineering tradition. First the pop-up, now the pop-out.
Check out the photos.
One thing they don’t give a good view of is what it looks like inside when fully retracted. How much of the ambiance and charm of the classic westy … which helps make the miles of driving to the camp site actually enjoyable … is lost with this design?
Popular Mechanics Magazine has named the VW T3 Syncro one of ten “highly desirable” collector’s vehicles, along with the Ferrari F40 , the Porsche Carrera GT, and the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.
From the short article on the Syncro:
The reason is that these compact vans offer real 4WD capability and allow owners to camp just about anywhere. The Syncro (4WD) package included an ultra-low first gear in the five-speed transmission and came with an optional locking rear differential. Locking front differentials were even available in other countries. VW enthusiasts have built a cottage industry around these vehicles, and it is not uncommon to see them around the U.S. packing powerful Subaru engines.
In its last year, the 1991 VW Camper Syncro was fully loaded and had an MSRP of $26,475. Though NADA lists the high retail value for these at around $11,000, they tend to go for more on the open market. We saw one sell on eBay for more than $30,000. And modified ones with low miles are routinely listed for $40,000.
After a year of preparation, Sarah and Martin departed Berlin on January 10th on their 10 month, 6,000 km journey to China … in their beloved Syncro, TigerBus, shown above.
Not only are they going to China, but they are taking an adventurous route through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India… Malaysia, Thailand and Laos. Wow, what a journey!
Martin’s brother Stephan made a film of some of the extensive preparations Martin and Sarah undertook for the trip, and of their departure … in the middle of the night!
According to the dispatches, Martin and Sarah encountered significant problems initially, including a ruined 4th gear, and the need to pull the transaxle in Turkey.
Things did not go so well. There were also problems with the diesel fuel gelling up due to the cold (-28 C). But they managed to get everything fixed and get TigerBus back on the road.
Here they are in Istanbul in late January.
According to the last facebook dispatches, they had crossed the border into Iran without incident, headed for Teheran. But on Friday stopped and decided to go skiing!
You can follow the heroically adventurous couple on their Facebook page, or on their blog at TigerBus.de, where they are posting dispatches, including photos and nicely written updates by Sarah. We will also be checking in from time to time and will update you on Martin and Sarah’s progress.
Winter seems to have bypassed California and much of the US. There is no snow in the Sierra, and all of the passes remain open when, in normal years, they close by Thanksgiving.
Still, this is a great photo that is part of a series of black and white promotional photos VW took to promote the Syncro and Vanagon/Transporter. We have uploaded the series here.
See the Syncro de Mayo website and blog for further information and updates.
Syncro de Mayo 2011 turned out great. We expect this year to be even better. Of course!
I guess it is a little early and we are 6 months away, but here’s hoping that after a long, cold, hard winter, we will see you at Syncro de Mayo on Cinco de Mayo!