As cool as cab-over vans go, it is quite hard to justify a price tag of €364,900 ($364,553) for a used VW T3. This particular example though is not your typical Transporter, since underneath the VW skin it is actually a Porsche – and a quite rare one.
The story of this van started in 1985 when Porsche engineers needed a quick way of transporting spare parts for the 959 rallycar during its Paris-Dakar campaign. The dead-slow VW T3 was deemed incompetent to keep up with the fast-paced rally which is why they proceeded to a series of modifications.
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The most important was the addition of a rear-mounted flat-six engine sourced from a Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera that produced 228 hp (170 kW / 231 PS) and allowed a top speed of 185 km/h (115 mph). Power was transmitted to the rear axle through a Porsche gearbox, while a new suspension setup and beefier brakes completed the mechanical upgrades.
Visually, the B32 was distinguished by front and rear skirts, a set of 16-inch Fuchs wheels, extra side vents for engine cooling, and a larger tailpipe. The interior was upholstered in leather, although the highlight is the Porsche badge on the steering wheel and the extra gauges on the lower end of the center console.
It is believed that only seven examples of the VW T3 B32 were built in Porsche’s Welcherath workshop. The van offered for sale by the Porsche Classic Center Gelderland in The Netherlands is a genuine example specifically made for Peter W. Schutz who was Porsche’s CEO at the time. This makes it a lot more valuable than the many DIY Porsche-converted Transporters that followed.
According to the listing, the van has a Porsche VIN and it is classified as a Porsche vehicle in its German papers. It was produced in 1985, but first registered in July 1988 and has an odometer reading of 130,770 km (81,257 miles). Despite its age, the T3 B32 remains in good condition overall, although the special “Pearl Mutter” paint needs some maintenance work, the tailpipe is rusty, and the front door panels need to be reupholstered.
Limited production models from Zuffenhausen usually come with steep pricing but asking €364,900 ($364,553) for a special edition of a used LCV-based Volkswagen minivan sounds somewhat excessive. By comparison, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS Tribute to Carrera RS Package retails for $312,550. In any case, Porsche collectors might appreciate the rarity of this piece and the bragging rights of owning the fastest factory-spec variant of the VW T3.