Go Wheeling With A Gowesty VW Syncro
Pound for pound, the Vanagon Syncro pop-top camper might be the most agile, versatile expedition vehicle in the world. At GoWesty, they build Syncros designed for just that: travel to exotic locales.
Volkswagen built these wonder-buses from 1986 to 1991 and delivered the Syncro with an all-wheel-drive, viscous-coupler-based 4x4 system, 14-inch wheels, undersized brakes, and an anemic 2.1L engine that produced a mere 117 lb-ft of torque. GoWesty improves upon this stock platform by installing a 2.5L high-output version of the original engine that puts out 50 percent more torque. The viscous coupler is replaced by a solid billet straight shaft and decoupling system for true on-the-fly, selectable 4WD. By adding its custom-geared transmission and lower final drives (front and rear) to offset taller, 16-inch wheels and 29-inch tires, and by adding on-command, fully locking front and rear differentials, GoWesty transforms the vehicle from soccer-mom-mobile to a backwoods base camp for the Scout troop.
GoWesty also outfits the Syncro with larger, ventilated front brakes, which add increased stopping power and GoWesty-exclusive H&R German-made, progressive 2-inch lifting springs with Old Man Emu shocks on the fully independent suspension; undercarriage reinforcement and skidplates; an onboard compressed air system; a solar-powered auxiliary battery and refrigeration system; greatly improved front and rear lighting; a custom double swing-away carrier for fuel, water, and a fullsize spare; and creature comforts like Recaro seating, LPG interior furnace, deluxe awning, and a top-of-the-line DVD and stereo system.
Pros: Small size and weight. High agility and maneuverability. Comfortable and fun.
Cons: Not a tow rig. Not fully self-contained (no shower or toilet). Not designed to be a rockcrawler (but some owners do anyway). Built to customer specifications.
Price range: Cheap for a broken-down beater or $75,000 to $125,000 for a fully built and ready-for-anything Syncro.
Unique In Your Unicat
Unicat is one of the premier builders of expedition vehicles worldwide, if not the premier. These are the toys of the megarich, but with that price tag comes some awesome hardware. Unicat expedition vehicles are known for their ultra-modern interior living quarters for two, four, six, or more occupants. The vehicles are fitted with full kitchens, bathrooms, showers, and a private master bedroom. Plus the company's years of experience have resulted in a proven three-point kinematic attachment system so that chassis flex is allowed without worrying that your camper/living compartment is going to twist and break.
The latest offering from Unicat Americas is the Amerigo line of vehicles based on a USA-legal chassis. The Amerigo line of vehicles is built on the International 7400 4x4 chassis, the Unimog U500 chassis, or aftermarket 4x4 or 6x6 Ford, GM, Mitsubishi, and other chassis. These vehicles are for individual or group adventure travel, scientific exploration and research, environmental studies, photography, and professional uses such as search-and-rescue, escape/survival, and racing support. Unicat prides itself on its ability to scour the globe for the finest components, and if it can't find what it needs, Unicat manufactures it. Pricing starts at around $500,000 for the smaller 4x4s and goes up to around $3 million for fully customized 6x6s or even 8x8s. As for options, the sky's the limit. Yes, they can armor or gold-plate this mansion-on-wheels if your checkbook can afford it.
Pros: Unique, with a proven heritage. Ready for 'round-the-world travel. Five-star living quarters. Built to customer specifications
Cons: Costs more than a house. Big. Not inconspicuous at all.
Price range: $500,000 to $3 million