Short Story of The Volkswagen Syncro TransporterToday marks the 64th Anniversary of the Volkswagen Type 2. Let's explore the illustrious history of the Volkswagen Syncro Transporter, hailed as one of the finest iterations of this iconic model. Renowned for its rugged durability and off-road prowess, the Volkswagen Syncro Transporter stands out as a versatile and reliable microbus.
Rooted in the third generation of the Volkswagen Type 2, the Syncro Transporter boasts 4x4 drive capability, making it a formidable all-terrain vehicle. It represents Volkswagen's foray into advanced four-wheel drive technology, following in the footsteps of esteemed predecessors like the Kommandeurwagen and Schwimmwagen, which played vital roles as light military vehicles during World War II.
From military applications to civilian ownership, the Volkswagen Syncro Transporter seamlessly transitions, offering unparalleled durability and adaptability. As a result, it has earned its place as the epitome of VW Transporter excellence, cherished by enthusiasts and adventurers alike.
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More than 40 years after the war, Volkswagen set out to modernize its 4WD system technology. The impetus came from a pair of VW engineers who, seeking adventure beyond the beaten path, encountered impassable off-road terrain while camping in Africa and Europe with their Westfalia camper. Determined to conquer more challenging environments, they conceived the VW Syncro.
Derived from the Ferguson system, initially developed by a Briton and widely used in Jensen cars, the Syncro 4WD system proved its worth on the race track. In addition to its in-house development, Volkswagen integrated the Syncro system into the Puch Haflinger military vehicle manufactured by Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch.
Looking back, Volkswagen conducted extensive trials and testing on its own 4WD system since 1975, alongside the Audi Quattro system. This developmental journey culminated in the application of the Quattro system to the Volkswagen Iltis, utilized by the German Armed Forces.
Between 1985 and 1992, Syncros were assembled in Graz, Austria, in collaboration with Steyr-Daimler-Puch. The inaugural Volkswagen Syncro debuted in 1986, offering three engine formats across three body styles, including camper and RV models. Despite their impressive capabilities, the Syncros faced challenges due to their high cost, leading to underwhelming sales.
While praised as exceptional 4WD vehicles, some users criticized the limited engine range of the Syncro, suggesting it was primarily designed for service sectors such as rescue operations and military use, rather than long-distance journeys or extreme off-roading. Consequently, many enthusiasts have turned to Subaru engines to enhance performance and range.
Syncro Engine formats
1.9 L H4 (gas, water-cooled)
2.1 L H4 (gas, water-cooled)
1.6 L I4 (turbo diesel)
Syncro Body Styles
Microbus (Transporter, Panel, Camper)
The Syncro employs an automatic 4x4 drivetrain system, utilizing a unique silicone liquid-based mechanism. During normal road conditions, the vehicle functions like a typical RWD car. However, when encountering rough or slippery terrain, the viscous coupling—a specialized gearbox—activates, automatically engaging the silicone liquid to transfer power to the front wheels, enabling 4WD operation.
The viscous coupling features four gears plus a "G" mode, offering a very low ratio gear ideal for off-road excursions or navigating steep slopes.
To ensure optimal performance, it's crucial to periodically check the condition of the silicone liquid. Just like engine lubricant, it may need renewal if expired or depleted.
We trust this article provides valuable insights for prospective enthusiasts and owners alike.