1988 MODEL YEAR OVERVIEW
Just three models of the Vanagon were built for the United States market for model year 1988. These were:
There were no 1988 model year Vanagon Syncros for the USA. It appears that 1987 Syncros were still available and continued to be sold during 1988. Compared to 1987, this is five less models available as VW dropped the basic Vanagon Camper and all the Syncros for the 1988 lineup.
Five paint colors were available on these models:
Pastel White, Flash Silver Metallic, Dove Blue Metallic, Titian Red Metallic, and Wolfram Grey Metallic. Not all colors available on all models.
Volkswagen's stated horsepower for the Vanagon's 2.1L boxer engine dropped from 95HP in 1986 and 1987 to 90HP for 1988 through 1991. There were no discernible differences to account for reduced power, so it's most likely that VW had determined original rating overstated the power and that the 1988 figure is more accurate for 1986 and 1987 as well.
Vanagon's torque rating from 1986 to 1991 remained unchanged at 117FtLbs.
Volkswagen sold 5,227 Vanagons in the USA in model year 1988
(According to CarSalesBase.com)
Notable 1988 features:
The 1988 has carryover features from 1987 including:
- 2 Black plastic front grilles (1983.5-1991)
- Rectangular primary headlights, separate square high beam lights
There are a several exterior features to distinguish an 1988 Vanagons from the
- Plastic air relief vents at the rear of the rear side windows
- Larger VW logo in center of upper front grill
- Larger VW logo in the center of the rear hatch in place of the previous
"Volkswagen" with VW logo on left side of rear hatch
- Black aero styled bumpers replace the chrome bumpers.
There are no matching rocker panels on the side of the van between
- All 1988 Vanagons adopted the lowered ride height of the
1987-1/2 Wolfsburg Limited Edition.
- Some 1988 passenger vans had A/C controls mounted in the overhead
A/C console like the 1987s and some had controls mounted in the dash
near the radio.
- For 1988 the sunroof option was eliminated.
The 1988-1/2 Wolfsburg Limited Edition was the first USA market Vanagon with the side rocker panels between the wheels to match the aero-styled bumpers.
These bumpers and rocker panels are metallic grey. This model also has body colored exterior mirrors. The 1988 WLE models came in thee colors: Orly Blue Metallic, Bordeaux Red Metallic, Vesuve Grey Metallic
1988 Visual Cues:
All 1988 Vanagons included the larger fiberglass aero-style bumpers, dropping the chrome metal bumpers used in previous years. Another quick and obvious way to distinguish 1986 & later Vanagons from 1985 & earlier models is that beginning in 1986 VW used a pair of rectangular headlights on each side of the upper grille. These replaced the single round headlights used in previous years.
Like other 1984 to 1987 models, the emblem on left side of the hatch included a VW logo followed by the word Volkswagen
1988 vans kept the upper grille at the front of the van for interior ventilation with a second, lower grille that provided cooling air for the front-mounted radiator. This two-grille look distinguishes all of the water-cooled Vanagons from the older 1980 - 1983 air cooled models.
As with all Vanagons beginning in 1982 through 1991, the 1987 models had removable black plastic cooling air intake grilles on each side of the van, behind the rear-most windows.
1988 Brochure Gallery (Click any page to open)
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