Skiing NorCal for 35 yrs, now.
The roads into and out of Tahoe have some of the most consistent and conservative irritating chain control I have ever seen. Chain control goes up.
You won't know til you try I have found that each of my vans have done OK in snow. It was also slower on the climbs.
Your biggest downside is that the 85 Westy will be a slug going up the pass. Be it 80, 50 or any other mountain pass. You'll be chugging at 45 while others in comfy new SUVs bomb pass.
If you have not experienced that yet. Nothing like 30mph fast lane pass.
If the automobile's Fuel Tank Cap leaks, your check good light will probably light up. A car or have's Fuel Tank Cap may not seem important but it is hard to your automobile. A brand new Fuel Tank Cap is not connected and is no trouble to install. It doesn't matter if you're putting for simple parts like mirrors or something more accurate like engine components, PartsGeek.
Snow handling is OK in a Vanagon. Just get good quality chains.
VW Vanagon Westfalia Camper Restoration & Subaru Engine Swap, : Mark Griffiths . Syncro de Diciembre Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro in deep wet snow.
Snow handling just not much of a deciding factor in choosing a Westy in California. You'll want new tires anyway. Choose a good all season tire and you'll be fine.
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Vanagon in Snow