redmed wrote:I have been using NGK's for quite a few years now. That's why I'm concerned about the Autolite plugs I got, but getting the Autolite's for almost nothing is worth a try. As for American plugs for American cars, I have had NGK Iridium's in my Oldsmobile Silhouette for 80K+ miles without a problem. I put them in the Olds because it is not fun putting plugs in the back bank of cylinders, you have to be a contortionist to install them. Iridium being good for 90k miles sounded like just thing to put in. I'm going to test how long they last in that minivan, unless I replace it with another minivan or SUV. I have been looking for another vehicle we can sleep in. That VW bus would be ideal but since they don't make them anymore I don't want to put the effort into restoring one.
I have no doubt NGKs are great in your domestic. The main reason I've installed domestic-branded spark plugs in domestic vehicles is because plugs from Autolite, AC Delco, etc. were simply readily available and usually on sale. Overall, NGK is my favorite spark plug brand so if I can find their plugs for any car, I'd go with them. That being said, my main deciding factors are price and availability much like when you got your Autolites. I went with Bosch Platinums for the VW because they were on closeout on rockauto for about 70 cents each.
I hear you with installing plugs on a transversely-mounted V6. It's a real pain. I've had to do it to a 3100 V6 in a Chevy Corsica once. It was not fun.
In terms of camper vans, these things are rare and usually expensive. VW made them in vehicles after the Type 2 (better known as the VW Bus or Kombi) so you can get a VW Vanagon with the Westfalia camper package. The VW Eurovan that came after the Vanagons also had a pop-top camper option. The bad thing is that they are either trashed or very expensive.
I see a lot of conversion vans for domestics like the Chevy Van but camper versions seem rare. It just seems like Americans rather tow a camper trailer than drive a camper van.
There's always the Pontiac Aztec as a quasi-camper, but it's also one of the ugliest things ever made on four wheels. However, owners love them and they even have tents that attach to the rear of the car. They are also available in AWD.
Lastly, there's talk of a new Mercedes Marco Polo. This is a Benz V-Class van with a Westfalia camper treatment. It's like a modern luxury version of the VW campers like mine. These are offered in diesel engines so the range, fuel economy, and towing capacity should be impressive. However, it's a Benz so prices will probably be high, assuming they even come to the US.