1980 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel with 9,000 original miles

The Dasher is one of those nameplates that has been long forgotten as the years have passed. First introduced as the Passat in 1973, the similar Dasher arrived in the US in 1974 as Volkswagen’s large car. Initially offered with a 1.5 liter four cylinder, the diesel option seen here became available in 1979. Few Dashers exist today, especially one that has been preserved as well as this one.

1980 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel with 9k miles on The Samba

The seller states:

You are viewing what is likely the finest low mile museum quality Dasher diesel in existence. It is simply in 100% original showroom condition in every way with just 9,400 actual documented miles. For those unfamiliar with the Dasher, this was the original VW Passat in global markets being sold under a different a different name for the U.S. market. This was the flagship VW selling at almost a 30% premium (some $10,000 sticker price) over the Rabbit but utilized the same diesel engine. The fore-aft engine placement, front subframe design and high quality insulation materials resulted in a superior ride and handling feel to other period VWs.

I am a avid collector of unrestored low mile German autos and bought this from the original owner 7 years ago. At that point the Dasher had just 3,800 actual miles. Here’s the story…a well off entrepreneur purchased the car at the peak of the 70’s energy crisis and, after a few months, determined he did not like driving a small car. Rather than getting rid of the car it was stored in a climate controlled environment for 24 years until I purchased it in 2004. The car was started and driven short distances frequently to keep all mechanical systems perfect through the years. It has never had any fuel system issues, or for that matter, any mechanical problems whatsoever. I drove the car 700 miles home at purchase and have driven it approx. 1000 miles per year since. Being stored inside since new it is near perfection in every way wherever you look. As the car was only driven a few months when new, never stored outside and never driven in rain during my posession, it looks like a car with even less than the 9,400 miles currently on the odometer. The Dasher is finished in 100% original Onyx green paint over an olive green velour interior. There are no dings or visible wear on the paint, body or interior. It literally has the appearance of a well kept 6 month old car.

The car has a factory sliding sunroof, air conditioning, factory AM/FM Blaupunkt stereo, 4-speed manual transmission and, of course, the venerable 1.5L normally aspirated diesel engine. The car has always been maintained to perfection. During my ownership I have completed the following: Annual oil/filter changes (every 1k miles), annual fuel filter changes, coolant flush (2 times), transmission oil change (80W90), brake fluid flush, new rear wheel cylinders and brake shoes, 4 new Bridgestone Turanza radials. All else is original including the wiper blades, belts, hoses and every other part on the car except the battery. It all looks brand new. All original rubber parts are flawless, crack free and supple. The factory A/C is ice cold and has never had any freon added in 31 years!

The car truly drives like a new Dasher did in 1980 in every way. All factory books and keys are present as well as the four factory original Continental whitewall tires. I removed and stored the original tires shortly after purchasing the car for safety reasons. The factory tires still look nearly new with no cracks and full tread. The spare tire has never been used and all tools are untouched. The engine bay has never been cleaned and looks like new. Even the green factory paint on the engine block looks great (when did you see that last?). The trunk area and underbody are spotless. You will even note the yellow factory sealing wax still present on some of the lower body aprons.

The Dasher consistently delivers around 42 mpg in city driving and goes down the road with the smooth precision that only a flagship VW can deliver. It starts and idles very smoothly with virtually no smoke. It uses absolutely no oil nor has any leaks of any kind. No repairs of any kind, major or minor, are needed as this car has been lovingly maintained in a way that only a knowledgable collector can do.

This has to be one of the best Dashers left out there, simply because I can not remember the last time I spotted one on the road. Still, $9,500 seems a bit dear for something rather pedestrian as this sedan, even though it represents the best of the best.


5 Comments on "1980 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel with 9,000 original miles"

  1. chanifin says:

    The first car I ever registered in my name was a a mid-late 70’s Dasher diesel wagon my family picked up new in Europe and that I got as a hand-me-down. I’m glad to see that the world has enough crazy oddballs to make this a collectors item but no thanks. I can still remember how totally underpowered that thing was even my 70’s standards. 0 to 60 times measured in days not seconds and hills were something to be avoided at all costs.

  2. Bob Salter says:

    Man that must be slow. Would be good for someone who commutes at a steady 50 MPH and piles up 30,000 miles per year.

  3. Rick says:

    It’s not about the speed: VWs of that era were all gloriously underpowered

  4. chanifin says:

    Rick, What are they about then. I mean I have good memories of my Dasher but by any standard it was pretty bad. I guess it got good mileage but beyond that what’s to recommend these at this point in time? They weren’t particularly reliable. VW designed these to last about 10 years or so which was the time the frame and body started to really rust out. Power wise I’m not talking speed I’m talking about getting up hills or driving on the freeway.

  5. Ben says:

    I own a 1980 diesel VW Dasher here in Alaska and although it has aged, it climbs the mountain passes as well as many of the cars around me – 60 mph is no problem on th grades. I bought last summer from the original owner. It’s closing in on 250,000 miles but he rebuilt tge engine.
    I love it!