As we round out Wagon Week, let’s take a trip to Deutschland to look at one of the cleanest, most compact longroofs around. The E30 Touring is just now importable to the US but is still quite a rarity on these shores. In Europe you can find them in all varieties and in all sorts of condition, but today’s little 318i is quite a gem. Having covered less than 50k miles in its quarter century, it looks stunning inside and out, especially with the always-excellent Shadowline trim option. The grey cloth looks clean as new and I much prefer it in these cars to the ubiquitous leather we get in Bimmers here; it’s a nice reminder that, while very cool, this is also a utilitarian, base-model little wagon. These days we Americans are starting to have access to some great E30 Tourings including the beefy 325ix, but it’s hard to beat this red 318i for good-looking simplicity and value.
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We’ve seen a fair number of Type 3 Volkswagens recently here at GCFSB, notably a rather tasty Type 3 Notchback show up in our Feature Listings earlier this week. However, since we are wrapping up another successful Wagon Week, let’s take a look at the long roof version of the Type 3, the Variant. Known to those stateside as the Squareback, the Variant was a two-door estate model with the familiar “pancake” rear-mounted air-cooled flat four engine. Today we’ll travel across the pond and take a look at a Variant for sale in Lisbon, Portugal.
Click for details: 1964 Volkswagen Type 3 Variant on Mobile.de
When I think roadtrip vehicle, my mind immediately goes to the frugal and capable Jetta TDI. When driven carefully, they can far exceed their standard MPG ratings while swallowing tons of gear. All this with class-leading comfort and style in the interior. My main gripe is the unattractive front end, but in my dreams I just throw a TDI Cup front end on it, creating a seriously good-looking wagon. This 2009 Sportwagen has a lot of positives – low mileage, 6-speed manual, panoramic roof and premium sound are all boxes I’d want ticked. The glaring downside is the rebuilt title, which we know is always a big liability. A full inspection could suss out if the driver’s-side collision really was minor and if everything is good to go. Rebuilt titles mean low resale values – maybe not ideal if you sell it in the future, but if everything checks out it creates an insane deal on an ultimate roadtrip machine.
Click for details: 2009 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI on eBay
I’m not a huge fan of buying new cars – my brain just doesn’t see the logic in accepting instant depreciation as the price for being the very first person to own a car. I clearly lean towards well-used classics anyway, but at the very least a certified pre-owned car seems like the way to go if you want something modern. I have to make an exception here because somewhere along the line of bloating and modernization, BMW decided to make a car that seemed as likely as an albino unicorn not long ago – a turbodiesel, all-wheel drive, M-packaged station wagon. I’m getting used to the newer BMW styling and almost liking it, especially here on a white longroof spiffed up with black M accents and two-tone 20-spoke wheels reminiscent of the E39 M5’s all-time-great rims. Too bad that it doesn’t have a manual, but these 8-speed autos are supposed to be excellent. Overall, it’s pretty epic as far as new cars go, but then again so is its price.
Click for details: 2015 BMW 328d xDrive on eBay
A few of my colleagues here at GCFSB took a look at various BMW E91 3 series Tourings yesterday for Wagon Week, so I thought I’d jump in on the party and highlight one of the earlier models, a 325xi. You certainly won’t miss this first year example for sale in Washington state with its red paintwork. Thankfully, for the shift-it-yourself crowd, this one is equipped with the sought after 6-speed manual gearbox. It might lack some of the features and power of the later E91s, but reasonable mileage for the year and a lower prices make this just as attractive for the five-door fans out there.