When going through the not particularly extensive product range of Volkswagen in the early 1990s, I really find it hard to get excited about the Jetta. Okay, there were fast Jettas, like the GLI. And they were pretty cool in their own right. But as the GLI was available with less weight and better looks in more famous hatchback form, I’ve never been as excited about them.
I also found the trim levels very confusing. There was the standard Jetta, which pretty much got you nothing other than seats and a motor. Then there was the GL, which got you slightly more of something, but I’m not really sure what. Pretty much everything remained optional on these two models. Everyone knows about the Wolfsburg models, of course. They were more loaded, with special colors, interiors, radios and wheels – generally. Each model year was a bit different, and the A2 resource guide is helpful to sort it out..
In the middle was a strange one – the Carat. Technically, this model was placed above the GL and below the Wolfsburg model. But sometimes it wasn’t as well equipped as the GL, and other times it seemed better equipped than the Wolfsburg. It came with rear headrests (shared with the GL), power locks (shared with the GL), delay dome light (shared with the…are you seeing a trend?). So what did you get for the substantial premium in price? Unseen was the motor upgrade, which gave the Carat the 105 horsepower engine. Carats also differed from other non-GLI Jettas because they were equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes – but only for some years. In 1991, drums returned as standard. They also had an upgraded sports suspension, sport steering wheel, cruise control, sport seats and a power package which included mirrors and windows.…
My recent project of converting an inherited minivan into a camper has reinforced my interest in tin-top Vanagons. The Westy is certainly the way to go when a whole family is involved, multiplying the available sleeping space – and the price too. Besides affordability, tintops bring a much sleeker look, especially with subtle upgrades like today’s 1990 Carat Weekender. With a South African grille and 17″ Audi wheels, this Vanagon looks like it could be a Porsche Racing support vehicle. Alas, this is no Vanagon B32 (the Porsche-produced and -engined monster) but it’s still a sweet van that shows few, if any, signs of its 279k miles. Thankfully it won’t feel that well-traveled either, as it had an engine rebuild and transmission replacement 100k miles ago; it should have many roads and adventures ahead. While a lot of the Vanagon-love out there is steeped in overindulgence, this is a great example of how minimalism can still provide great versatility.
There is one vehicle I’ve been on the lookout for ever since I started writing for GCFSB. The Porsche B32. Not familiar with this Porsche? Well, that’s because it really isn’t a Porsche. Rather, it’s a Volkswagen T3 Transporter, or Vanagon, as we knew them in the US market, with a Porsche heart. Motivated by a 3.2 liter flat-6 out of a 911 Carrera, this was one quick people mover. Only a handful of these über Vanagons were devised as a chase vehicle for the Porsche Group B 959s competing in the Paris Dakar Rally. The chances of getting your hands on a B32 are highly unlikely, but a few have attempted the Porsche flat-6 conversion themselves. If speed isn’t your concern but you like the aggressive B32 look, this 1990 Vanagon Carat may be the ticket.
I’ve always dug the Carat edition of the Vanagon. This top of the line non-Westy version came stacked with all the options and exudes a classy aura, helped by the great 5-spoke blocky wheels and a cladding/bumper combination that makes a more cohesive look. Today’s example is a Weekender, so while it doesn’t have the pop-top, the rear seats fold flat into a bed. Looking at the pictures of the passenger area, it looks so comfortable I kind of just want to use it as my living room. With 150k miles on the original engine and transmission, it still has some good life left in it, but as is the case with Vanagons, a fun engine swap is always a possibility. The non-Westiness helps keep the price extremely reasonable, especially compared to most nice Vanagons you see on the market.
If you missed last week’s awesome Westfalia that Nate wrote up, you missed a great example of the breed – as Nate put it, all you could ask for in a Vanagon. But if you don’t need the kitchen and awesomely cool pop-top, you can save a bunch of money and still have the Vanagon experience. Granted, you could argue that a large part of the appeal of the Vanagon is those camper Westfalias, but there’s a neat simplicity about the non-camper version. Today there is a stunningly clean version of the regular Vanagon GL on Ebay:
I featured an impossibly low mileage Mk2 Jetta Carat a few months ago and amazingly, here comes another one. I thought this might have been the same vehicle had it not been for the automatic gearbox inside. Anyone lusting after a clean Mk2 Jetta should have a look at this one.
Model: Jetta Carat
Engine: 1.8 liter inline-4
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Mileage: 71,000 mi
Price: $4,400 Buy It Now
I plan to take this car to Fixx Fest in Bradenton, FL this Saturday so if you’re in the area stop by, it’ll be parked in the general Euro parking lot. If I get a reasonable offer there, I reserve the right to cancel the ebay auction.
1) FM radio only heard through right channel. Every once in a while when driving on rough road the left channel will work for a few seconds. It’s got to be a connection. AM and Tape work fine and come through both left and right channels.
2) The power antenna is suppose to go up and down when you turn the radio on and off. It stays up all the time.
3) The window wash works sometimes. When I first got the car it worked about half the time. For the past couple months it hasn’t sprayed at all.
4) There are a few (4-5) light dings on the roof(see picture). The original owner said it was due to a hail storm some years ago.
5) The tires are in good shape. Fronts are at about 60% rears are at around 40%
6) Sap stains on the hood(see pic).
A car very similar to this one sold on Ebay in September for $7500. That car had 34k miles so I know this one is worth a bit less.
The 1988 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 16V Trophy that Nate posted at the end of last month garnered a lot of interest and a $6,600 final bid in the end. Without a doubt, these Mk2 Volkswagens, whether they be Jettas, Golfs or GTIs have a strong enthusiast following, especially for those well preserved examples. I’m not sure when the last time I saw one was, but this 1990 Jetta Carat has covered by a mere 34,000 miles. It might not have the more desirable 16V engine, but at least it’s a 5-speed manual. For a car that has resided in New England, it’s clean.
Model: Jetta Carat
Engine: 1.8 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 34,663 mi
Price: Reserve auction
Up for sale is a rare chance to own a 1989 Volkswagen Jetta with 34,663 miles. The car is near flawless for its age. Never in an accident. This car was bought brand new in Manchester NH and has been in the family ever since. Low, low miles, very clean car. If you have any questions, call me at 781-530-6593
If my instincts are correct, I’d suspect bidding on this Jetta may wind up around $5,000 to $5,500. While it has less mileage than the aforementioned GLI 16V Trophy, it appears to be in similar condition. It’s doubtful that you would have to worry about values skyrocketing on these Mk2 Jettas, but the supply of good, original examples like this will probably evaporate at some point.
It seems there is an infinite amount of ways to customize the Volkswagen Vanagon/T3 Transporter. Engine swaps seem to be the order of the day, as we’ve seen a few of these vans turn up with Subaru flat fours and sixes, and others with Porsche lumps hanging out in the rear. The owner of this Vanagon for sale in British Columbia, however, went a more economical route and replaced the original wasserboxer engine with VW’s tried and tested TDI formula. In addition to the engine swap, the van was given a full restoration, with a coat of BMW’s Tourmaline Violet paint.
Model: Vanagon Carat TDI
Engine: 1.9 liter inline-4 TDI
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 6,000 mi since conversion/restoration
Over $47K invested in this complete restoration and diesel conversion of this 1990 Vanagon in 2011. 6K miles on rust free Oregon body since makeover at 150K miles. Always garaged. Completely rebuilt engine and 4spd trans with limited slip. Gobs of low end torque. 29.5 mpg in suburban driving. Factory queen-size bed, folding table and auxilliary battery for camping.
Specs/photos here: http://s1366.photobucket.com/user/canuckster1/library/?sort=3&page=0
If you are serious I can bring it to Seattle [family there] for a look see.
While violet might not be to everyone’s tastes, I really like this van. The color in combination with the leatherette and wood trimmed interior provides a rich look to what was originally a rather utilitarian package. Done up properly, Vanagons are pulling strong money these days, especially the Westfalia campers. The Vanagon Carat Wolfsburg Editions we featured yesterday is closing in on the $10,000 mark, which isn’t surprising given the other 1990 Vanagon Carat Wolfsburg Edition that sold for $10,500 back in June.…
In the 1980s, the minivan was billed as the next big thing. Smaller and more fuel efficient than full sized vans more suited to commercial work, this new vehicle segment was the ideal solution for the family seeking to break from the traditional wagon mold. But, as the saying goes, if it ain’t new, it’s through. Soon came the SUV craze of the 1990s and consumers seemed to never look back. Sure, there are still plenty of minivans on the market, but most are bought for practicality than a lifestyle statement anymore. And save for the compact Mazda 5, gone are any interesting choices like the Dodge Caravan Turbo, the mid-engined Toyota Previa or this van, the Volkswagen Vanagon.
The Vanagon was an evolution of the basic box formula of the T2 Transporter/Bus that hippies knew and loved. Towards the end of the model run in the late 1980s and early 1990s, more luxurious trim packages, Syncro four-wheel drive and an updated front fascia were the order of the day. While this particular Vanagon isn’t a Syncro, it’s a sharp looker with under 80,000 miles on the clock.
Model: Vanagon Carat Wolfsburg Edition
Engine: 2.1 liter flat-4
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Mileage: 77,600 mi
Price: Reserve auction
Hello and thanks for having a look…If your checking this Vanagon out, you know them and what their all about..This Tornado Red Carat Weekender with Z bed and Jump seats is truly one of the last produced. It came with both badges Carat and Wolfsburg. Research says it was due to the rare Color combo of Interior package and Color itself. I have owned many Vanagons and will honestly say it has been one of the best.
By the time the 1990s rolled around, the Volkswagen T3 Transporter, known as the Vanagon on these shores, looked a bit of a relic from an era of cab forward vans gone by. A new crop of minivans had shifted people’s tastes when it came to utilitarian vehicles, offering more car like ride and comfort. However, there was still demand for these one box haulers and today we are witnessing a renaissance that has seen values on these Vanagons surge. While Campers of all varieties tend to be the most desirable, I can’t help but love this Vanagon Carat in Tornado Red.
Model: Vanagon Carat
Engine: 2.1 liter flat four
Transmission: 4-Speed Manual
Price: No reserve auction
1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Carat Wolfsburg Edition!
Volkswagen arguably invented the minivan with their original Microbus released in 1950 that would become synonymous with the summer of love and good times in the slow lane. It was a tough act to beat, but in 1979 the VW Vanagon was released, complete Polo/Golf/Passat-esque hard lines and boxy shape. It retained the original’s rear engine/rear drive layout, but added space and a water cooled engine. These days most Vanagons have been ridden hard and put away, making this clean – late series Carat model really standout!
1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Carat Wolfsberg Edition in Tornado Red. One owner vehicle in beautiful condition! 2.1 Liter H4 SOHC 8V FI Engine, 4 speed manual transmission. 142,000 original miles! Great condition inside and out: 14″ Inch alloy wheels, rear window defroster, special factory paint, 7 passenger seating. The light grey cloth interior is all original in excellent condition, this includes the rear bench seat fold out bed and fold out table. All seats, headrests and original privacy curtains are included.