Forbidden Fruit: 1992 Volkswagen Passat G60 Syncro Wagon

As we saw in last week’s Quantum (née Passat), underneath the Volkswagen was almost all B2 Audi. They had borrowed Audi’s full quattro setup in the Syncro model until 1988. That was the same year that the G60 supercharged engine had debuted in the Golf in Europe, but it wouldn’t be until late 1989 and the new Corrado model’s introduction that the G-Lader would become better known on these shores.

The PG G-Lader devoted to the Rallye, G60 and third generation Passat Syncro wasn’t the most powerful unit VW of the time period at 158 horsepower and 166 lb.ft of torque (the 3G 16V version in the Golf Limited had 50 horsepower more), but the combination of these items seemed awesome at the time to U.S. fans because, of course, in the midst of VAG’s early 90s sales slump they opted not to bring the package here. Like the Corrado, based on Mk.2 underpinnings the Passat’s engine configuration had moved from longitudinal in the B2 to transverse in the third gen, meaning that Audi’s quattro system remained unique to that brand. The Golf’s transverse engine placement precluded use of the Audi longitudinal design, which used output shafts and mechanical differentials. Instead, Volkswagen turned to Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch for development.

Noted for development of four-wheel-drive systems and probably most recognizable for the Pinzgauer military vehicle, Steyr’s solution to the transverse problem was to utilize a viscous coupling similar to the AMC Eagle. However, while the Eagle’s system was all-wheel drive, all the time, Volkswagen’s system would only engage when the front wheels slipped. The Passat added new electronic features to the range topper, too – including anti-lock brakes and an electronic differential lock, and the new shape dropped the drag coefficient to .31.

The best part about the G60 Passat, though? You could get one in wagon form:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Volkswagen Passat G60 Syncro Wagon on Seattle Craigslist

1990 Volkswagen Corrado G60

If you’re into the small, sporty coupe, the other alternative to the 924s I’ve written up if don’t have the big bucks to buy a super clean 944 is Volkswagen’s answer – the Corrado. While that may generate a chuckle from some, if you breakdown the numbers, the Corrado was pretty close to the recipe of the outgoing 924S. Adding the G-Lader supercharger to the 1.8 liter inline-4 gave the Volkswagen similar punch; 158 horsepower and 165 lb.ft of torque with about 2,700 lbs to motivate. It was a 2+2 hatch as well, with more practical seating in the rear and plenty of storage space. The 195-50-15 tires gave plenty of bite, making the Corrado the equal of the 924S through corners, too. And early on it was even a bit cheaper than the 924S had been because, you know, it wasn’t a Porsche. It’d cost about $20,000 out the door; expensive compared to the GTI, but then this car was really intended to compete in a more upscale market.

Like the 924S, there are foibles. There’s a more potent version that’s quite a bit more popular in the later VR6, though it should be noted that just like the 944, by the time the SLC VR6 models bowed out of the marketplace they were 50% more expensive than the 1990 launch version. It can also eat up a lot of money in repairs, especially if the supercharger that made the package get up and go has got up and went. Also like the 924S, asking prices are usually out of line with market value, and there are quite a bit more abused ones out there than clean examples. I last looked at a clean, but at least partially (and poorly) resprayed example in November:

1990 Volkswagen Corrado G60

The asking price was originally $5,200, but it eventually sold for just under $5,000.…

1990 Volkswagen Corrado G60

Update 1/6/2018 – The asking price on this Corrado G60 has dropped from $5,200 to $4,800.

While the second-generation Scirocco was a re-body of the first-generation chassis with some upgrades, when it came to the end of the 80s and the launch of a new sporty Volkswagen, they turned to…another antiquated chassis. Prepared for the 1990 model year, the A2 chassis was already the best part of 7 years old and not the most refined unit out there. Despite this, plans moved ahead at cash-strapped VW to produce two “new” models that were adaptations of the A2 chassis.

The result was the third generation Passat and the sporty Karmann-built Corrado. The design was more VAG evolution than revolution; in many ways, the Corrado’s profile and several aspects mimicked the upscale Audi products. Volkswagen again went to the tried-and-true ‘Operation Copy Giugiaro’ plan that worked with the Scirocco. It looks like a shorter, chunkier Audi Coupe GT to me – especially in its original G60 supercharged guise. While the GTI went to the 2.0 16V and slick BBS wheels making an instant classic, Volkswagen relied on the G-Ladder supercharger that was seen in the European Golf Rallye and G60 GTI for the motivation for the Corrado. But the Corrado wasn’t made to challenge its siblings; it was aimed at the 944 crowd, replacing the 924S as a ‘Poor Man’s Porsche’ rather than just an expensive GTI alternative.

Ostensibly, this made it the top-trump at Volkswagen, what with 160 horsepower and good torque. But the heavy weight and complicated nature of the model meant that the GTI retained greater appeal. It seemed as though Volkswagen hit a home run when they finally slotted the even more potent and better sounding VR6 into the Corrado for 1992, relegating the supercharged model to obsolescence and obscurity.…

Forbidden Fruit: 1992 Volkswagen Passat G60 Syncro

There was nothing particularly revolutionary about the B3 Passat G60 Syncro. The prior Quantum (née Passat) had borrowed Audi’s full quattro setup in the Syncro model. The G60 supercharged engine had debuted in the Golf in Europe as early as 1988, but it wouldn’t be until late 1989 and the new Corrado model’s introduction that the G-Lader would become better known on these shores. But the G60 Syncro Passat was the first time that all three were combined, and it took the more exotic drivetrain setup from the Rallye and brought it to a mainstream market.

The PG G-Lader devoted to the Rallye, G60 and Passat Syncro wasn’t the most powerful unit VW of the time period at 158 horsepower and 166 lb.ft of torque (the 3G 16V version in the Golf Limited had 50 horsepower more), but the combination of these items seemed awesome at the time to U.S. fans because, of course, in the midst of VAG’s early 90s sales slump they opted not to bring the package here. Like the Corrado, based on Mk.2 underpinnings the Passat’s engine configuration had moved from longitudinal in the B2 to transverse in the third gen, meaning that Audi’s quattro system remained unique to that brand. The Golf’s transverse engine placement precluded use of the Audi longitudinal design, which used output shafts and mechanical differentials. Instead, Volkswagen turned to Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch for development.

Noted for development of four-wheel-drive systems and probably most recognizable for the Pinzgauer military vehicle, Steyr’s solution to the transverse problem was to utilize a viscous coupling similar to the AMC Eagle. However, while the Eagle’s system was all-wheel drive, all the time, Volkswagen’s system would only engage when the front wheels slipped.

Like the Audi 90 quattro it competed against, the Syncro Passat wasn’t particularly quick but was pretty expensive in period, and neither sold very well in the grand scheme.…

1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup G60

Often we complain about the numerous times German manufacturers have failed to send models enthusiasts want to U.S. shores. But in the case of the Volkswagen Pickup – affectionately nicknamed the “Caddy” after the model that was released later in Europe – was first debuted out of the American Westmoreland, PA plant. The chassis was lengthened and unique bodywork and rear axle were fit, and the Rabbit Pickup was marketed as a comfortable, car-like utility vehicle. Between 1980 and 1982, Volkswagen even offered the Rabbit “Sportruck”. While most would presume this was primarily an appearance package, the Sportruck actually was quite a bit more sporty than the diesel options in the rest of the lineup. You got a 5-speed manual (opposed to 4) hooked to a 1.7 liter 8V, a front spoiler and special “Rally” wheel trim, along with a 3-gauge console and bucket seats with a Scirocco steering wheel. It wasn’t a GTI, but it was a half step in between.

This Caddy, though it isn’t one of the Sportrucks, is a huge leap for Caddykind:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup G60 on eBay

Coupe d’Etat: Superb Volkswagen Corrado Roundup

Following up on the 10,000 mile 1993 Corrado SLC from two weeks ago, today I have a lovely trio of Corrados to take a look at. Covering the model years and changes from 1990 to 1994, these three are low mile, impeccable condition and it’s a stroke of luck to see them all at the same time. As the expensive Corrado sold rather slowly on these shores, numbers have always been a bit short and now that the first models can be registered as antiques in most states they’re firmly into collector territory. As the Corrado is pretty well known on these pages, I won’t go into extreme model history today as we’re looking at three examples. For an excellent look at the history of the Corrado, take some time to read the Hemming’s take on it back in 2013. The previously mentioned 10,000 mile Corrado failed to meet its reserve despite shocking bidding which ended at $27,400. Clearly, there’s a market for these clean examples, so is any the match for the 1993?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Volkswagen Corrado SLC on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: A Tale of Twin Tornados – 1990 Volkswagen Corrado Magnum Wagons

We live in a world of soundbites and short attention spans. Some days it seems like a bit of a coup to remember just what you had for breakfast or where you left the keys last night – never mind to go back a week, a month, a year, or a decade. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a history teacher when I’m not doing this, and I’ve found it increasingly difficult to keep the attention of my students through the 1.5 hour lectures and if it’s a night class, forget it. The proliferation of the internet – the promise of limitless and immediate information – instead seems to be a flood which has washed away the interest, the researching, the enthusiasm for finding something new. But I came across something very interesting when looking for more information about an interesting duo of Corrados that our reader Jesse sent in. It was an internet thread on a forum – nothing special there. What was special was the timeline that thread covered and the subject matter. It started with the announcement of the purchase of the two prototype Corrado Magnum wagons in February, 2007. What followed was 15 pages of comments that spanned an amazing 9 years in what must be one of the longest threads out there documenting the owner trying to get these two unique G60 Corrados to the U.S.. If you want a snapshot of the development of the internet fora in one spot, look at the comments here. In typical VW Vortex style, there are insults tossed, claims the cars don’t exist, that the seller is a liar, threats to steal the cars and that they’re ugly. But there’s also adoration for the buyer who endured an arduous 7 years of storage in the Netherlands before finally getting the clearance to bring the forlorn Volkswagen prototypes to the U.S..…

1990 Volkswagen Corrado G60

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You might not like this Corrado when it’s angry. In fact, you may not like it ever. With a face only its builder could love, this G60 has had enough modifications under the hood that the new front-mounted intercooler got pushed outside, like a child reluctantly spitting out chewed metal. I think the seller probably envisions the FMIC as an ersatz lower grille, but it mostly looks like a fragile and expensive snow plow. God help the buyer if they ever see a speed bump – say bye-bye to all that expensive plumbing.

This little Hulkorrado actually has received some good attention to make this a strong runner. Yet while the seller has updated and redone a lot of parts, I’d be wary of all the relocating causing headaches down the line. That’s if you don’t have a headache already from the proboscis, super-Green pearl, O’Reilly tail lights (both fake AND real!) or hood louvers. However, if you are blind or really good at dissociating form and function, it’s actually a decent G60 deal.

Click for details: 1990 Volkswagen Corrado G60 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1990 Volkswagen Corrado 16V Turbo

The promise of the all new Corrado was great, and on paper the specs sounded fantastic. A new and modern chassis was paired with a supercharged inline-4 and active aerodynamics. Volkswagen fans around the world united in collective salivation. But even at launch, Volkswagen was behind the 8 ball. Performance was lacking compared to the competition and the price for this attractive coupe was quite high, as generally all Volkswagens were at the time. Then the problems of running the G60 long term started to rear their heads. The G-Lader supercharger in particular was a finicky bit of kit, and coupled with notoriously poor Volkswagen electronics in the early 1990s these remained fan favorites, but also cars to stay away from – with many opting instead to get the more robust and better driving SLC model that was launched in 1992. Modern solutions have arisen to help the G60, including turbocharging instead of supercharging, but still there aren’t a glut of these cars left. Today’s example, though, certainly looks pretty spectacular and has gone the next level by swapping in a 2.0 16V from a Jetta GLi – and then turbocharging it!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Corrado 16V Turbo on Hartford Craigslist

1991 Volkswagen GTI G60

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Mk1 GTIs grow more fully appreciated as classics each day, the Mk2 retains its affordable performance status in a package that is still superior to the Mk1 in the ways VW intended at its inception – more space and more comfort while retaining fun performance and German looks. This example takes those last two elements to extremes, bringing a modified G60 engine under German flag stripes front and rear. He doesn’t mention what suspension is helping it sit so low, but whatever it is is matched with Scirocco brakes to create a package that should be able to handle at least some of the increased speed and power. With well over 300hp to the front wheels, it’s not going to be able to handle all of it, mirroring the exterior’s placement on the edge of out-of-control. This is fast and loud in Mk2 form.

Click for details: 1991 Volkswagen GTI on eBay