1979 Volkswagen Scirocco

1979 Volkswagen Scirocco

Early water-cooled Volkswagens are now entering an interesting phase of market value. For some time, if you bought one and restored it there was only one reason – you absolutely wanted it to be what you wanted it to be, regardless of cost. It was a losing proposition in terms of value as you poured your hard-earned cash into bringing your beloved people’s car back from the brink of extinction. People would openly question your sanity; for your investment, you could have had a brand new car, after all. Even a VW!

But over the past few years, the tide has turned as greater appreciation for the early designs has swelled. Of course, the pool of remaining candidates hasn’t, so prices on pristine original examples have been driven heavily upwards. $22,000 for a low mileage GTI? $17,000 for an original survivor Scirocco? These were numbers that, not long ago, got you a pretty nice Porsche 911 of the same vintage. As a result, it’s suddenly becoming economically viable to restore these early Volkswagens and not lose your shirt.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Volkswagen Scirocco on eBay

1980 BMW M1

1980 BMW M1

In an article I penned for The Truth About Cars last week, I covered some of the development of the Wedge Era and how those spectacular show car designs channeled their design language down to more pedestrian models. One of the stars of that article were the cutting-edge looks from Giugiaro’s ItalDesign – the firm, and man, responsible for some of your favorites such as the basic shape for the Audi Quattro. But while the Quattro launched its brand into the luxury realm and redefined the 80s, the undisputed German star of the wedgey wonders was the BMW M1.

Like the Quattro, the M1 redefined and refined BMW’s core mission, helping to launch the Motorsport division along with the 3.0 CSL and 2002 Turbo. While Giugiaro had also had his hand in the M1’s design, the genesis of the shape lay in the much earlier Paul Bracq designed Turbo concept. Bracq, in turn, had undoubtedly been influenced by the late 1960s creations of both Giorgetto Giugiaro (at Ghia and ItalDesign) and Marcello Gandini (Bertone), as well as the efforts and splash rival Mercedes-Benz had made in 1969 with the C111 concept and record setter.

But while Daimler was hesitant to enter serial production with such a departure from their tried and true sedan designs, the M1 proved to be just the spark BMW was looking for to ignite the fire in driving enthusiast’s minds. It was, at the time, the Ultimate Driving Machine:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 BMW M1 on eBay

Rally Ready: 1983 Audi Quattro

Rally Ready: 1983 Audi Quattro

The Audi Quattro was not nearly as dominant in World Rally as pretty much every article you read says it was. That may sound shocking, but in the years the Quattro “dominated” the WRC, it only won the driver’s and constructor’s championship together one time – in 1984. In 1983, Hannu Mikkola won the driver’s title in a Quattro, but the constructor win went to – wait for it – a rear-drive Lancia 037. In 1982, Audi’s design won the constructor’s championship, but again it was rear-driver Walter Röhrl in an Opel Ascona that captured the driver’s title. Those shortened, screaming, flame-belching bewinged monsters you’ve seen on numerous clips? Well, the truth is they were never very successful, as the much better balanced Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 swept the end of the Group B period up. If you want real dominance in that era, though, you need to look at the Lancia Delta Integrale, which captured every title from 1987 to 1992.

But the Quattro was evocative. The sound was memorizing. And even if the recipe was perfected by other makes later, it was Audi’s design that revolutionized the sport with unfathomable speed and aggression. So compelling was the Quattro, that long after Audi had retired from Rally and was now dominating race tracks, plenty of enthusiasts were trying to recreate the magic on their own:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi Quattro on eBay

1977 Volkswagen Scirocco

1977 Volkswagen Scirocco

It’s hard to believe that the Volkswagen Scirocco has fully entered into mid-life crisis. When I was born, my family was lucky enough to have a few “classic cars”. My father, for example, still drove me around in a 1966 Mustang – considering the number which sold, probably not an unusual occurrence. But while those memories seem as fuzzy as the television broadcasts from the period, consider for a moment that when I was born, that “classic” Mustang was 11 years old. My current daily driver is 14 (technically, 15, soon to be 16) years old, so as I tote my son to school in the back of the Passat I’m wondering if his experiences will feel the same as mine did. Of course, in the 1970s cars seemed to age much more quickly; to the point that when I was forming most of my car-related memories in the 1980s, the Volkswagen Scirocco was well into its second iteration and a fair amount of the original models had already left the road. Survivors are few and far between, as mostly rust took them off the road. Finding a survivor – especially a pre-refresh Scirocco like this 1977 – is quite rare:

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1981 Volkswagen Scirocco

1981 Volkswagen Scirocco

Just three days ago we looked at an impressive 1980 Volkswagen Scirocco. Condition was great and it was full of period details, but I mentioned I’d prefer a stock example. My wish came true, as an absolutely stunning original 1981 came to market immediately after. Looking splendid in Alpine White over Gazelle cloth, it is presented in near stock configuration and really lets the near perfect lines Giugiaro penned show through. The 1980 failed to meet its reserve at $10,100, but this auction is a no reserve deal with very active bidding. How high will this perfect ’81 go?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Volkswagen Scirocco on eBay

1980 Volkswagen Scirocco

1980 Volkswagen Scirocco

Period modifications can be pretty hit or miss, and when you’re talking 1980s cars, it seems most weren’t on target. Sure, the AMG widebody and Ruf cars are spectacular, but many more suffered the ignominious fate of having tacky tacked-on plastic bits, wild and poor paint jobs, and “performance enhancements” that more often than not led to a protracted period of non-running conditions. But once in a while a period piece pops up that looks special, and this 1980 Scirocco spotted by our reader Wojciech is just that:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Volkswagen Scirocco on eBay

1980 Volkswagen Scirocco with 6,500 Miles

1980 Volkswagen Scirocco with 6,500 Miles

Coming across a low mile, “time capsule”-esque Porsche isn’t a particularly rare thing. While it’s hard to conceive of a time when they were considered cars rather than investments, even when new the high entry price and exclusivity of buying a top-tier German car meant that quite a few were treated more as prized possessions to be preserved rather than as transportation. Though less frequent, the same goes for Mercedes-Benz models, as we roll across quite a few pristine and original low mile SLs, S-Class and even less expensive models. Certainly, it is less common among BMWs and downright atypical to find a low mile, original and unmolested Audi, though one wonders if recent market trends have inspired a generation with disposable income now to buy and squirrel away brand new RS, M and AMG cars in cocoons to emerge in a few decades as a retirement fund. It’s all a bit nuts if I’m honest.

But a Volkswagen? Low mileage, original time pieces are beyond atypical. When they do surface, they’re not always the most desirable model, either – Grandpa’s 1979 Rabbit in all-brown, for example. Sure, it’s got only 11,000 miles on the clock but it’s like donning a polyester suit and slapping on a fake mustache to go to a Halloween party as Ron Burgundy. No, no, I’m sure you do the best Will Ferrell impersonation in the world, but the situation is a bit worse than the plotline to Anchorman 2. But once in a while something comes along that is truly special AND cool:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Volkswagen Scirocco on eBay

1978 Volkswagen Dasher Hatchback

1978 Volkswagen Dasher Hatchback

The Volkswagen Passat [née Quantum (née Dasher)] has always been a bit of the odd-man out in the Volkswagen lineup, but each successive generation has offered something special – even in the U.S.. As Paul wrote up last week, in the B7 you could get a TDi manual – something of an oddity in the marketplace last year, as automatic whirring hybrids have ruled the minds and pocketbooks of middle management for the last decade. The B6 had a fantastic hidden gem in the 3.6 4Motion; an unappreciated car in general but perhaps the car Audi should have built. The B5? It was the car that finally made the Passat successful in the U.S., and introduced the cool if too complicated W8 4motion package. The B3/4 had the you-can’t-kill-it-unless-it-rusts 1Z diesel and sonorous VR6 motors. The B2’s trump card over the Audi 4000 it closely resembled was the Syncro Wagon. And the B1? Well, if you wanted a 4-door Volkswagen hatchbach that was a bit more substantial than the Rabbit on offer, briefly your wish could come true:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Volkswagen Dasher on eBay

1979 Volkswagen Scirocco

1979 Volkswagen Scirocco

While cars from the 1980s are really starting to stretch their legs, most cars from the 1970s seem to lay in a no-man’s land of value, minus of course Porsche 911s. There’s been some recent appreciation for the R107 but generally the cars that are heavily valued are the last of the run 560SLs from the late 1980s, so while that was a late 1960s design it’s not really a 1970s car at that point. Go through the ranks though – with a few exceptions, the 1970s equivalents are undervalued compared to their successors. W116s are cheaper than W126s, E12s and E21s are budget BMWs relative to clean E28 and E30 pricing, early 924s and 928s are close to being given away judged against the last of the run cars and Audi? Go find one from the 1970s. The one area where 1970s products currently outshine their replacements is on a limited scale, but at Volkswagen clean 1970s models tend to be valued more highly than those from the 1980s. It’s easy to see why in most cases; swallowtail Rabbits are just plain prettier than the later Westmoreland cars, the Bus, Thing and Campervan models captured the last of the 1960s spirit and are so ugly they’re cute, and then there’s the Scirocco. Modest underpinnings it might have had, but in one of the most brilliant strokes of design from Giugiaro the lines are pure magic:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Volkswagen Scirocco on eBay

1977 Volkswagen Scirocco

1977 Volkswagen Scirocco

One of the joys I’ve experienced in fatherhood has been to share some of my prized toys with my son. Watching him play with my treasures again fills me with nostalgia and, occasionally, curiosity. Last night, for example, he charged about the house with two Hot Wheels trucks that I had as a child. Now, I didn’t have the most extensive collection of toys when I was a boy, but I did have some really neat pieces. Two of them were these steerable trucks; a cab-over Peterbuilt and a more traditional Ford tractor that for some reason had flames and “Hot Sauce” decals on it. I don’t remember applying those, but more importantly somewhere in the past 30 years the steering trailers just went missing. I never thought about it much until yesterday, when I saw my son excitedly playing with them. I mentioned to him that they used to have trailers, but I was unsure about where they were. Inquisitive as most four year olds are, he simply asked “Can’t you get a new one?”. Huh. I hadn’t considered that. But in the age of the internet and eBay off I went. It didn’t take too much research to find out they were from the “Truck Co” series from Hot Wheels. It took even less time to figure out they were fairly rare. But on eBay, sure enough, there were not only used examples that matched mine, but brand new ones in package with the steering trailers. COOL! Then I looked at the “Buy It Now”. WHAT?!?! I exclaimed as I could barely believe my eyes. $250. That was the price – for one. Even used examples of just the cabs were asking $30-50, and the harder to find trailers trade above $100 used. Is this what recreating your childhood costs now?…

1981 Volkswagen Scirocco

1981 Volkswagen Scirocco

Spotting of any first generation Scirocco is cause for celebration these days. Styled by the legendary Giugiaro, the front drive, watercooled sport coupe brought Volkswagen into a new market, ostensibly replacing the Karmann Ghia. While underneath the slinky 2-door body was relatively pedestrian underpinnings of the Mk.1 Golf/Rabbit, the styling of the Italian giant brought a level of prestige to the budget economy range. Some 42 years after it originally launched, the short and squat Scirocco still looks unique and different, a perfect combination of curves and angles that makes me smile every time one crosses my path:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Volkswagen Scirocco on Seattle Craigslist

Feature Listing: 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Wagon

Feature Listing: 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Wagon

Long before “Dieselgate” and the unceremonious admission of Volkswagen about cheating on emissions testing, Volkswagen struggled with the image of diesel. The problem wasn’t as much air pollution – there was plenty of that – but it was that diesels were noisy and slow. How slow? Well, consider today’s 1980 Dasher Diesel Wagon, whose 1.5 inline-4 mill produced a twig-snapping 48 horsepower. Despite the relative light weight at only 2,500 lbs, the Dasher Diesel literally and figuratively lacked spark as it’s near 20-second 0-60 time proved. As gas prices fell and fuel injected gasoline engines became ever more efficient (and powerful), the gap between the fuel mileage to the diesels narrowed as the perceived benefit gulf of purchasing petrol widened. However, nearly 30 years before the introduction of the “Sport Wagon” TDi, you can still see the spiritual basis for Volkswagen’s popular 5-door diesel configuration.

The other day, a gentleman pulled up to me right after I parked my Passat. He rolled down the window and asked if I liked the car, then mentioned that it was lovely. I thanked him and said that I loved the car. Sure, even over a decade on B5.5 generation Passat Variants are a dime a dozen around the streets of New England. But while the B5.5 was by far the most popular choice for German wagons in the early 2000s, it wouldn’t be possible without the B1. Styled by Giugiaro, the new chassis completely redefined the platform for Volkswagen. It was followed by the niche but popular B2 (Quantum in the U.S.), then the odd-yet-cool B3, the more traditional B4 and finally the popular B5/5.5 chassis. With some sadness, the B6 would be the last wagon form of the Passat for U.S. customers, but it went out with a bang – being offered in 3.6 VR6 with 4Motion all-wheel drive.…

1986 Audi Coupe GT Commemorative Edition

1986 Audi Coupe GT Commemorative Edition

I know, I know – another Audi B2 post. But hey, we hear about every single variant of 911 all the time too, and since I love the GTs I think they deserve to be showcased. There weren’t many special editions of the GT produced, but in 1986 Audi made an entire run of “Commemorative Design” cars. The 4000CS, 4000CS quattro, Coupe GT and 5000 models all got special upgrades and each were slightly different. The closest were the 4000 quattro and Coupe GT, which shared paint colors and interiors. The exteriors were either Graphite Metallic or Alpine White, but inside they shared the same lipstick red “Mouton” leather. While the quattro got the slightly uprated JT code 115 horsepower inline-5, the GT relied on the “KX” code motor with 110 ponies. The difference lay in the exhaust manifold; the GT unit was a 5-1 cast manifold, while the quattro had a beefier 5-3-1 exit, along with a larger diameter exhaust. However, the lighter GT was quicker than the all wheel drive variant; and thanks to the nature of the GT versus the quattro market, more of the special 1986 models have survived. The ’86 CE models also received the notorious digital dash, and if you selected Alpine White, they had color matched wheels, mirrors and rear spoiler. The color combination really makes the sharp Giugiaro lines stand out:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi Coupe GT Commemorative Edition on Seattle Craigslist

1981 BMW M1

1981 BMW M1

One of [whatever]. We hear it quite often here at GCFSB, but we’ve also come across some quite rare machinery in our years of being involved with this site. When I saw this Polaris Silver M1 for sale in Germany, I found it hard to believe that it was one of only three manufactured in this color. Silver is such a common color, especially on our favorite German vehicles. Sure enough, however, they didn’t produce many in this hue. With under 500 built, the M1 was one of the rarest BMWs produced. This car was just the beginning in what would be a long line of high performance machines to wear the Motorsports badge, which would wind up on the posterior of everything from roadsters to Tourings.

Click for details: 1981 BMW M1 on Classic Driver

1980 Volkswagen Scirocco S

1980 Volkswagen Scirocco S

$_57 (6)

I’ve always been massively attracted to the original Scirocco. The Giugiaro design is late-70s simplistic beauty at its best, an aesthetic almost entirely lost these days (although pleasantly approximated by the new Lamborghini Huracan). This well-modified 1980 example keeps it simple with black-centered 3-piece BBS wheels and a minimal rear spoiler. Not a line out of place, and the excellence continues inside with beautiful plaid seat inserts. This is not all show, however, as the attention to greatness includes any VW fan’s laundry list of Mk1 improvements. Yes, I love GTIs, GLIs, and Rabbit Pickups, but Sciroccos like this are the Mk1s I lust after.

Click for details: 1980 Volkswagen Scirocco S on eBay