1984 Volkswagen Jetta GL Turbo Diesel

As we saw with the Dasher Hatchback from last week, just because it’s older and in good shape doesn’t automatically mean it’s worth a lot. If it’s a GTI or a Scirocco, sure – sit back with the popcorn and watch the bids roll in, but that Dasher? It sold for $1,600. Admittedly, it needed at least that amount and probably more in mechanical freshening, but still – you’re looking at a unique classic for well under $5,000 all in.

Today is another such beast, and like the Dasher, it’s a niche car that most will probably pass over for the more exciting metal. But this is one trick little bit of kit as you look a little closer. A1 Jettas are pretty rare to begin with, and this is a claimed rust-free example – always a good place to start. Euro bumpers slim down the look while Corrado Sebrings and a lowered ride height beef it up, but the clean presentation is really highlighted by the rare drivetrain – the CY turbocharged diesel inline-4 mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, good for 68 horsepower and 98 lb.ft of torque. This motor was also briefly available in the first generation Audi 4000. The 10.6 quoted 0-60 time won’t sound particularly exciting, but it was quite a bit quicker than the standard diesel and recorded better fuel economy (Volkswagen claimed it could top 54 mpg!). But the key to this car is the relative obscurity and rarity of the package.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen Jetta GL Turbo Diesel on eBay

1986 Volkswagen Quantum GL Syncro Wagon

Last week’s “Right Hooker” week passed a bit too quickly to allow me to fully explore all of the unique options available to European customers. For example, one car I really hoped to feature was to locate an original Golf Syncro. Starting in 1986, Volkswagen partnered with Steyr-Damiler-Puch and made a unique alternative to corporate partner Audi’s quattro drivetrain utilizing a viscous center differential. Puch was also responsible for design and manufacturing of the T3 Vanagon Syncro, which used a different viscous coupling system because of the rear-drive platform and nature of the Vanagon. In addition to the transmission of power forwards, the T3 also offered a rear differential lock while both center and front were viscous.

But in 1986, there was a third option. Because the Volkswagen Quantum (née Passat) shared nearly all of its internal architecture with the B2 Audis, fitment of the quattro setup from the Quattro and 4000S/CS quattro was possible – so Volkswagen did it. As there was no Audi B2 Avant, Volkswagen offered the new Quantum quattro – also badged Syncro – in Wagon form, and only in wagon form. This meant that there was no competition crossover between the 4000 quattro and Quantum Syncro in the U.S. market. The Quantum also continued to run smaller 4x100mm hubs versus the Audi, which allowed it to utilize the same “snowflake” Avus wheels borrowed from the GTI. Pricing was on par with period 4000 quattros, though – base price was $15,645, but equip the Quantum similarly to the standard 4000 with power windows, mirrors, locks and sunroof and you’d quickly crest $17,000 – about $4,000 more dear than a standard GL5. Unlike the 4000, Quantum Syncro Wagons came standard only with power steering, brakes, cruise control and air conditioning. You had to opt-in the power package to get the other items.…

1983 Volkswagen Quantum GL with 12,500 Miles

A few weeks ago Craig wrote a post in which he talked about Netflix’s Stranger Things, an exhaustively accurate depiction of life in 1983. However, one glaring problem immediately stuck out to me as I watched it. The moment the character Barb appeared in her Volkswagen Cabriolet, I scoffed “that’s not an ’83”, much to the bemusement of my wife, who was turning to me every time a car appeared on screen. As these series often go to great lengths to find era-accurate cars, it was strange for them to have what appeared to be a post-’88 Wolfsburg edition car in the mix, especially considering it’s possible to find plenty of 1970s Volkswagens. Plus, if they had just waited a few weeks, Barb could have instead borrowed her parent’s Quantum GL, which has sat in a loving state of 1983 since…well, probably 1984:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen Quantum GL on eBay

1988 Volkswagen Fox GL Wagon

The Volkswagen Fox is a model which is almost entirely overlooked by us. It’s not because we don’t like the concept of the entry-level Volkswagen brought to the U.S. from Brazil, but the budget pricing coupled with legendary 1980s Volkswagen reliability and build quality (cough cough) hasn’t exactly left a plethora of examples of these small VWs left to contemplate. The Fox was offered in three configurations – two door coupe, four door sedan and two door wagon. Without a doubt, it was the wagon which gets the most enthusiast attention these days. In profile, it looks a bit like a B2 Audi if they had made a wagon, and indeed pop the hood and you’ll see the same longitudinal configuration. Some parts are even interchangeable with the B2 Audis, like the steering rack. But more of this car was shared with the Golf than any Audi product, and though the Fox resurrected the Audi B1 nameplate here the two shared only a passing resemblance. Infrequently seen, these little wagons are neat cars that march to the beat of slightly different Brazilian drummers:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Volkswagen Fox GL Wagon on eBay

1982 Volkswagen Jetta Coupe

For many years, my trips to Lime Rock Park in the Coupe GT for Patroon Chapter BMWCCA driver’s events were accompanied by a similar soul; there was a ’84 Volkswagen Jetta GLi that seemed to always be joining me. On paper, the two were probably quite similar in terms of all-out speed; the Jetta had less power, but was also quite a bit lighter than the Coupe. But in fast corners, the better balance of the GT and equal-length driveshafts meant it was a bit easier to carry speed and get power down. Over the years, we both modified our cars in turn. I went to a Ground Control coilover suspension and steadily upgraded the engine and he followed suit. Squint a bit, and in the first generation Jetta you can see the similarities to the Audi GT. Both were Giugiaro designs as was the original Golf/Rabbit; but the Jetta went slightly upscale compared to the Golf. Ironically, in recent years that role has reversed – top of the range Golfs are even more expensive than mid-range Passats. But in the early 1980s, Volkswagen made the U.S. market A1 Jetta have slightly better interiors and, aside from the obvious trunk, a different grill with 4 rectangular sealed-beam headlights led the way – very similar to the U.S. spec Audi GT. They were available in 2 or 4-door configuration with a range of motors which matched the Rabbit; trim levels were base “L”, upscale “GL” and performance oriented “GLi”. Today, Jettas are far less common to come across than the more popular Rabbit variants, especially when they’re in the condition of this Inari Silver example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Volkswagen Jetta Coupe on eBay

1984 Volkswagen Jetta GL

$_57 (5)

Today’s Jetta hits a lot of chords for me: Mk1, brown, adorably original, and some feel-good history. It’s been owned by the seller twice, once after he bought it from the original owner, then again when he bought it back after an unappreciative snot didn’t like the manual car his parents got him for college. It’s covered over 180k miles (the odometer broke a little while back) but still wins at shows because it’s in beautiful shape. Cars like this little survivor are my kind of classic – no fancy, climate-controlled exotic, just a loved example of a great, simple car.

Click for details: 1984 Volkswagen Jetta GL on eBay

1990 Volkswagen Passat GL

If the twin B4 Passat GLX VR6 Variants from the other day are a dwindling supply, the odds of running across a serviceable B3 Passat GL today are just about slim to none. While they were fairly expensive at the time, the 2.0 16V motored GL was seemingly a throw-away mid-level luxury car. It was quickly replaced at the top of Volkswagen’s food chain by the short-lived B3 GLX VR6 model – and in general, enthusiasts prefer those. That makes sense since they’re quicker than the early cars – but it also means that the odds of running across one of Volkswagen’s grill-less sedans or wagons is a rare occasion. It’s still neat to see them, though – even though they weren’t the fastest, best looking or best equipped Volkswagen, there were neat and innovative design elements that were incorporated into the B3. It was a huge leap forward from the outgoing Audi-shared B2 platform, a slick design which looked sportier, more angular and aerodynamic, and leagues more modern than the Quantum:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Passat GL on eBay

1989 Volkswagen Golf GL

Boy, this is a trip down memory lane for me. My second car was very similar to this 1989 Volkswagen Golf in many ways; mine was also a base model with air conditioning, cloth interior with manual windows and Titian red. There were some important differences; I had a 1986 Westmoreland Golf which had CIS injection rather than the later Digifant electronic injection this car has, mine was a 4-door instead of two and when I bought it, it had somewhere around 190,000 miles on the clock. On paper, this is pretty much the car I would have liked to have; a lower mile, clean example of a basic transportation with flare – the Volkswagen Golf is a great hatchback that looked and functioned miles better than most of the competition at the time.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen Golf GL on eBay

1988 Volkswagen Fox GL Wagon

One of my favorite Volkswagens from the 1980s is one that you rarely see on the roads anymore. The Fox Wagon. This was an oddity in the US lineup for only a couple of years, a compact, two-door shooting brake of an estate car that was courtesy of Volkswagen of Brazil, where it was sold as the Gol. These were a bit of a reprisal of the idea of the “people’s car” for VW, a basic, no frills model offering German engineering at a discount. While the wagon was discontinued after the 1990 model year, the model range would get a refresh, carrying on with the two and four door sedan models through 1993. This 1988 Wagon for sale in Florida is a chance to sample an almost forgotten model in recent Volkswagen memory.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Volkswagen Fox GL Wagon on eBay

1991 Volkswagen Vanagon GL

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen Vanagon GL on eBay