Totally Turbular: 1985 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V Turbo Rieger GTO

Update 3/6/2018 – The asking price on this crazy period piece has dropped from the $65,000 ask in February to $46,888.

The 80s was a pretty interesting time, as Rob has talked about in some recent 930 posts. While today’s crowd looks back on the time and often wishes they had a completely stock, all-original example of their favorite hard-to-find ride, back then it was all about how much you could mod your ride to make it wild. Watching videos of turned up WRX-STIs, Skylines, M4s and RS3s today, I suppose not much has changed in retrospect. But wild mods in the 80s were somehow much harder to achieve, and therefore all the more neat when they were done. Or, they were a complete dog’s breakfast, as many Mercedes-Benz models often prove – Andrew’s SLC comes immediately to mind.

There are several notorious aftermarket suppliers of kits for cars that are really hard to achieve a good result with. Koenig, Rinspeed, Strosek, Kamei are all names you’re probably quite familiar with. And if you’re familiar with Volkswagen/Audi products, Rieger should definitely be in that list. Their widebody kits, wild bumpers and huge wings often look way out of place. Paint them a wild color, and they’ll stand out even more. Worst of all, often below the shocking exterior they’re a sheep in wolf’s clothes; all show, no go. But this Scirocco? Well, it’s not only got all of those things going for it, it’s managed to pull it together for a look that is cool and correct in a very over-the-top way, and has the chops to match the outrageous exterior. Also outrageous? The price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V Turbo Rieger GTO on eBay

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#FailFriday: 1994 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6

We live in a culture today that judges others with contempt while simultaneously engaging in generally questionable behavior ourselves. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, right? It is far from fair to generalize other’s actions without a relative sense of context, yet often we only have a glimpse at a moment of their life, a soundbite they say, an ill-timed photo from which we base an entire judgment on who that person is or at least professes to be. It’s one of our greatest shortcomings as a very public-oriented society who loves to air its dirty laundry, watch people humiliate or hurt themselves for entertainment, and revel in the unraveling of another’s life through misfortune. Yet, we generally would consider the gladiatorial battles of the Roman Empire to be barbaric – ironic, perhaps, considering that Germanic based languages have themselves so thoroughly recreated the Republic – perhaps even more so than the Romance-language speaking countries. But, I digress.

So while occasionally #FailFriday has degenerated into mudslinging at questionable taste – in and of itself perceivably a “fail”, today I’m instead going to approach the ad copy on this Jetta from the perspective of an angry, slightly bemused fact-checking Editor-in-Chief who has sent back a series of revisions to the author. While we all make grammatical and spelling mistakes (sometimes on a regular basis that I don’t catch, though I promise I try!), there are quite a few to enjoy in this particular ad:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6 on eBay

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2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX V6

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As I prepare my departure from the Washington, DC region next year, one skill at which I’ve become quite adroit during my stay is the ability to know my audience. Sometimes it’s best not to interject personal opinion around here unless you want to start a war. But you know what? Given it’s the holiday season, I felt like I needed to spread some cheer. Or, in this case, grief. And it’s directed squarely at Volkswagen and their discriminatory and downright disappointing product decisions which they have taken in the US market. I’ve got a short list of grievances to air, so let’s run down the list:

1. Please don’t create a whole subset of models specific to the US market. Sure, tastes differ across the globe, but individuality is king. Not only that, “global” models will save development costs.

2. Tell the product planners over at Audi that we need less SUVs, more Avants and a halt to the removal of manual gearbox options year on year. You might not have noticed, but we witnessed another three-pedal death with the redesigned 2016 Audi TT.

3. Audi needs to rethink their move in not bringing the A3/S3 Sportback stateside. While not as hideous as the Mercedes-Benz CLA, not everyone wants to do yoga moves to get in the back seat of a small sedan like the A3 and S3 or lose the convenience that comes with the larger load bay of a hatchback.

4. The Volkswagen Routan. If the person who gave this model the green light is still employed with Volkswagen, they should stand trial for a crime against humanity. Is it any wonder this badge engineered turd only lasted five years? Bring the Transporter/Eurovan back, please. Those who enjoy the great outdoors will thank you.

5. US Scirocco sales should commence. Immediately. Your argument that the Scirocco would cannibalize GTi sales is invalid, Volkswagen.

6. Let’s talk about the 500 pound elephant in the room that is the Volkswagen Passat. The car which led the VW renaissance in the US almost 20 years ago is now nothing more than a German Ford Taurus. At least there was a diesel option with a 6-speed manual before the emissions fiasco this year, but now the oil burner has been removed from the lineup. Additionally, not everyone who opts for a new Passat with a manual gearbox wants the bare bones trim level. Let those who enjoy the manual gearbox choose all the options they want, please. If there’s a silver lining in all of this, it is that we can still buy the attractive Passat CC (but I’m guessing not for long).

7. Will we ever see the Volkswagen Polo in the US? The Polo GTi would be a worthy competitor to the current MINI Cooper S, which has gotten hideously large. Also, how about the Passat Alltrack for kicks? This would give the Subaru Outback a run for its money and you would certainly grab the interest of the VW faithful still running the few Quantum Syncro Wagons left.

I’m sure there are other complaints which I might have failed to address. To be fair, it’s not entirely Volkswagen’s fault, as the rules and regulations to sell a car in the US would make dictators of a one party state cringe. Needless to say, the old adage holds true here: freedom defined is freedom denied. One thing is certain, though. I almost feel as if the diesel emissions scandal that shook VW to the core in September is, in a sense, a bit of karma for a car company which strayed too far its roots and lost some of its most loyal customers in the process.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s dial back a few years when you could still get a well equipped Passat with a manual gearbox. This 2003 Passat GLX V6 hasn’t even cracked 60,000 miles yet but harkens back to a time when the Passat was the darling of the mid-sized segment. This was the car that brought Audi levels of luxury to the masses.

Click for details: 2003 Volkswagen Passat GLX V6 on eBay

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1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX TDi Variant

Something really strange happened to me about a decade ago; I got old. Sure, part of it was the numeric figure I associated with my age, but the bigger problem was that I had a job that I was paying the gas bills for, and I needed to drive – a lot. I was adding between 45,000 and 55,000 miles a year to the odometers (when they were working). My preferred mode of transport to that point was Audis, and while they were quirky, fun, and neat looking compared to a Kia, the fuel mileage was nothing to write home about. My 200 Quattro Avant struggled to get 25 m.p.g., and my V8? If I could manage 20, that was a good day. So, despite my desires for a high performance steed, increasingly as gas prices rose my thoughts kept shifting towards how I could maximize my fuel mileage. One thought I had was to take something like the 200 and swap in a TDi drivetrain. Would it be slow? Sure, it wouldn’t be nearly as quick – but the prospect of 40 plus m.p.g. was infinitely appealing to easing my multi-thousand dollar gas bills. It seems I wasn’t alone in my thinking:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX TDi on eBay

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B4 Variant-off: 1997 Passat GLX VR6 v. 1996 Passat GLS TDi

Without a doubt, Wagon Week is one of our favorite features here at German Cars For Sale Blog, and while there are plenty of desirable, big name Avants, Tourings and Estates that grab the headlines and generate the “likes” on Myface or Spacebook or Instaselfie or whatever, if I’m honest I’m always a fan of the underdog Passat Variant. Perhaps it’s because I’ve owned two, perhaps it’s because it’s the less common choice; I’m not entirely certain. True, the Passat isn’t the best performing wagon out there, and I’d concede that it’s not the best looking or best made one either. But in terms of the performance you can get in a stealthy, good looking package on a budget, I think that the Passat may be the real sleeper in the German wagon realm. But the positive aspects of the Passats aren’t unknown to all; the Quantum Syncro is always a popular if rarely seen ’80s icon for the company, and when we got to the Golf-based B3 and B4, there were some cool options too – such as the not-for-the-U.S. G60 Syncro. But even in the U.S., the B4 offered some neat performance options for the wagon aficionado – interestingly, in very different directions. Check the “GLX” option on your order form and you’d get the torquey, great sounding VR6 engine and BBS wheels in a sporty package. Check the “TDi” option, and you had a hyper-miler capable of over a thousand miles on a tank of gas. Yet while both have their niche markets, finding good examples of each can be quite difficult. Today we have one of each to compare, and I think it makes for an interesting showdown. Will either hit the $11,000 mark of the last B4 Variant we looked at?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Volkswagen Passat GLX VR6 Variant on eBay

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Wagon Week: 2000 Volkswagen Passat 2.8 GLX 4Motion Variant

While “Wagon Week” is one of our favorite features, I’ve tried to look at cars this go around that are slightly different than the normal candidates we examine. As such, while typically I look at the infamous W8 version of the Passat and it’s headline grabbing, innovative engine or the lighter weight 1.8T 5-speed, my preferred configuration, this time we’re looking at what was a popular platform – the GLX 4Motion. Equipped with a silky smooth 30V V6, as it was with the B2 generation underneath the B5 Passat was effectively an Audi A4 and shared the same all-wheel drive technology with updated 4-link suspension. That gave the Passat a refined and capable drivetrain and composed suspension setup that made it feel more upscale than the B3 and B4 generation had been. For enthusiasts, unfortunately if you wanted the all-wheel drive option coupled to a manual, you’d need to select an Audi over the more budget-friendly Passat or wait until the introduction of the 1.8T 4Motion later in the B5.5 model run. But many selected the package none-the-less, a capable and competent upscale cruiser that punched north of its price point and was a value luxury car:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Volkswagen Passat 2.8 GLX 4Motion Variant on eBay

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2002 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6 Wagon

The earlier dueling beige wagons was a bit of a letdown post, and off the bat I have to say I’m sorry. I should have been more excited to see two rare VAG products from the 1980s, but looking at those two the best response I feel I can muster is a general “at least they’re clean”. And that’s sad, because keeping a car in good condition for that period of time certainly takes a fair amount of care and concern – it doesn’t just happen by accident. Despite that, I just found it very hard to get at all excited about either of those wagons. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I got quite excited when I stumbled across this 5-door. Now, I want to be clear up front that I’m not a Jetta fan – I reside firmly in “Camp Golf” when I’m not at “Club Passat”. Furthermore, I’m not really a Mk.4 fan. They’re notorious for shoddy build quality, wacky electrics and…well, to be not particularly delicate, the Mk.4 Jetta reminds me of college girls from New Jersey and not in a good way. However, there are some positives to consider. First, while we were denied the Mk.3 Golf Variant, Volkswagen allowed the small wagon to come to the U.S., and this is one. Second, the Mk.4 generation had some great motor options; the frugal TDi, the tunable 1.8T and the torquey and awesome sounding VR6 engines – all available in 5-door form. Lesser known is that all of the wagons, like the Passat, were assembled in Germany. That may not matter to some, but my experience has been that the German-built Passat wagons had better build quality than the sedans. On top of that, you also got some great wheel options in the Mk.4 and it could be had in a 5-speed manual. It really was a fun, sporty wagon option – something Volkswagen and Audi hadn’t been stellar at offering U.S. customers. Today’s 2002 example is from mid-way through Mk.4 production and features all of those above mentioned items in a pleasing combination of Reflex Silver Metallic with black leather:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6 Wagon on eBay

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Dwindling Supply: 1996 and 1997 Volkswagen Passat GLX VR6 Variants

The Volkswagen Passat has always been a bit of the odd-man out in the Volkswagen lineup. Not as wildly popular as the Golf or as trendy as the Jetta, the Passat has alternated between the smart choice if you wanted quiet and capable German luxury to the odd choice if you just wanted to be a bit different than the norm. Volkswagen also can’t seem to make it’s mind up on which platform it wants to utilize with the Passat; the B1 and B2 generations, for example, shared their DNA with Audis. But with the B3 and B4 generation, Volkswagen moved to its own bag of tricks and developed a new Passat which mixed items from the Mk.2 and Mk.3 Golf chassis. For the B5 and B5.5, once again Volkswagen turned to the upscale Audi platform and the Passat was more popular than ever – effectively, it was a budget Audi A4, right down to the same powertrains and all-wheel drive systems. As effective as the B5/5.5 was for sales, when the B6 launched it was once again a return to the Golf chassis for the new Passat – and now we hang in limbo with a U.S. specific B7 Passat. But if the B5 and B5.5 were popular as a smart and upscale choice for budget Audi fans, the B3 and B4 seemed a bit odd. First there was the B3, with it’s grill-less design. I always thought it was pretty cool, personally, but apparently it offended actual buyers so much that Volkswagen redesigned the car and in 1993 the car received new body panels and a normal grill. That didn’t seem to bring with it massive sales, though – the Passat was still quite expensive and effectively the same size as the Jetta it was sold alongside. There was really only one trump card that the Passat had – denied the Golf Variant in the U.S., it was the only Volkswagen wagon you could buy here at the time:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX VR6 Variant on eBay

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1998 Volkswagen GTi VR6

For most enthusiasts, last week’s 1997 BMW 318ti M-Sport represented too little car for too much money; sure, the M-Sport looked great, but as pointed out by one of our readers the performance didn’t necessarily live up to the badges. The M-Sport was fast in appearance and carried a hefty price tag to go along with it. A fully optioned 318ti M-Sport in a special color would set you back around $25,000 – a steep asking price considering the M42 engine with only around 140 horsepower motivating it. So the 318ti M-Sport was a bit of a sheep in wolf’s clothes; a good car, but with the promise of more performance than it could deliver.

On the other end of the spectrum was the original giant-slayer hot hatch, the GTi. While not all versions enjoyed great performance, if you opted for the VR6 variant you got a handsome, well built and good handling package capable of out-drag racing, out-turning and out-carrying the 318ti. Best of all, it was about $5,000 cheaper than the BMW. Outwardly, aside from the wild-colored Jazz Blue or Ginster Yellow examples, to many the GTi VR6 was virtually indistinguishable from the standard Golf – for many, part of its huge appeal. It was, simply put, the wolf in sheep’s clothing:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Volkswagen GTi VR6 on eBay

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1997 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6

Purists decried the arrival of the “grown up” A3 chassis Golf and Vento, sold as the Jetta in North America. It was expensive, it was heavy (relative to the A1 and A2 chassis, anyway) and the performance was dulled – that was, until the introduction of the GLX model that replaced the earlier GLi models. Now sporting the VR6 that had debuted in the Corrado a few years earlier, the GLX was all around a screamer. It might have been heavier than the GLi had been, but it was quicker to 60, quieter on the highway, more comfortable and better in crashes (if things went south), and returned close to the same fuel economy as the thirsty, buzzy and boxy 16V had. The Jetta in many ways helped to save Volkswagen, too – being one of the highest sellers since the Beetle, it was insanely popular and seemed to be the defacto college car of choice for both men and women. Because of that, many of these Jettas fell into disrepair or were totaled, so it’s rare to find a lower mile and clean GLX these days:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Volkswagen Jetta GlX VR6 on eBay

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