Time Machine: 2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen TDI

Time Machine: 2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen TDI

Recently, I went on a train ride with my son to the local airshow at Quonset Point in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. The location also is the port which brings in a fair chunk of the Audi and Volkswagen products destined for New England. And, more recently, it’s also become a graveyard.

As the train rounded the corner onto the siding heading towards the port, what used to be an abandoned rail yard of a forgone era – a reminder of when the Navy had a major presence and money in Rhode Island – has been filled to the brim with a new activity. Yet it’s equally as sad as the dusty boarded up military buildings which once lined what has become an industrial park. That’s because it’s the home of all of the local “Dieselgate” buybacks of Volkswagen TDis.

Row after row of (to me) effectively brand new or lightly used TDis greeted us as the train shook on the decrepit rails. So bad is the condition of the track in that area that the train is limited to nearly walking speed; fitting, as it made the procession by the flocks of abandoned Volkswagens all the more painful to witness. We couldn’t just buzz past quickly; it was as if the antiquated rail system was offering a commentary on the VW scandal.

It brought me back to a little over a decade prior when Volkswagen came roaring back to the U.S. with its promise of “Clean Diesel”. A fan of the brand, I – like so many others – felt genuine enthusiasm as the products which dominated Europe were finally coming to the U.S.! Real world mileage was met with manual 6-speed transmissions and even a wagon – and more people than ever were flocking to the brand, happy to identify themselves as budding environmentalists because of their discerning automotive choice.…

Ending Soon – What We’re Watching

Ending Soon – What We’re Watching

I’ve got my eye on another interesting and diverse set of affordable no reserve auctions this week. Take a look and feel free to chime in where you think cars will end! Let’s get things rolling with this BMW E28 with only a few hours remaining:

Click for Details: 1987 BMW 535is

This 1987 BMW 535is is definitely on the driver-quality side rather than a show piece; but all the important bones are there and the rust-free claim is worth its weight in 1980s Bavarian metal, anyway. Overall, though there are some obvious needs, for a 200,000 mile car it looks reasonably tidy and so far bidding is only at $2,500.

Click for Details: 2002 Volkswagen Jetta TDi Wagon

In an era of Volkswagen production that saw a sharp upswing in quality and performance, who would have guessed that the second most desirable model in the used market (outside of the R, obviously) is a Jetta Wagon with the diesel motor? Unlike its bigger brother Passat TDi Variant, the Jetta could be had with a 5-speed manual and they’ve developed a cult following. This one ticks the right boxes with lower miles, what appears to be good condition and the ALH/5-speed manual combination in a wagon, so bids are nearly at $7,000 with a few hours to go on the no reserve auction.

Click for Details: 1997 BMW M3 Sedan

After yesterday’s polarizing M3 Lightweight, we’re back to normal series production (and lower prices) with this still desirable M3 Sedan. In -3/4/5 configuration, these have quickly become the preferred weapon of choice for the practical E36 lover. In Artic Silver with Dove interior, this one isn’t stock, but with under 100,000 miles and in good condition, it looks like a solid investment at under $9,000 at time of writing.

Click for Details: 2000 Audi S4

An interesting, and more potent, counterpoint to the M3/4/5 is the Audi S4.…

1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi Variant

1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi Variant

If I told someone in the general public that a 21 year old, cloth interior Volkswagen rolling on steel wheels would be worth $10,000 on the open market, they’d probably laugh. After all, Volkswagens half that age are worth only around 50% of that figure. But to the general public, the moniker “1Z” means little else other than the first number and last letter. Unless they’re trying to pass some perverted field sobriety test, that combination just wouldn’t have any deeper significance. But to Volkswagen enthusiasts, “1Z” is the password to secret hyper-milers. They’re the name of the Kingdom of special hippie-crunchy, make-your-own-gas type of automobile enthusiasts. One step from Moonshiners, they take showers about as often as they wash their cars (read: not frequently). They test the suspensions of their cars with how much weight they can carry and or tow at a given time. The term “low mileage” is not in their vocabulary, instead proudly patting themselves on the back for the hundreds of thousands of miles they’ve clattered slowly away. Instead of bragging about 60 m.p.h. times, they are happy to rub your nose in 60 m.p.g. claims. And though the 1Z 1.9 TDi came in a few packages stateside, they absolutely go gaga over Passat wagons of the manual variety:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi Variant on eBay

2007 Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI

2007 Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI

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After spending a weekend riding around in a friend’s Volkswagen Touareg with the V6 TDI engine, I came away impressed. If you read GCFSB on a regular basis, you’ll know that I’m not a fan of SUVs, but this one is quite comfortable and has plenty of smooth diesel torque. Taking off from a standstill, I was rather impressed just how quick on its feet this truck was. I can only imagine what the power of four more cylinders in the same diesel format would bring. Thankfully, a few Touareg V10 TDIs made their way to the US market at a time when Volkswagen was throwing a lot of things at the wall to see what would stick. These experiments included in the Phaeton and the W8 engine that found its way into the B5.5 Passat. The Touareg V10 TDI was not a huge seller and gave way to the V6 TDI, but they were powerful enough to tow a Boeing 747. This 2007 Touareg V10 TDI for sale in Connecticut is perfect for those out there with heavy hauling demands.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI on eBay

1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi

1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi

Recently, I’ve been spending some time driving an Audi C6 A6 3.2 Avant. While I have a report coming on that car soon, I mention it for one reason – what happened the other day when I was filling it up. The gas light pinged on and I pulled into the station; pop the fuel door, card in, nozzle removed, then I tend to pass my time judging other people’s car choices as they fill up too. As I filled, I made my way all the way around the quite full station and had summed up the rather unhappy lives of most of the vanilla SUV drivers in my head. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I was still pumping gas. Filling the Passat generally limits my prejudice party as I run out of room at 12 gallons. The 530xi allows me to make judgements on more Kia drivers, as I’ve hit 16 and change. But I had strode past 16 with ease and the numbers were still going. Concerned, I stopped and began to look for the gas pouring out of the bottom of the car, much to the bemusement of my captive audience. Unable to locate the leak, in wonder I re-engaged the trigger and watched the number on the dial climb past 18 gallons. Now, the A6 gets pretty reasonable mileage for a big, heavy car – around 23 average, over 25-26 on the highway. And all told, if you ran it dry you’d be 21.1 gallons in the whole. That makes a real-world range of over 500 miles per a tank. Sound like a lot? It’s the type of number the B4 Passat TDi laughs at.

Especially in Variant wagon form, the B4 TDi Passats have become legendary. Equipped with the 1Z motor, they’re capable of a simply bladder-busting range.…

2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE

2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE

I don’t like this car. Volkswagen just had to go ahead and build a fat Passat for US customers, instead of carrying on with the existing European Passat, didn’t they? There are two things, however, that I like about this 2015 Passat we see here. First, it’s a diesel. Second, it’s equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Turns out a visit to VW.com revealed that you can’t specify a manual gearbox in a new Passat anymore. In the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, you can’t opt for a diesel engine, either. So thanks loads again, Volkswagen, for neutering your product range even further for 2016. If it’s a diesel Passat you want, at least there are a few more leftovers hanging around out there, such as this one for sale in Pennsylvania.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE on eBay

1989 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro “Jagdwagen”

1989 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro “Jagdwagen”

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Here’s an interesting dive into Volkswagen T3 history. We’ve seen special camping editions and even Tristar DoKas, but this green monster came with a special options list Volkswagen deemed the “Jagdwagen” (“Hunter”) package. It was never released as a real model, but reportedly 12 were made in this spec, which includes a full exterior cage, winch, spot light, gun rack and side gun drawer and rear bucket seats. The Jagdwagen options commanded an extra ~$11k over the already-pricey DoKa Syncro.

This example is one of a reported four in North America and features a TDI engine from a MkIV Jetta. Besides a few exterior scuffs, it looks to be in good shape and has received some attention like new bumpers to keep it looking spiffy.

Click for details: 1989 Volkswagen DoKa Syncro Jagdwagen on eBay

2006 Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI

2006 Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI

From the first time I rode in a Touareg, I’ve had an affinity for Volkswagen’s brawny SUV. I had spent a considerable amount of time in VWs growing up, all manners of Jettas, a few Passats, a GTI here, a Fox there. But the Touareg, the Touareg was something completely different from what I was used to. Every bit of it felt solid, it had presence, style, panache. Everything about it was overboard, from the air conditioned glovebox that housed an owners manual as thick as War & Peace, to the finely stitched leather bits covering nearly every visible surface.

In the United States a Touareg sighting generally conjures up images of soccer practice, or tackling the treacherous terrain of an unplowed mall parking lot. Globally they’re seen in a much different light, and frequently pop up as the go to vehicle in some of the more extreme environments on the planet. Whether you’re looking to conquer dunes in remote parts of Africa, tow a 7,716 lb load, or just make a run to the grocery store, the Touareg V10 TDI is up to the task. What sets it apart from other SUVs is that it allows you to do all of the above, and do it from the comfort of a first class cabin.

Click for details: 2006 Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI on Dallas Craigslist

1989 Volkswagen DoKa

1989 Volkswagen DoKa

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This DoKa was recently brought over from England by an importer that specializes in turbodiesel of all sorts. This 3-door pickup, originally some light-duty military vehicle – has been upgraded with the venerable 1.9-liter TDI, giving it a good amount more oomph than stock. The interior is all business, with seating for 6, a table, and and a stereo representing the luxury highlights. The exterior looks like a well-used military vehicle, with a few different drab greens and a serious canvas top that needs some work on its frame. Custom-fit gear boxes have rails inside to hold them, underscoring a T3 that is built for neither speed NOR comfort – just business. My eye is always on potential when I approach Vanagons/Transporters, however, and this TDI truck looks like it could suit a lot of different needs in its next life.

Click for details: 1989 Volkswagen Doka on eBay

1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX TDi Variant

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

1991 Volkswagen Westfalia TDI

1991 Volkswagen Westfalia TDI

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I like older cars that are loved, maintained, and well-used in the manner they were built for. This means that high mileage is, to me, a badge of honor, and replaced and upgrades parts are more a sign of perseverance and attention than decay. Like my old cars, this ’91 Westy appears to me as a shining example of just how good 200k+ miles can look. Sure, there are some stone chips and patina, and the engine and transmission have had to be replaced, but from the wheels to the tent and all through the inside it looks a great, functional adventure van. Instead of the 2.1-liter gas engine, it now has a 1.9-liter TDI conversion that was truly done right, with some nice engine mods along with a re-geared transmission and a Peloquin differential to resist those annoying one-wheel spins in traction-deficient situations. The condition and upgrades more than offset the high odometer reading, so the auction is starting at a strong $29k.

Click for details: 1991 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia TDI on eBay

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

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

Wagon Week: 2009 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI

Wagon Week: 2009 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI

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When I think roadtrip vehicle, my mind immediately goes to the frugal and capable Jetta TDI. When driven carefully, they can far exceed their standard MPG ratings while swallowing tons of gear. All this with class-leading comfort and style in the interior. My main gripe is the unattractive front end, but in my dreams I just throw a TDI Cup front end on it, creating a seriously good-looking wagon. This 2009 Sportwagen has a lot of positives – low mileage, 6-speed manual, panoramic roof and premium sound are all boxes I’d want ticked. The glaring downside is the rebuilt title, which we know is always a big liability. A full inspection could suss out if the driver’s-side collision really was minor and if everything is good to go. Rebuilt titles mean low resale values – maybe not ideal if you sell it in the future, but if everything checks out it creates an insane deal on an ultimate roadtrip machine.

Click for details: 2009 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI on eBay

Wagon Week: 1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi Variant

Wagon Week: 1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi Variant

There are plenty of popular Volkswagens that demand premiums, sometimes inexplicably. These special models have a draw and demand money that makes people laugh. Sure, in the car world, it’s become accepted that vehicles like the 21 window Samba are now $100,000 plus fully restored; however, tell that to my father-in-law, who grew up driving them, and you’ll get nothing but boisterous laughs. Other Volkswagens exhibit charm or were class leaders; the GTi, the Vanagon Westy, the Corrado – stylish in their own ways, with charm to match. Then there’s the Passat. Despite the serious popularity of the B5 and B5.5 chassis, I still feel like I need to explain to people that they’re really quite nice cars. Do you know why? Mostly it’s because of the reputation of the B3 and B4 Passats. Poor build quality coupled with an unerring tendency of early 90s Volkswagens to rust heavily meant they’re an odd choice for the Volkswagen fan. And when I consider the B4 Passat, all I can think is that it’s arguably the most vanilla Volkswagen ever produced. I praised Volkswagen when they launched the B3; smooth, aerodynamic with a distinctive wedge shape, it looked very different than any other sedan on sale at the time. Most of that distinction came down to the grill-less front end, but regardless it was cool. It was so cool, in fact, that no one got it. Of course, it didn’t help that it was pretty expensive and not particularly reliable in the best trend of early 90s VWs. So it probably came as no surprise when the revised B4 Passat in 1995 when more mainstream. New wheels, mostly new body panels and some minor interior changes signaled its introduction, but that’s not what people sought. No, the big news was under the hood; Volkswagen moved the 1Z 1.9 TDi into the Passat – and behind the headlines of the Vans, Corrados and GTis, it’s probably the most sought 1990s Volkswagen – especially in 5-speed Variant form.…

1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup TDI

1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup TDI

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Today we have a sweet Rabbit Pickup that has gone through a complete restoration and updated to a rebuilt 1997 TDI motor from a Passat. These were efficient little buggers in the first place, but now it’s got a little more power while maintaining the best gas mileage of any truck out there. It may not be the most attractive Caddy we’ve seen, as the emblemless grille and tacked-on hood scoop scar the front while the innocuous grey has that slightly dull finish marking a budget repaint. But the interior is quite nice with Recaros and a nice wood wheel-and-knob combo, underscoring the fact that this little pickup is built for comfort and utility. With just 15k miles on the renewed package, the seller is looking for top-Caddy dollar, asking $11,400.

Click for details: 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup TDI