2006 Volkswagen Golf GLS TDI

Update 7/3/18: After not selling a month ago for $5,900, the seller has raised the price to $6,500.

Recently, my mechanic picked up an interesting car. It’s a Golf GLS 2.0. Immediately, it’s a car that most will dismiss as being perhaps the least exciting Volkswagen produced in modern times, if not the least reliable. He tossed me the keys when I turned up with a broken front spring in the Passat (Thank you, Rhode Island Department of Pothole Management Transportation) .

Stepping into the Mk.4 from the B5.5 Passat, you’ll feel instantly right at home. The two share a majority of switchgear and the layout is identical. However, the quality of the Golf is lower, and it’s immediately evident the moment you turn the key. There’s less noise isolation, there’s more plastic, and the feel of the car is not as refined as the Passat. There are fewer options, too.

However, there are redeeming qualities. I can get the 1.8T in my Passat to return well over 30 mpg. But, to get those numbers you really have to go easy on the throttle. Not so in the Golf, which returns well over 30 mpg seemingly regardless of what you do with the loud pedal. And though the Mk.4 has gained a reputation for being unreliable, what immediately struck me was that everything still worked. Cruise control, power mirrors, seat heaters, air conditioning, radio, sunroof – it was all working on this relatively loaded GLS model. That was especially curious when I looked at the odometer, because still on its original engine, his 2003 Golf had an almost unfathomable 273,000 miles on it – yet it looked, ran and drove like it had less than half that amount.

For a car he picked up for around a thousand dollars, I’m not sure what more you could ask, so I decided to keep an eye out for one to pop up. It did, in nearly the same configuration as my mechanics. Except it is the more desirable turbo diesel model, known for going ultra long distances on nearly no fuel. So is this the one to get?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Volkswagen Golf GLS TDI on eBay

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2004 Volkswagen Golf GLS TDi

Continuing on the diesel theme from yesterday, let’s take a look at another no spark Volkswagen. Again we have one that flies below the radar but is worth a lot more than you’d expect. The pre-scandal TDis have a serious niche following. While not quite as set-it-and-forget-it as the 1Z, the derivatives – first the AHU, then the later ATD/AXR and other models similar to today’s example, were nonetheless high-mileage warriors. Rated at 100 horsepower and 177 lb. ft of torque, performance wasn’t outstanding – 0-60 took a few ticks over 11 seconds, it’d take a half minute to hit 100 and top speed was limited to 115 mph. But then you weren’t really buying this car for it’s straight line acceleration. What you were buying it for was notable longevity and, of course, fuel mileage. At a time when the standard 2.0 inline-4 struggled to return about 30 mpg at best and the 1.8T was no better, the premium for the TDi gave you 33 mpg city and over 40 on the highway. You could stretch it even farther on a tank if you were careful. Impressive? Well, for the time, it was one of the very few diesel motors you could buy in the U.S. and set the stage for the popularity of the Mk.5 models.

As we saw with the Jetta Wagon, the ‘GLS’ trim moved upscale and included nicer wheels and interior bits. But just like that Jetta, the combination of a 4-door Golf, GLS trim, the turbo diesel motor and a 5-speed manual are quite hard to come by:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Volkswagen Golf GLS TDi on eBay

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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.

I told my friend all about it. Her vision of diesel was the noisy, clattering and smoke belching agonizingly slow models from VW and Mercedes-Benz in the early 1980s.

“No no!”, I said, “They’ve finally cracked it! They drive like normal cars, they’re not noisy, and they get great mileage! There are literally no drawbacks except that they’re kind of expensive!”

“There’s no magic bullet”, she said.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2015 Volskwagen Golf Sportwagon TDi SE on eBay

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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. With two turbos and two more wheels driven, the driving dynamics might not be quite as sublime in the B5, but they’re still nice places to be in on a drive and pretty shocking with the amount of performance that can be massaged out of the V6. With Alcantara sport seats and a 6-speed manual in mostly original configuration and under 110,000 miles, this one looks like a good sleeper in nice shape. But without the ///Markup, the current bid is only an outlandishly low $2,100.

Click for Details: 1990 Volkswagen Transporter Double Cab (Doka) Syncro

Like the earlier Samba, utter the words “Transporter”, “Doka”, and “Syncro” in a sentence and you get VW fanboys all wobbly in the knees. But unlike most auctions which have accompanying astronomical asking prices, the seller of this 1990 is taking a risk by offering it at no reserve. Condition is great and the options tick the right boxes, but unlike the S4 this auction isn’t likely to be overlooked. Bidding, with four days left, is already over $12,000; still, less than a third of the ask on a similar example I recently saw.

Click for Details: 2001 Mercedes-Benz 500SL

An interesting counter-point to Andrew’s 1993 Mercedes-Benz 600SL, the more affordable and easier to live with 500SL variant of the R129 is no stranger to the used market. This one has not many more miles and the condition looks good with a clean history, plus it has some great looking AMG wheels. Truth told, I like the pre-refresh, more angular look of the early R129s, but this one is tidy and currently yours for only a bit over $7,000.

-Carter

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

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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

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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. While the estimates of mileage on the car range from 30-41 mpg from the factory, real world results from some owners turn up with numbers closer to Prius-embarrassing 45 miles per a gallon. Now, if the Passat had a fuel tank the size of the A6, that would equate to a pretty large range. But they didn’t have a tank the size of the Audi – it was bigger. Much bigger. In the Variant, many owners claim 26 gallons fills their tank while some markets even had the option for a 33 gallon sump. The result is a pretty dependable 1,000 mile range and, driven very carefully, some VW TDi-faithful have gotten closer to 1,500 miles. Shocking. That means it’s pretty typical to see these TDis with multi-hundred thousand miles accrued, but that’s not the case here according to the odometer. No, this sedan – while it admittedly has a smaller tank than the wagon – has apparently traveled less than 40,000 miles. Here’s the really staggering part; at 20 years old, even going with the “conservative” 1,000 mile range, this car has only visited a gas station on average twice a year since new.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi on eBay

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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

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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

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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

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