In a strange twist of fate I promise was not entirely planned, we are heading from probably the most expensive and complicated Passat to the other end of the spectrum – the spiritual great-great Grandfather in this 1980 Dasher Diesel Wagon. A few weeks ago, I took a look at a very green 1980 5000 and suggested that it might be Kermit’s commuter. But if Kermit was a family man, something like this Volkswagen might have been the choice he’d make in 1980. The Dasher Diesel wasn’t sporty; you could read a Dan Brown novel in the time it would take you to leave a light and hit 60 miles per and hour at full chat. But it would get over 40 miles per a gallon and if properly (and sometimes improperly) maintained, these diesels are still clacking like new today. However, like the Passat W8, the Dasher falls into a strange gray area of lack of enthusiasm. For every other 1980 Volkswagen model you can find large groups of fans, but the Dasher – despite its unique three different configurations at that time – can’t find much love these days. Like the Audi 5000 from the other day, can this Onyx Green Metallic with matching green velour find a frog fanatic?
All posts tagged Volkswagen
Volkswagen is really great at theory, but not so much at execution. They’ve had a long line of really strange marketing decisions which have at times left the company in dire straights. One wonders how Volkswagen will emerge in the wake of the recent diesel scandal, for example, though many other manufacturers like Mitsubishi (you forgot they still made cars, didn’t you? Me too.) are doing their best to usurp VW’s crown as a manufacturing pariah. Yet, Volkswagen has so many debacles it has run its customers through that it should be amazing they come back for more at all. In the early 1990s, they mis-rated the timing belt service intervals on the early V8 quattros. The result was, predictably, a bunch of engine replacements. The 1.8T became notorious for turbo sludge problems, too – rectified with larger filters and synthetic-only oil, but a fair number (including my Passat) had factory turbo replacement. The 3.0 V6? A timebomb of metal shards working their way from the passenger rear of the motor through the engine, thanks to what appears to be an oil starvation design flaw. The 2.7Ts, 4.2s and all of the FSi motors? Known issues, sometimes very large and expensive. Coil packs, unnecessarily complicated PSV systems, transmissions made of glass and clogging sunroof channels? All the norm in your VAG experience. But Volkswagen really outdid themselves by making a complicated system even more complicated when they introduced the 4.0 W8 into the Passat. Sure, it was a test bed for later W12 models, and viewed in that light it makes some sense. But then, the Passat shown here is much more rare than the Bentleys and even some of the A8 W12 models that derived experience from the B5.5. Volkswagen could simply have taken any one of their proven engines and provided the answer to whatever question they were posing when they conceived this vehicle. Instead, they did things differently. That’s both something to celebrate and something to point out as an inherent character flaw:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion Variant on eBay
Considering popular Volkswagen chassis for enthusiasts, it would be natural to equate the many generations of Volkswagen Golfs to BMW’s 3-series. Models like the legendary GTi 16V mimic the Munich brand in several ways, with high revving inline-4s, BBS wheels and the later models even sported quad round headlights. The models that followed plumped up a bit and went to sonorous 6-cylinders and even more recently turbocharging both has become the factory way. Following in that comparative logic, the Corrado SLC is more like the M5. It’s a bit more grown up, more refined – yet has an equal mystique and base of fans. For Volkswagen faithful, clean Corrados are like India was to the British Empire – the crown jewel of collectables. And no gems come to the market more brilliant than this basically new emerald-colored 1993:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Volkswagen Corrado SLC on eBay
The GT badge was one which appeared on Volkswagens in the late 1980s and early 1990s for the slightly less hot version of the GTI. My father purchased a 1987 Golf GT new, a Tornado Red two-door hatch that had the trimmings of the GTI with the familiar 8 valve, four-cylinder engine. It wasn’t a particularly fast car and was not without its problems, but I always appreciated the clean design of the Mk2 Golf. The same goes for the Mk2 Polo GT. It’s not exactly an exciting or exotic vehicle, but a clean design. It’s a car that could have done well and still could do well in the US market, speaking to those buyers who turned to the original Beetle for basic transportation. This 1993 example represents the final year for the Mk2 Polo and is currently on offer in Switzerland.