1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro


Sport Utility Vehicle. The term is a bit overused in modern vernacular. Most vehicles that fall under this category offer little sport and if they do, utility is compromised. However, Volkswagen really captured a niche in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the Vanagon Syncro. The number of vans that have offered four-wheel drive throughout history are few, but the Vanagon had a rugged air about it, something that hasn’t been lost on lovers of the great outdoors to this day. A trip to Montana might not be on everyone’s agenda during this extremely cold winter, but if you’re on the hunt for a good T3 Syncro, your search might take you there.

Click for more details: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro on eBay

1984 Volkswagen GTi

Over the past 15 years, the original GTi has moved from a forgotten trailblazer into an investment-grade classic. It’s been helped by the countless articles and reports that have fondly remembered this little pocket rocket as one of the best enthusiast cars ever made. We’ve seen the result of this first-hand; I joked about how very Clarkson-esque I was having sold my 1984 GTi for $300 in the late 1990s when we featured the back-to-back $18,000 1983 GTi and $17,000 1984 GTi. If it sounds a bit crazy to pay those prices, for the buyers those cars they were obviously looking for the best example possible. If you can back down your standards a touch and are looking for a solid driver that’s a bit more reasonably priced, this 1984 may be a good opportunity for you:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen GTi on eBay

Party Like It’s 1989 Week: ’89 Volkswagen GTi 5 Door

When I spent some time in England and Germany, my friends there laughed when I stopped to gawk at a 5 door A2 GTi. My German friend kept telling me “it’s nothing special, it’s just the golf 4 door with GTi badges”. He was both right and wrong, because while the 5 door GTi shown here really is just mostly an appearance package it was a car that the U.S. never received and one that I really wanted. I’m not even completely sure why Volkswagen chose not to bring the more versatile 5 door to the U.S. until the Mk.5 platform, but like many of the European variants they have remained out of our reach since new. 1989 saw the beginning of the changeover from the smaller bumper A2 to the chunkier “big bumper” look with integrated fog lights. Today’s example looks nearly identical to the 2.0 16V GTi we received on these shores – with the exception of the number of openings!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen GTi on eBay.de

Heap of the Week: 1984 Volkswagen Jetta GLi

So few remain around these days that it’s easy to forget that in 1984 Volkswagen introduced the hot 4-door Jetta, the GLi. Like the GTi brethren, these featured an upgraded 1.8 inline-4 mated to a close ratio 5-speed transmission, as well as upgraded brakes and a few external changes to set them apart from the run-of-the-mill Jettas. Not many were produced, and again like the GTi few remain around in good shape; in fact, I can think of only one that I’ve seen in the past decade. Like me, the owner is a high performance driving enthusiast and we’ve been trucking our old Volkswagen/Audi products out to BMW HPDEs for years. Despite neither of us having the fastest car out there, it’s always fun to see his red GLi, hunkered down over very wide semi-slick tires bouncing down the front straight at Lime Rock park. Today’s GLi isn’t quite ready to do that, but offers a glimpse into a rare car that’s quite affordable and should be saved:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen Jetta GLi on eBay

1988 Volkswagen Cabriolet

Okay, call it wishful thinking, but as the “white stuff” descends on New England I think it’s a great opportunity to look at a the perfect winter car – an all-white Volkswagen Cabriolet. By perfect car, of course I mean it’s the perfect car to hide in a snowbank and dream of a warmer climate. Plus, the wheels are affectionately known as “Snowflakes”! In all seriousness, these Cabriolets soldiered on long after their Mk.1 brethren had been replaced by the second generation Golf. It wasn’t necessarily laziness on the part of Volkswagen, but a testament to the lasting appeal of this not-so-cheap but cheery convertible. Of course, if you were “Daddy’s girl” in the 1980s you were probably destined for an automatic version of today’s triple-white “Molly Ringwald” edition Cabriolet, but thankfully this example has an more fun to drive manual:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Volkswagen Cabriolet on eBay

1985 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Wagon

My love for obscure cars dictates my leaning towards one of my favorite Volkswagens of all time: the Quantum Syncro Wagon. Known as the Passat, Santana, Corsar and Carat in other markets, the Quantum was the choice for someone seeking German engineering in a mid-sized package on a budget. Curiously, Volkswagen only offered Syncro four-wheel drive in the Quantum Wagon, as it was the bigger seller. This car shared its drivetrain with the Audi 80 and required a completely new floorpan which relocated the gas tank and deleted the spare tire well. Mated exclusively to the 2.2 liter inline-5 engine, this was a very versatile machine popular with those in the snow belt.

Few of these Quantum Syncro Wagons survive in good condition, but they have a rabid following of enthusiasts. Rarely do you see a pre-facelift Quantum Syncro Wagon but here is one for sale in Seattle. A few items need doing but nothing too terrible to put off those handy with a wrench.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Wagon on Craigslist Seattle

1975 Volkswagen Rabbit Swallowtail

By the time the late 1960s rolled around, Volkswagen saw the writing on the wall when it came to the Beetle. It was time to plan for its replacement. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Golf (or Rabbit as it came to be known in the US), was one of the first mass produced front engined, front-wheel drive, transverse engined compacts to gain success after the introduction of the trailblazing Mini in 1959. In 1978, Volkswagen began to produce this compact hatchback in the US at the Westmoreland, Pennsylvania manufacturing plant under the Rabbit badge. But before the domestic Rabbits began to roll off the line, the very first Rabbits to appear in the US were distinguished by their curious rear bodywork, with a drooping panel line around the rear tail lamps. These early Rabbits became known as the “swallowtail.”

It’s rare to come across these early Rabbits, but this 1975 model for sale in Florida is one of the earliest we’ve featured here on GCFSB, with a build date of December 1974. For the purist, this is certainly a chance to snag what has to be one the earliest, most well preserved Rabbits on US shores.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 Volkswagen Rabbit on eBay

1998 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6

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Back when I had my Mk3 GTI 2.0, I longed for the day I could afford a VR6. Even though the added horsepower coupled with front-wheel drive generally goes against my motoring tendencies, I think it is safe to say this narrow angle V6 was one of the best powerplants of the last couple decades, ranking up there with BMW’s inline-6 and Audi’s 4.2 liter V8. The VR6 ended up in a lot of different VAG products and still does duty in some models in various forms to this day. One of the lesser seen VR6 engined VWs you see these days is the Mk3 Jetta GLX VR6. Offering similar thrills to the GTI but with added practicality, this was a formidable competitor in its class. Like the Mk3 Golfs and GTIs, it’s near impossible to find good examples of the Mk3 Jetta, no matter what engine it’s packing. This GLX VR6 for sale in Philadelphia is a little rough around the edges but has the all-important 5-speed manual gearbox and is generally nicer than any others I’ve seen on the market as of late.

Click for more details: 1998 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6 on eBay

1977 Volkswagen Scirocco

In lieu of the normal “Tuner Tuesday” posts, today I decided to write up two home-brew specials in the likeness of many tuners. We started with the 1968 BMW 1600 S14 swap, a rare to see model with some really great looking and fun-increasing modifications. But I think the cake might go to this afternoon’s Christmas Eve special, a 1977 Volkswagen Scirocco that has more period modifications than you’ll usually see – but manages to pull it off really well! That can’t always be said for 1980s-era modifications in general, as quite a few were in questionable taste. That’s part of what makes this Scirocco so special and neat to see, if seeing an old Scirocco wasn’t neat enough. We’ve gotten to see two this week, the all original and mint condition 1981 Scirocco and today’s tuned example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Volkswagen Scirocco on eBay

Sport Coupes for the People: 1987 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V & 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC

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Let’s face it: there’s a gap in the US lineup at Volkswagen. I’m looking at you, Scirocco. On a visit to Lisbon, Portugal earlier this year, I admired the white example I saw sitting in the showroom floor in a dealer in the middle of the city. Nevermind the neat little Up sitting right next to it. True, the Scirocco is not much more than a Golf with a fancy body, but some people want that extra style. Let’s look at the last two coupes that Volkswagen offered stateside, a late model Scirocco 16V and a Corrado SLC VR6.

Click for more details: 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V on eBay

Click for more details: 1993 Volkswagen Corrado SLC on eBay