2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion Variant 6-Speed

There’s always been a fascination for me with the W8 Passat. Not only did Volkswagen take the B5 and B5.5 models upscale by offering the Audi-based chassis, but they pioneered the new engine configurations that would be the top-tier mills in the Passat. Truth told, the “W” configuration had been around for a few years before it finally entered into the mid-sized sedan and wagon. It was first floated in the Bugatti EB116 16/4, but really came into the minds of enthusiasts with the Volkswagen W12 Nardo concept. Now in appropriately named W12 configuration and powering all four wheels, the 600 horsepower mid-engined Volkswagen captured headlines with its 200 m.p.h. 24 hour run and Italdesign-penned Group C for the road looks. While the Nardo was the prototype for what would become the Veyron after some heavy revisions, the W12 would be an exotic engine only powering the most elite of the VAG range. However, Volkswagen also launched a smaller version of the engine for 2001 in the Passat. It was the first introduction to U.S. customers of the W configuration that would later appear in Bentleys, the D3 Audi A8L, and the Phaeton. There was something unique about the Passat’s package, though. First, you could option the mid-ranger in long-roof 5-door configuration. More importantly for enthusiasts, you could select a manual 6-speed, too. The combination of these items coupled with the stratospheric price tag of the model meant very few sold. But briefly, until the new S4 launched in 2004, this was the most powerful manual VAG product you could buy in the U.S.:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion Variant 6-Speed on eBay

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1993 Volkswagen Corrado SLC

When it launched in the late 1980s as a replacement to the ancient Scirocco, the Corrado was Volkswagen’s attempt to appeal to the Porsche crowd. With the supercharged G60 motor that may have been somewhat farcical, but when VW dropped the narrow-angle 2.8 liter VR6 into the nose of their 2-door Coupe it became more of a reality. Though on paper it didn’t have much more power, the VR6 was better suited to the design and weight of the Corrado. Zero to 60 plummeted nearly a second and top speed went up to a then-impressive 137 mph. But it was the all-around flexibility of the motor that proved the winner; torquey at low revs yet happy to head towards the redline, the Corrado finally fulfilled the promise of being a budget P-car.

Unfortunately, there was a price to pay. The base price for a Corrado in 1992 was nearly $22,000. Add a few options in and you were paying more than you did for a Porsche 924S four years earlier. To put it into even more stark perspective, the base price of a much quicker, nicer, more efficient, better cornering, better braking, more technologically impressive, and significantly safer GTI today is only $28,600 some 29 years later; correct for inflation, and you understand how expensive these hot hatches were. As a result, Corrados and especially the SLC have always held a cult status and higher residual value than the rest of the lineup. Today’s market loves them, as well.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Volkswagen Corrado SLC on eBay

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1963 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Type 34

The Type 34 Karmann Ghia was a sales failure – it was too expensive – costing about 50% more than a normal Type 14 Ghia. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t a very good looking failure. While the underpinnings were shared with its less exotic 1500 cousins, the upscale Karmann Ghia was aimed squarely at making peasants feel like landed gentry and certainly looked the part. Sweeping character lines ran the length of the car, giving it its signature ‘razor’ nickname. Added to the upscale look in terms of desirability today is rarity. Never imported to the United States, Type 34 production only achieved about 42,500 units – less than 10% of the total number of the more popular and familiar Type 14 Karmann Ghia. Today’s light green example is great to see:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1963 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Type 34 on eBay

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1990 Volkswagen Golf Rallye Tribute

Back in 2019, I took a look at a pretty wild Golf Rallye tribute for sale up in Canada:

1990 Volkswagen Rallye Golf Tribute

While it lacked the viscous coupling all-wheel drive setup and supercharged motor of the original, it was still a very clean build with a slick VR6 transplant. Well, it’s made it to the US and is back for sale – is it a better deal today?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Golf Rallye Tribute on eBay

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1989 Volkswagen Cabriolet Wolfsburg Edition

This car sold for $6,500.

In 1989, Volkswagen launched a series of six special Wolfsburg Edition cars. Probably the most famous of these is the Jetta GLI 16V, but there were special versions of the Fox, Vanagon, Golf GL, Jetta GL, and this car – the Cabriolet. Now, the 1989 Cabriolet Wolfsburg Edition is not to be confused with the earlier Wolfsburg Editions. For 1989, the special model was based on the ‘Bestseller’ trim. They were all finished in Star Blue Metallic with a dark blue top and equipped with 14″ ‘teardrop’ alloy wheels and striped seat upholstery that matched the GLI. They weren’t cheap, but they’re a pretty color combination that you don’t see every day:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen Cabriolet Wolfsburg Edition on eBay

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1969 Volkswagen 1600L

This one’s a bit of a strange duck. And if it doesn’t look familiar to you, don’t worry – it didn’t to me, either. What we’re looking at is a 1969 Volkswagen 1600L, which looks vaguely like the Notchback model offered here in the 1960s. Of course, I said vaguely…because we didn’t get a four-door variant, nor did this styling come here. So what is this wonder? Well, it comes from Brazil, of course, and it underneath a Type 3 just like the Notchback. But the Brazilian version was styled by Márcio Piancastelli, who is probably best known for the designs of the neat Brasilia model and the even neater SP2. The 1600, though, was not a huge design success for him. Nicknamed “Zé do Caixão” – ‘Coffin Joe’, the sedan version would go on to only be sold for three model years before it was discontinued. It was the basis for a larger estate version though, as well as the quite neat Karmann Ghia TC. So let’s take a look at this oddball:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1969 Volkswagen 1600L on eBay

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2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR R-Line

In late 1972, Volkswagen introduced a ‘performance’ version of the Beetle called the GSR. Unlike the Mitsubishi moniker that you may be more familiar with, GSR here stood for ‘Gelb Schwarzer Renner’ – or ‘yellow-black racer’, which is how they were delivered. Output from the 1.6-liter flat-four was a meager 50 horsepower, but the GSR did get styled steel wheels and sport seats.

Fast forward to 2014, and Volkswagen decided to reintroduce the GSR. The R-Line name meant that it was the turbocharged variant, so performance was quite a bit more impressive than the original. The GSR was equipped with a 210-horsepower FSI motor, sport suspension, 19″ wheels, leather upholstery, special trim, a rear spoiler, xenon headlights, a sunroof, and a few special trim pieces to help you stand out.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR R-Line on eBay

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1984 Volkswagen Saveiro S

Hey, remember yesterday’s Gol LS?

1983 Volkswagen Gol LS

I mentioned that they made a pickup version of the Gol as well, which Volkswagen do Brasil sold as the Saveiro. It effectively followed the same recipe as the Rabbit Pickup; chop the front off of the normal car and make a somewhat usable back end. In the case of the Saveiro, the result was even a bit more bizarre-looking than the Sportruck, but nevertheless it’s neat to see one – and it’s perhaps no surprise that the seller of the Gol is also shifting this one:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen Saveiro S on eBay

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1983 Volkswagen Gol LS

Looking a bit like an alternate universe version of the early 80s Honda Accord hatchback, the Gol model was Volkswagen do Brasil’s replacement for the Brasilia . Based on a mix of components borrowed from the Audi B1 and B2 models, it initially was quite different than the Fox variants we’d see here in the late 80s. That’s because up front was not a familiar water-cooled engine; the Gol instead received a 1.3-liter flat-four from the Beetle under the front hood. Sound crazy? It was a bit, but it worked, and it was cheap – so it sold pretty well. They also made several different versions, including a Caddy-like ‘pickup‘ – but today we’re looking at an ’83 hatchback that’s already been imported:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen Gol LS on eBay

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2002 Volkswagen GTI 337 Edition

This car sold for $7,000.

I have to admit that when I initially heard the details of the 337 Edition GTI, I was very excited. To me, it seemed like Volkswagen had finally gotten the message and brought us a modern interpretation of the car that I loved, the 1990-1992 GTI 2.0 16V. After a period of low performance 4-cylinder variants, the pokey 1.8T was now pumping out 180 horsepower and matching torque – finally, the car had the go to match the show. While the VR6 had continued into the fourth generation GTI, the accompanying weight, luxury items and electronic throttle meant that while horsepower numbers went up, the seat of the pants kick and thrill that was the hallmark of the original and 16V GTI – and even the Mk.3 VR6 – had been replaced by a stout highway cruiser. As if to answer critics and revisit the original formula, in 2001 Volkswagen introduced a stripped down, turned up version of the GTi called the 25th Anniversary edition, celebrating the original 1976 launch. For me, it was a return to form for the original hot hatch with some great updates. Unfortunately, it wasn’t heading to the U.S., because of course we didn’t receive the GTI until the 1983 model year. But U.S. fans were taken care of too when the nearly identical GTI 337 was launched. Outside, it got some awesome shot-peened BBS RC wheels that looked stunning compared to the rather bland wheel styles that had adorned the GTI since the BBS RMs on the 16V. Behind those wheels were beefed up brakes and red calipers, because red is of course faster (or, slower in that case?). It also sported a new body kit that highlighted the lower stance – hunkering the GTi down over those great wheels. After a period of hidden tailpipes, a polished exhaust tip emerged from the rear valance – a nice change for sure! Inside, special details like brushed trim, red-stitched shift boot and special “Golf Ball” knob for the 6-speed manual and some awesome Recaro seats greeted you. And to keep weight down, no sunroof was offered. This was a sporty car that went like it looked for a change! Limited to 1,500 examples, it was an instant hit and apparently a good bet for a future collectable:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Volkswagen GTI 337 Edition on eBay

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