Continuing on my all-wheel ‘driveatribe’, I’d be remiss to not discuss BMW’s take on moving power around to all four wheels. While BMW wouldn’t launch the U.S.-spec iX until 1988, Europeans were introduced to the concept in 1986 – the same year as the Golf syncro. Unlike Audi’s quattro system which utilized a rearward driveshaft tacked on to a front-wheel drive transmission output shaft, BMW mated a transfer case and two viscous couplings, which effectively were front and rear limited-slips. This was very different from Audi’s contemporaneous system, which relied on the driver to lock the rear and center differentials that were otherwise open. The 325iX was able to be mated to an automatic transmission long before Audi would do so in the small chassis. BMW’s system was also more rearward biased, with 67% of the power being sent to the back wheels. While still more prone to understeer than a standard 325i, it was less so than the Audi.
Compared to other E30 models, the 325iX was a slow seller – BMW moved just 6,346 over the four production years between 1988 and 1991, putting these on just about equal footing with the M3 in terms of rarity. But two factors make finding clean ixs even harder; where they were used, and how they were used both result in rust being a big concern and it’s hard to find low-mileage examples. But while the odometer reading is stratospheric on today’s first-year ’88 2-door, it’s undergone a never-seen full restoration to return it to unbelievable condition. Also unbelievable? The price…
In the early 1970s, a major change swept through Volkswagen. For some time, Volkswagen attempted to create unique ways to fit more people into a Beetle. The Type 3 abandoned the Beetle’s 2-door, fixed sloping roof profile for a (slightly) more conventional sedan, fastback and even variant wagon platform. That developed ultimately into the Type 4; the 411 and 412 again further moved VW “mainstream” with their Pininfarina bodies and more practical 4-door layouts.
Still, the writing was on the wall. Corporate partner Audi’s launch of the B1 chassis 80 model complete revolutionized both marque’s lineups over the next decade as rear-engine, air-cooled products were phased out and steadily replaced by new front-drive, water-cooled efficient and cheap to manufacture designs. The Audi 80’s design was refined by Giugiaro, so VW turned again to him to work his magic on the 412’s replacement.
What emerged after brief flirtation with the NSU-based K70 was the Passat. Unlike the traditional sedan that Audi got with the 80, the B1 Passat featured a dramatically sloping rear hatchback which picked up styling cues from both the Type 3 and Type 4, but of course was much more angular. Volkswagen offered three configurations for the first Passat; 3- and 5-door hatchbacks, and a 5-door variant wagon. These were introduced before the A1 Golf debuted in the U.S., and like the Golf, the Passat was given a North America specific name – the Dasher:
Let’s get this right out of the way – the first generation Audi 100 isn’t the most popular Audi ever built. It’s not even in the top ten most popular Audis. In fact, the Audi 100 is one of the cars that helped solidify the general automotive public’s belief that Audis were rusty, unreliable and unnecessarily complicated cars that you should stay away from at all costs. So what is a 1976 Audi doing on these pages, especially if it needs a restoration? Should it die the death everyone believe it should? We here at GCFSB say a resounding “No!” Why? Well, for the simple reason that too many of these 100s have already passed into the automotive underworld, leaving precious few in serviceable condition. And they’re not the worst cars ever made; sure, they’re not as iconic as the Quattro, but the 100 was a pleasant looking sedan that rode beautiful, was quite and composed. As effectively an entry into a new market for Audi, it was an impressive design. Last year, I looked at a restored 1972 100 LS that was asking well over top dollar; but this car is the more rare 2-door variant in need of a restoration:
My first introduction to the Mk1 Jetta came from a Canadian Olympian I rowed with in college. His 1984 Jetta was clean and white (save for large red Maple leafs on the sides and later “84”s) and reminded me of my Rabbit Pickup. It was so little he could squeeze it between the bollards on campus and gain access to areas usually restricted to golf carts and bikes. Mayhem ensued. If I’d been in the market, I would have snatched it from him when he sold it at the end of college.
From the looks of it, today’s Jetta has seen no such mayhem, as it has covered just 100k miles in almost 30 years. Thanks to the love and care of the seller and original owner, we get a glimpse at what the 1983 Volkswagen Dealership floor looked like. Line up a GTI, Scirocco, Vanagon, and this, and I’d say you’re kicking 2012 Volkswagen’s ass. There aren’t many more details than the mileage, but if you’re into Mk1 Jettas or Jetta Coupes (shamefully only available in Mk1 and 2 models), it doesn’t get any better than this.
1983 Volkswagen Jetta Wolfsburg for sale on eBay
Brevity is the soul of wit, supposedly:
I am the original owner of this car. Jetta has 100K miles and all original equipment. Never been in an accident. Paint is in excellent shape (garaged); metallic black. Would love to see this car go to a Jetta collector. From most accounts, this is a very rare car; 2 door, stick shift, with Wolfsberg interior, gauges on floor, etc.
I love it. It’s weird, it’s rare, it’s exceptionally clean but completely unmolested. And I can’t lie, I’m a sucker for vinyl spoilers. 11 bids have it at $2k, and in sympathy for the seller’s extreme care and probable distress at selling a deceptively rare car he’s loved for 30 years, I hope it can fetch at least twice that. Let’s hope a good VW enthusiast gets ahold of it.