Okay, $22,000 is a lot for an old hot hatch, even if it’s the ‘original’. When I was perusing some cars to consider, I noticed that there was a point where Mk.2, 3, 4 and 5 prices were all pretty equivalent. In fact, you can just about buy all four of these cars shown below for the same price as that Kamei X1 GTI. It raises an interesting question; what generation is the one to get at this price point? Certainly a lot depends on priorities – if, for example, you really want a fun daily driver or you’re looking for more of a weekend warrior show car. But let’s look at this group and see which has potential:
Update 7/10/18: Now with a lower $9,000 no reserve opening bid, much better photos and a black leather interior, the neat Jasmin Yellow Corrado 24V VR6 has been relisted relisted here
Update 3/11/18: The seller of this unique Corrado has relisted it again on a no reserve auction, but now with a higher $12,500 starting price.
Update 11/1/17: I was taken to task for my critique of the pricing on this example. The builder and many of his avid fans chimed in to offer more history and background of the build and its thoroughness. Additionally, the seller was able to point toward the $10,000 recent sale of a similar 24V modified Corrado to justify his pricing. Itâ€™s a comp that I hadnâ€™t seen and certainly backs up his starting price argument. Thanks for the input to all our readership who know the seller and the build better than I did! -CJ
1992 was an interesting year of change at Volkswagen. At least for the next decade, it signaled the end of the hot water-cooled EA827-derived 4-cylinder models that had made it popular once again as a modern, efficient economy car that was capable of plenty of sport, too. 1992 was significant in this regard, because although the engine labored on for a bit, alongside the twin-cam, high-revving 16V GTI and GLI or the gutsy G60-supercharged Corrado came the new VR6 power unit. Displacing 2.8 liters, the new engine went without exotic forced-induction or peaky twin cams. Instead you just got low-end grunt and great noise, and 170-odd stampeding horses running across the front of your Volkswagen. In short order, the Passat, Jetta, GTI and even the EuroVan all moved to six cylinders.
1992 was even more notable because for the U.S. market it was the sole year where both the G60 and SLC VR6 were available together in the Corrado lineup. It was also unique because of the tones available; Corrados had been available previously in Nugget Yellow LK1B, but in 1992 it moved to Jasmin Yellow LK1D. It then promptly disappeared from the color catalog after few were ordered, making it one of the most infrequently seen tones on an already seldom seen car:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC on eBay
Iâ€™ve always been intrigued, and a little confused, by the Volkswagen Van. I first learned to drive on a neighborâ€™s T2, and I grew up in a period where vans were as cool as it got. Vans were ambulances. Vans were campers. And vans even carried the A-Team. Sure, the GMC Vandura wasnâ€™t a Countach, but to kids in the 1980s it had nearly as much impact, fool!
But itâ€™s not the appeal of these vans that I find confusing at all. The first thing I find hard to follow are the various trim levels. Especially when it came to the T3 and T4 models, things get a bit complicated. You could buy, for example, a Wolfsburg Edition Vanagon in the 1980s and early 90s. This was not to be confused with the Westfalia model, which was notable for having the pop-top. However, there was also a Weekender model, which sometimes had a pop-top but didnâ€™t have the camping accoutrements of the Westfalia. That these were further available in two- and four-wheel drive made things even more confusing, and then â€“ of course â€“ there was a Wolfsburg Weekender for a short period. I donâ€™t even know what came in that model. Well, I do, actually, but the point remains that it was confusing.
The switch to the T4 was pretty revolutionary. Gone was the antiquated rear-engine layout, and cylinder count went up to five as Audiâ€™s 2.3 liter motor was massaged into 2.5 liters with a short stroke for lots of torque in the new Eurovan. These came to the U.S. starting in 1993, and there were two configurations â€“ the Eurovan and the Multi-Van (MV for short). The difference was the seating configuration, in that the MV had rear-facing seats behind the captainâ€™s chairs and a table in the middle. Easy, right? Well, then there was the Westfalia model. Volkswagen hadnâ€™t forgotten how successful the T3 was with the pop-top, so a new aerodynamic folding roof arrangement was added to the MV. But here was the catch â€“ the new Westfalia didnâ€™t have the camping gear, but instead was effectively the same as the previous Weekender. It was called the Weekender, too. The full campers were only converted by Winnebago and based on a lengthened chassis. These started being produced in 1995 and replaced the Westfalia in the lineup but were not called Westfalias. Winnebago produced an extra-fat and extra-expensive camper, too â€“ the Rialta â€“ which was half VW and half short bus. The Westfalia, and the pop-top Weekender, disappeared for a few years.
The next big change in the lineup was one more cylinder for the 1997 model year, as the narrow-angle 2.8 liter twelve-valve VR6 replaced the inline-5. Power was up a bit (but only just at 138 horsepower) and was accompanied by a light restyle outside. Further changes came with the reintroduction of the MV Weekender in 1999 following the all-but-disappearance of the slow selling and ridiculously priced Winnebago, and finally, more power in 2001 with the 24-valve VR6. Despite upping power with dual cams, adjustable intake and double the valve count to net over 200 ponies (46% more power than the prior VR6!) Volkswagen also substantially cut the price â€“ nearly 20% â€“ of the T4, meaning the late models are probably the ones youâ€™re going to find since they sold in greater numbers. Out the door, a GLS model sold for about $26,500 â€“ nearly exactly the same sticker price as my Passat, but with much more space and utility. Move up to the MV, and you needed to pay about $3,000 more â€“ but you got the folding bed, curtains, removable seats and flip up table. Another $3,500 paid for the pop-top Westfalia model, which now included screens, dual batteries and a refrigerator in addition to the signature pup-tent roofline.
Now that Iâ€™ve hopefully helped you (and more likely me) to sort the lineup a bit, letâ€™s take a look at the second thing which confuses me in the VW Vans â€“ the pricing. Hereâ€™s one of the more desirable models in the T4 lineup â€“ a 24V VR6 MV Westfalia Weekender, and this one is no reserve:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Volkswagen Eurovan Westfalia Weekender on eBay
Did the high-mileage R32 from earlier get you wondering what you might do with the drivetrain? A little over three years ago, we took a look at a special early Rabbit. Dressed in Miami Blue and looking subtly upgraded with Corrado steel wheels and a lower ride height, what the exterior didnâ€™t give away was that lurking under the hood was a 2.8 liter 24V VR6 motor popped in. The swap looked well executed and generally clean outside of some loose wiring, and the builder hadnâ€™t gone over the top with a crazy interior â€“ instead, relying on the original items for a true sleeper status. With a few minor changes like a better executed intake, engine cover and some odds and ends, the car has reappeared with generally the same introduction â€“ but thatâ€™s okay with us, because the look is spot on! Itâ€™s also a no reserve auction, so weâ€™ll get to see where an honest yet seriously quick Rabbit gets you these days.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Volkswagen Rabbit VR6 24v Swap on eBay
The 1981 Mercedes-Benz 280S we featured on Wednesday got a fair amount of attention, mainly due to its unusual spec. Part of this boiled down to the fact it was equipped with a 4-speed manual gearbox. Thereâ€™s no telling how many W126 S-classes they made with a third pedal, but my guess would be less than 3% of the production run. The W124 E-class was initially offered in the US market with a 5-speed manual, but few buyers chose this gearbox which led Mercedes to swiftly remove it from the options list. This 300E for sale in Paderborn, Germany, is equipped with the 3.2 liter, 24 valve inline-6 hooked up to a 5-speed manual gearbox. Unlike the aforementioned 280S, this isnâ€™t a poverty spec model. This example has leather, burlwood trim, heated seats, rear sun blinds and other luxury touches that buyers in the US market came to expect from Mercedes. This 300E is also a 1990 model, making it eligible for importation stateside.