4WD Week: 1990 Volkswagen Passat GT Syncro G60 Variant

We’ve gone on at length about the wonderful German cars we haven’t gotten to experience here in the U.S., and the 4WD Theme Week offers us a chance to expose even more gems that were not imported. For various reasons including low overall sales number and a fear of cannibalizing Audi’s already small all-wheel drive market share in the early 1990s, Volkswagen chose not to import many of their Syncro cars. True, we did get the Audi 80/4000 based Quantum, but the third generation Passat introduced the first non-Audi based floorpan for the larger Volkswagen. What it was based on instead was the Golf, meaning that it could use a lightly modified version of the Golf’s Syncro system and engine choices. Hence, while the American market did get the great 2.0 16V in the front-wheel drive Passat, Europe and Canada got the more potent, tunable and all-wheel drive supercharged Passat G60 Syncro. They were expensive and rare cars when new, but can be found from time to time. Today there is a decent looking one on Ebay.de:

Year: 1990
Model: Passat GT Syncro Variant
Engine: 1.8 liter supercharged inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 220,000 km (136,702 mi)
Price: No Reserve Auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Passat GT Syncro G60 Variant on eBay.de

Passat GT G60 Syncro ( 35i )

EZ 06.09.1990

Top notch runner until 02.01.2008 due to Audi quattro purchase . 240km/hr speedometer was not an issue here . G-Lader updated. Larger Pulley installed , chip tuning . Thereafter, about 8,000 km covered.
Boost gauge installed cleanly. Oil cooler installed . Trailer hitch. Original aluminum wheels with 205 ‘s and of course, all-wheel – drive !

Total mileage 220,000 km .

After taking it off the road I began rewiring for sound system – cables are already installed but sill panels etc. still need to be built back . Parts for all available.
Driver’s seat has minor damage. Floor should be cleaned. I have not discovered rust.
Unfortunately , according to the extended length of time , the starter froze, ie currently does not start.
The car is quite smart , but needs an expert hand.

Inspections in 32361 Pr.Oldendorf welcome!

Admittedly, this isn’t the nicest Passat G60 Syncro I’ve ever seen; but they’re rare cars and this one is reasonably clean outside – which is the most important part. The combination of Passat, all-wheel drive, supercharger and wagon isn’t everyone’s favorite, but I really like the grill-less early B3 cars; they’re a clean and sharp looking design. Some work will be needed to get this one back into shape. Unfortunately, that may not come; the Passat isn’t highly sought after and remains a bit of a novelty compared to the more desirable Golf models. Further, VWs of this era weren’t known for their stellar reliability, construction or great materials – and the early Syncro systems in the Golf and Passat weren’t particularly good all-wheel drive systems. Still, it’s a neat car to see and a small reminder of the many cars we never received here in the U.S. Hopefully, someone will resurrect this car to it’s former glory!

-Carter

1991 Volkswagen Golf G60

The GTI has always been the performance oriented Golf, but there’s been a few über Golfs that have graced the lineup throughout the years. Many VW fanatics are familiar with the MkII Rallye Golf. This was an all-wheel drive homologation special with box fenders and was powered by the 1.8 liter, supercharged G60 four cylinder engine. Built in Belgium, these special Golfs cost almost twice as much as a base GTI. Since then, we’ve seen a few more all-wheel drive Golfs, including the current Golf R. While the Rallye Golf was being sold, there was a cheaper, more tame option: the Golf G60.

The Golf G60 was another pumped up Golf that wasn’t available to US customers and featured the G60 engine in front-drive form. These lesser known Golfs are not too common, as they were launched in 1990 and were marketed for only about a year and a half. This particular G60 is on offer not too far from London and will be legal for importation to the US in a little over two years.

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Year: 1991
Model: Golf G60
Engine: 1.8 liter supercharged inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 135,403 km (84,135 mi)
Price: £10,995 (~ $16,769 USD)

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen Golf G60 on 4StarClassics

MODEL HISTORY
The VW Golf Mk2 succeeded the Mk1 from 1983 and remained in production until late 1992. Volkswagen reportedly spent £500 million developing the Mk2. The car slightly grew in wheelbase, exterior and interior dimensions over its predecessor but still retained the overall look of the MK1 albeit slightly more rounder so to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag. During the life of the Mk2 there were a variety of updates and revisions to styling and trim, the most notable was the introduction of the ‘big bumpers’ introduced in the European market during the August 1989 facelift.

The success of the Mk1 GTi was continued with the sporty Mk2 GTi and to capitalise on the world wide success of the MK1 GTi. Volkswagen chose to release the Mk2 GTi in the same year as the rest of the fleet. The Mk2 featured a 1.8litre 8v engine but also a second engine choice, a slightly more powerful 16v variant followed shortly, the 8v displaying good low down torque and driveability while the 16v enjoyed high revs and more top end power. During its midlife update the 8v unit benefited from the introduction of a Digifant engine management system.

Popularity of the MK2 grew from the 1987 commercial “changes” in which Paula Hamilton bearing a close resemblance to Diana, Princess of Wales is seen leaving her husband, posting her wedding ring back through the letterbox, ditching her mink coat, throwing the house keys at the cat and dumping the pearl necklace BUT keeping the car keys – the tag line ‘If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen’. The commercial was a hit and changed the way cars were advertised from then on.

In 1990 the Golf GTi G60 was introduced featuring the 8v 1.8 with a Supercharger, wider wheel extensions, BBS alloy wheels, tinted rear lights and clear front indicators. The engine delivers 160bhp and a very impressive 166ft lb of torque.

EQUIPMENT
Supercharged, Wide G60 arch extensions, 15″ Lenso alloy wheels, Smoked rear lights, Brilliant black (LA9V) paint, Central locking, Full black leather (PL7) interior, Trip computer, Sunroof, Alpine head-unit.

EXTERIOR
This rare and desirable G60 is finished in sparkling (LA9V) brilliant black and is in excellent shape with no dents, scratches or signs of corrosion. The only negatives to the paint being a couple of minor stone chips to the front. All of the plastic trim and body kit are in good order with no signs of fading or damage and the factory Hella lights on the front are free from chips or cracks as is the windscreen and other glass. The original VW sticker is still inside the boot confirming the specification and that it’s an original G60.

INTERIOR
A rare option on the G60’s is the (PL7) leather option which really improves the look and feel of the interior and sets it apart from the standard Mk2s. The leather remains in excellent order with only the smallest amount of wear to the drivers bolster and some discolouration and marks on the steering wheel. The door cars are also very nicely trimmed and show no signs of wear. The boot area is perfectly clean and the space saver wheel and tool kit are neatly stored under the boot carpet.

ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The car comes with an excellent history showing plenty of maintenance work and light regular use. The engine benefits from some mild modifications to improve drivability, these include a stage 3 supercharger, 68mm pulley and performance a performance tune. The engine runs very well and makes a fantastic noise as the supercharger winds up. The cambelt service was done less than 3k miles ago in 2010.

WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The alloys are all in excellent condition with no signs of corrosion or curb marks and are shod in a matching set of Yokohama tyres. The brakes and suspension are all in fine order and the car recently benefited from some new front discs, pads and shocks. Since arriving at 4 Star it has also had a brake fluid service.

HISTORY FILE
The car was first registered in Germany in May 1991 and was then imported to the UK in 2004. The history file contains a certificate from VW confirming its originality along with lots of German history and the import certificate. Since being in the UK all the history has been kept which includes parts and service invoices, all the old MOT certificates and tax disks. The last service was done in 2011 at 81,670 miles. The car also comes with the original VW sales brochure and 3 keys. The mileage is 135,403 KM with equates to 84,135 miles.

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This dilemma some people may reach with the Golf G60 boils down to one word: Corrado. Why not buy Volkswagen’s sport coupe from the 1990s with it’s similar engine? Well, the Golf G60 is certainly an unorthodox choice for VW aficianados and you’ll be in more rarefied air than if you owned a Corrado. Then again, only the most astute VW fan will be able to spot one of these in a crowd. This particular seller always does an excellent job of photographing their stock. It makes these cars look showroom new. While the mileage is low for a MkII, the asking price is a lot more than anyone could reasonably consider spending, at least in the US. It’s hard to say what it would be worth once it’s legal stateside, but I would be willing to hazard a guess of somewhere around half of this asking price.

-Paul

1992 Volkswagen Polo G40

When discussing the 1987 GTI we featured on Tuesday, Brian made an excellent point. Ever since the Mk2 version, Volkswagen has been trying to recapture the magic of the original GTI. Somehow, every generation seems to come up a bit short in one way or the other. A big reason for this is the size. When you put a Mk1 and MkVI GTI side by side, the difference is enormous. So naturally, with an increase in mass, you would lose a bit of the nimbleness in the process.

For years, though, Europe has had an answer to the larger, successive generations of Golf GTIs with their Polo supermini. A B-segment sized hatchback, Volkswagen has offered a hot version of this car throughout the years, beginning with this particular model, the Polo G40. Never shy to test out new technologies on mainstream vehicles (see recent Passat W8), the Polo G40 had a supercharged, 1.3 liter four cylinder engine, a 40mm version of the 60mm supercharged used in the Corrado G60. This provided this hot hatch with 115 horsepower and capable of the dash to 60 mph in just over eight seconds, modest by today’s standards, but still perfectly respectable.

With the first G40 being introduced in 1987, we might see a few of these trickle stateside eventually. This 1992 example has very low mileage and looks sharp in white with the black trim accents. A nice compliment to the white GTI Brian featured on Tuesday.

Year: 1992
Model: Polo G40
Engine: 1.3 liter supercharged inline four
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 43,780 mi
Price: £6,495 (~ $9,830 USD)

1992 Volkswagen Polo G40

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MODEL HISTORY
The Polo G40 Coupe first made an appearance at the 1985 Frankfurt Motor Show, named the Polo GT G40 and based on the established Mk2 Polo. This concept was subsequently built by Volkswagen in 1985 with three prototype cars that set a number of world endurance speed records, such as the 1.3 litre class records for speed over 24 hours, and speed over a distance of 3,107 miles. A couple of years passed and in 1987 with the records tucked under their belts Volkswagen produced a limited production number of just 500 Mk2 G40s in left hand drive that became available to customers in Europe. With such a limited run, these examples sold out almost immediately with many being purchased internally by Volkswagen employees.

The Mk2 G40 was never officially available in the UK and it wasn’t until the face lift version of the Mk2 (Mk3 in the UK) was introduced. There were only minor specification changes including clear front indicators, tinted rear lights along with a new radio/cassette unit. Various other options were available such as front fog lamps and a sunroof. Volkswagen produced only 500 right hand drive G40 models for the UK, therefore becoming a rare sight on British roads these days. Together with their exclusivity and easy tuning potential, the Polo G40 has become exceptionally popular with collectors and enthusiasts alike, rightly earning its place in hot hatch history.

It was the engine that made the car so special. Volkswagen decided to equip the 1.3 engine with a supercharger for its immediate power delivery, rather than a turbo charger and its associated issues of cooling and turbo lag. Referred to by Volkswagen as the ‘G-Lader’ after the shape of its spiral displacer, the 1.3 G40 supercharged engine produced a maximum power output of 115 bhp at 6,000 rpm, and generated 109 lb ft of torque at 3,600 rpm. Performance figures now stood at an impressive 8.1 seconds (0-62mph) and a maximum top speed of 121 mph. With the increase in engine performance Volkswagen also equipped an uprated braking system that included 20mm ventilated front disc brakes, with ATE single-piston sliding calipers.

EQUIPMENT
Supercharger, Sunroof, Rear seat belts, CD player, Alloy wheels

EXTERIOR
This rare G40 is finished in Alpine white which makes for a great contrast with the black plastic wheel arch extensions and deep bumpers. After two days in our detailing studio the paintwork presents very well with a nice glossy shine. There are a couple of minor marks and imperfections consistent with the cars low mileage but nothing that detracts from the overall appearance. All of the plastic trim has held its colour and is free from scuffs or scratches. The glass and light lenses are all clean and free from chips or cracks.

INTERIOR
The interior of the G40 is first rate, the seats are very supportive and the driving position excellent as everything falls easily to hand. The seats show no wear to the fabric and there are no creases or sagging on the bolsters, the door trims are also well finished in matching fabric. None of the controls show any wear or damage and everything works as it should. The black carpets are unmarked throughout, the boot area is very clean and the rear parcel shelf is free from any after-market speakers.

ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The car has been owned for the majority of its life by the same chap who was a qualified engineer, this has kept all the mechanics in first rate order and you can really appreciate the attention to detail when driving the car as it feels very tight and precise. Since arriving at 4 Star the car has been fully inspected and serviced and is now ready to be enjoyed on those twisting B-roads.

WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
This G40 has been fitted with a set of 14″ VW 5 spoke alloy wheels that are all in good condition bar a couple of minor curbing scuffs. The back tyres are about half worn and the fronts have been recently replaced and are showing minimal wear. The brakes are all in fine working order and pull the car up quickly in a straight line.

HISTORY FILE
This little G40 was first registered in August 1992 and stayed with its first owner for 2 years. It was then purchased by a Mr John Hawley, a keen car collector and engineer who kept the car in his garage for 19 years before passing it onto a friend of the family in 2011. Despite owning several other cars Mr Hawley kept the G40 in constant use clocking up a few thousand miles each year.

The car comes with lots of MOT certificates dating back to 1995 to fully verify the low mileage and quite a few of the old tax discs.

The asking price of nearly $10,000 USD is certainly eye watering for a sub Golf model, even if it is the hot version in mint condition. For most markets, right hand drive would be a detriment, but I’m guessing there are plenty of Volkswagen enthusiasts in the United Kingdom who would be interested in such a car, even if there are faster options out there for less money. I’d suspect maybe £1,000 to £2,000 off could be enough to entice the right buyer to take ownership.

-Paul