1978 Volkswagen Dasher Hatchback

The Volkswagen Passat [née Quantum (née Dasher)] has always been a bit of the odd-man out in the Volkswagen lineup, but each successive generation has offered something special – even in the U.S.. As Paul wrote up last week, in the B7 you could get a TDi manual – something of an oddity in the marketplace last year, as automatic whirring hybrids have ruled the minds and pocketbooks of middle management for the last decade. The B6 had a fantastic hidden gem in the 3.6 4Motion; an unappreciated car in general but perhaps the car Audi should have built. The B5? It was the car that finally made the Passat successful in the U.S., and introduced the cool if too complicated W8 4motion package. The B3/4 had the you-can’t-kill-it-unless-it-rusts 1Z diesel and sonorous VR6 motors. The B2’s trump card over the Audi 4000 it closely resembled was the Syncro Wagon. And the B1? Well, if you wanted a 4-door Volkswagen hatchbach that was a bit more substantial than the Rabbit on offer, briefly your wish could come true:

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1979 Volkswagen Scirocco

While cars from the 1980s are really starting to stretch their legs, most cars from the 1970s seem to lay in a no-man’s land of value, minus of course Porsche 911s. There’s been some recent appreciation for the R107 but generally the cars that are heavily valued are the last of the run 560SLs from the late 1980s, so while that was a late 1960s design it’s not really a 1970s car at that point. Go through the ranks though – with a few exceptions, the 1970s equivalents are undervalued compared to their successors. W116s are cheaper than W126s, E12s and E21s are budget BMWs relative to clean E28 and E30 pricing, early 924s and 928s are close to being given away judged against the last of the run cars and Audi? Go find one from the 1970s. The one area where 1970s products currently outshine their replacements is on a limited scale, but at Volkswagen clean 1970s models tend to be valued more highly than those from the 1980s. It’s easy to see why in most cases; swallowtail Rabbits are just plain prettier than the later Westmoreland cars, the Bus, Thing and Campervan models captured the last of the 1960s spirit and are so ugly they’re cute, and then there’s the Scirocco. Modest underpinnings it might have had, but in one of the most brilliant strokes of design from Giugiaro the lines are pure magic:

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1977 Volkswagen Scirocco

One of the joys I’ve experienced in fatherhood has been to share some of my prized toys with my son. Watching him play with my treasures again fills me with nostalgia and, occasionally, curiosity. Last night, for example, he charged about the house with two Hot Wheels trucks that I had as a child. Now, I didn’t have the most extensive collection of toys when I was a boy, but I did have some really neat pieces. Two of them were these steerable trucks; a cab-over Peterbuilt and a more traditional Ford tractor that for some reason had flames and “Hot Sauce” decals on it. I don’t remember applying those, but more importantly somewhere in the past 30 years the steering trailers just went missing. I never thought about it much until yesterday, when I saw my son excitedly playing with them. I mentioned to him that they used to have trailers, but I was unsure about where they were. Inquisitive as most four year olds are, he simply asked “Can’t you get a new one?”. Huh. I hadn’t considered that. But in the age of the internet and eBay off I went. It didn’t take too much research to find out they were from the “Truck Co” series from Hot Wheels. It took even less time to figure out they were fairly rare. But on eBay, sure enough, there were not only used examples that matched mine, but brand new ones in package with the steering trailers. COOL! Then I looked at the “Buy It Now”. WHAT?!?! I exclaimed as I could barely believe my eyes. $250. That was the price – for one. Even used examples of just the cabs were asking $30-50, and the harder to find trailers trade above $100 used. Is this what recreating your childhood costs now? But, the thing is, you can’t go down to your local hobby or toy store and buy a brand new 1985 Hot Wheels car or truck. And you certainly can’t go down to your local Volkswagen dealer and buy anything near as cool as this 1977 Scirocco:

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1981 Volkswagen Scirocco

Spotting of any first generation Scirocco is cause for celebration these days. Styled by the legendary Giugiaro, the front drive, watercooled sport coupe brought Volkswagen into a new market, ostensibly replacing the Karmann Ghia. While underneath the slinky 2-door body was relatively pedestrian underpinnings of the Mk.1 Golf/Rabbit, the styling of the Italian giant brought a level of prestige to the budget economy range. Some 42 years after it originally launched, the short and squat Scirocco still looks unique and different, a perfect combination of curves and angles that makes me smile every time one crosses my path:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Volkswagen Scirocco on Seattle Craigslist

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Feature Listing: 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Wagon

Long before “Dieselgate” and the unceremonious admission of Volkswagen about cheating on emissions testing, Volkswagen struggled with the image of diesel. The problem wasn’t as much air pollution – there was plenty of that – but it was that diesels were noisy and slow. How slow? Well, consider today’s 1980 Dasher Diesel Wagon, whose 1.5 inline-4 mill produced a twig-snapping 48 horsepower. Despite the relative light weight at only 2,500 lbs, the Dasher Diesel literally and figuratively lacked spark as it’s near 20-second 0-60 time proved. As gas prices fell and fuel injected gasoline engines became ever more efficient (and powerful), the gap between the fuel mileage to the diesels narrowed as the perceived benefit gulf of purchasing petrol widened. However, nearly 30 years before the introduction of the “Sport Wagon” TDi, you can still see the spiritual basis for Volkswagen’s popular 5-door diesel configuration.

The other day, a gentleman pulled up to me right after I parked my Passat. He rolled down the window and asked if I liked the car, then mentioned that it was lovely. I thanked him and said that I loved the car. Sure, even over a decade on B5.5 generation Passat Variants are a dime a dozen around the streets of New England. But while the B5.5 was by far the most popular choice for German wagons in the early 2000s, it wouldn’t be possible without the B1. Styled by Giugiaro, the new chassis completely redefined the platform for Volkswagen. It was followed by the niche but popular B2 (Quantum in the U.S.), then the odd-yet-cool B3, the more traditional B4 and finally the popular B5/5.5 chassis. With some sadness, the B6 would be the last wagon form of the Passat for U.S. customers, but it went out with a bang – being offered in 3.6 VR6 with 4Motion all-wheel drive. It was about as far from the original B1 as you could get, but the mission of each was the same and they were representative of their times. “We think you’ll agree Dasher is setting new standards for roomy wagons, with elegant appointments and fittings” touted the 1980 brochure, and it’s hard to argue that for some time the Passat was the best value not only in German wagons, but perhaps in family vehicles in total. While they were loved by their respective owner pools, they were also used, and each subsequent generation is steadily becoming more infrequent to see. B5s have already started to disappear while B4s rust away. B3s are downright rare, but not nearly as much as clean B2s. But a clean B1? I’d bet you could count the number of examples in this condition remaining on one hand:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Wagon on Cleveland Craigslist

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1986 Audi Coupe GT Commemorative Edition

I know, I know – another Audi B2 post. But hey, we hear about every single variant of 911 all the time too, and since I love the GTs I think they deserve to be showcased. There weren’t many special editions of the GT produced, but in 1986 Audi made an entire run of “Commemorative Design” cars. The 4000CS, 4000CS quattro, Coupe GT and 5000 models all got special upgrades and each were slightly different. The closest were the 4000 quattro and Coupe GT, which shared paint colors and interiors. The exteriors were either Graphite Metallic or Alpine White, but inside they shared the same lipstick red “Mouton” leather. While the quattro got the slightly uprated JT code 115 horsepower inline-5, the GT relied on the “KX” code motor with 110 ponies. The difference lay in the exhaust manifold; the GT unit was a 5-1 cast manifold, while the quattro had a beefier 5-3-1 exit, along with a larger diameter exhaust. However, the lighter GT was quicker than the all wheel drive variant; and thanks to the nature of the GT versus the quattro market, more of the special 1986 models have survived. The ’86 CE models also received the notorious digital dash, and if you selected Alpine White, they had color matched wheels, mirrors and rear spoiler. The color combination really makes the sharp Giugiaro lines stand out:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi Coupe GT Commemorative Edition on Seattle Craigslist

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1981 BMW M1

One of [whatever]. We hear it quite often here at GCFSB, but we’ve also come across some quite rare machinery in our years of being involved with this site. When I saw this Polaris Silver M1 for sale in Germany, I found it hard to believe that it was one of only three manufactured in this color. Silver is such a common color, especially on our favorite German vehicles. Sure enough, however, they didn’t produce many in this hue. With under 500 built, the M1 was one of the rarest BMWs produced. This car was just the beginning in what would be a long line of high performance machines to wear the Motorsports badge, which would wind up on the posterior of everything from roadsters to Tourings.

Click for details: 1981 BMW M1 on Classic Driver

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1980 Volkswagen Scirocco S

$_57 (6)

I’ve always been massively attracted to the original Scirocco. The Giugiaro design is late-70s simplistic beauty at its best, an aesthetic almost entirely lost these days (although pleasantly approximated by the new Lamborghini Huracan). This well-modified 1980 example keeps it simple with black-centered 3-piece BBS wheels and a minimal rear spoiler. Not a line out of place, and the excellence continues inside with beautiful plaid seat inserts. This is not all show, however, as the attention to greatness includes any VW fan’s laundry list of Mk1 improvements. Yes, I love GTIs, GLIs, and Rabbit Pickups, but Sciroccos like this are the Mk1s I lust after.

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Tuner Tuesday: 1983 Volkswagen Golf Oettinger

Which came first; the Mk.1 or the modified Mk.1? Of course it’s a rhetorical question, but it points to the popularity of the first water-cooled Volkswagens. Affordable, practical and plentiful, the aftermarket community thrived on providing all sorts of options to modify your Golf/Rabbit to all sorts of levels. With everything from body kits to performance modifications and interiors, there was seemingly no end to the possible permutations of combinations of parts to make your mass-produced hot hatch a bit hotter and different from everyone else. But weed through the plethora of upstarts, and perhaps the most respected name in the Mk.1 community is Oettinger. Though somewhat out of vogue today, we should not forget that Oettinger pioneered the twin cam, 16 valve engine for Volkswagen – in production as early as 1980, a full 7 model years before Volkswagen’s own 16V would enter service. They competed in motorsport as well, developing rally engines and everything from turbocharged diesels to a full 2 liter 16V motor developing 170 horsepower in 1984; Oettinger-equipped Golfs were quick enough to accelerate on par with production Porsche 928s of the period. Today, their legendary status in the Mk.1 community means that fully built, period models demand a premium even if they’re rare to come by:

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1987 Volkswagen Scirocco GTX 16V

If you haven’t watched the Petrolicious segment highlighting Road & Track Senior Editor Jason Cammisa’s Volkswagen Scirocco, it’s worth a watch. In this short clip, he discusses how after driving some of the most high-dollar, powerful vehicles on the market currently, he years to step back into his Scirocco for pure driving pleasure. One point Cammisa touched on was the issue of steering feel in the Scirocco and how that kind of experience is lacking in new cars. I couldn’t have agreed more. Thankfully, we can always look back to the modern classics, such as this 1987 Scirocco GTX 16V for sale in The Netherlands. With just under 30,000 miles on the clock, it’s tempting to consider importing this VW and turning back time.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Volkswagen Scirocco GTX 16V on Mobile.de

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