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:

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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the seat of the pants kick and thrill that was the hallmark of the original and 16V GTI – and even the Mk.3 VR6 – had been replaced by a stout highway cruiser.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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1986 Volkswagen GTI

In early 1986, three models of the Golf were available in the US; the basic, no-frills Westmoreland model, the upgraded ‘Wolfsburg’ model with aero headlights, an upgraded stereo, wider body moldings, nicer cloth, and wheel trim rings, or you had to make the not unsubstantial jump in price to the GTI model. Replacing the basic 85 horsepower 1.8 was a high-compression HT 100 horsepower unit. It didn’t sound like a lot, but that did represent a roughly 20% gain in power. Signature red-striped trim announced that this was the performance variant of the hatchback, and you also got 4-wheel discs as a first in the U.S. range. Those brakes hid behind carry-over “Avus” (Snowflake) wheels, though instead of the machine/dark gray finish the A1 had, they were now all silver and with “Volkswagen” imprinted on flush covers. Sometimes GTIs were equipped with “Montreal” (Bottlecap) alloys which were also shared with the Jetta GLI. Application seems somewhat indiscriminate. The GTI also had an upgraded suspension with front and rear sway bars and a close-ratio 5-speed manual as the only transmission. Of course, the interior was also upgraded with a leather-wrapped steering wheel borrowed from earlier GTIs, a multi-function display and specially-trimmed cloth sport seats.

In all, it was a substantial upgrade over the standard Golf, and you could of course further opt to include a sunroof, air conditioning, power steering, and a nice radio. Early U.S. Mk.2 GTIs were only available in Mars Red, Diamond Silver Metallic, black, or Alpine White as seen here. Today’s example has a few mods but stays true to the simple formula:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Volkswagen GTI on eBay

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2003 Volkswagen Beetle GLS Turbo

Did I say I wish that Beetle Pickup was a more fun color? Well here we go. In 2002 Volkswagen launched the Color Concept editions of the New Beetle, which allowed specification of the funky Golf-based retromobile in several unique shades. Options included Snap Orange, Double Yellow, Blue Lagoon, Red, and or today’s example of Cyber Green, and you got not only the exterior shade but color-matched wheel accents and interior upholstery as well. Under the frunk hood was the 1.8T, and here it’s linked to a four-speed automatic. But we get one of the more fun shades to consider, so let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Volkswagen Beetle GLS Turbo on eBay

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2006 Volkswagen Beetle Smyth Pickup

Okay, the last converted Pickup was a bit of a letdown in everything but concept:

2002 Volkswagen Jetta Smyth Pickup

Well, as luck would have it, another popped up. This one is based on the much curvier Beetle, and as you’d probably guess (or can see) the results are as retro-inspired as the New Beetle was. So let’s check out the execution of this kit and what it’ll set you back today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Volkswagen Beetle Smyth Pickup on eBay

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2002 Volkswagen Jetta Smyth Pickup

Although I’ve espoused my love of wagons and their do-everything nature, the reality is that I live in the suburbs and there are certainly some times (read: pretty often, actually) that I could use a pickup truck. But, if I’m completely honest, I’ve previously owned a big Chevrolet 2500HD pickup and I’m still not convinced that I’m a pickup kind of guy. Worse still, have you priced a pickup out lately? HOLY MACKEREL. A base Silverado starts at almost $30,000 and if you want things like…seats, and/or wheels, you’ll quickly need more than $40,000. When I see $40,000 asks on a pickup which a) I know will be rusting in 5 years no matter what I do and b) because it’s a GM, will almost certainly break, I get pretty annoyed. Worse still, the “Heartbeat of America” isn’t built in America. I know. I live right by the port where they all come in on a boat. Beside the steady stream of Fiats, Volkswagens, Porsches and Alfa Romeos, there’s a long line of Chevrolet and GMC pickups being driven into the United States for the first time.

So how about a pickup that’s a bit more my speed? Built in America with tons of European flare by utilizing recycled Audi/Volkswagen products, there’s always the Smyth Pickup:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Volkswagen Jetta Smyth Pickup on eBay

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1989 Volkswagen Fox GL Wagon

The Volkswagen Fox is a model which is almost entirely overlooked by us. It’s not because we don’t like the concept of the entry-level Volkswagen brought to the U.S. from Brazil, but the budget pricing coupled with legendary 1980s Volkswagen reliability and build quality (cough cough) hasn’t exactly left a plethora of examples of these small VWs left to contemplate. The Fox was offered in three configurations – two door coupe, four door sedan and two door wagon. Without a doubt, it was the wagon which gets the most enthusiast attention these days. In profile, it looks a bit like a B2 Audi if they had made a wagon, and indeed pop the hood and you’ll see the same longitudinal configuration. Some parts are even interchangeable with the B2 Audis, like the steering rack. But more of this car was shared with the Golf than any Audi product, and though the Fox resurrected the Audi B1 nameplate here the two shared only a passing resemblance. Infrequently seen, these little wagons are neat cars that march to the beat of slightly different Brazilian drummers:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen Fox GL Wagon on eBay

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2007 Volkswagen GTI Fahrenheit Edition

So we just looked at the Fahrenheit Edition appearance package on the Jetta, and by an interesting coincidence a GTI popped up. The package was more or less the same between the two cars, though the GTI was Magma Orange instead of Imola Yellow. Otherwise, you got the same wheels, interior package, and performance. Similar to the Jetta, this particular car is claimed to have lived with one owner from new, and it’s racked up a lot of use – even more miles than were on the last example. But this one is a lot cleaner, has a bunch of recent maintenance, and (for better or worse) is fitted with the DSG gearbox. What does that do to price?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Volkswagen GTI Fahrenheit Edition on eBay

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2016 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

A few years before TDI-gate broke, Volkswagen did something that seemed to me to be quite strange. The MQB-based Jetta had launched in 2011 and carried over the then-popular turbodiesel. With a boatload of torque, the TDI was reasonably sporty to drive, returned around 40 mpg on the highway, would clip to 60 in about 8 seconds, and had a base price of about $24,000 in 2013. But the same year, Volkswagen introduced a new hybrid version of the Jetta. This had a turbocharged and intercooled 1.4-liter inline-four mated with an electric motor and a 1.1-kWh battery for a combined output of 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. While the TDI could be had in six-speed manual form, the hybrid only came in DSG 7-speed guise, and it was rated* at 48 mpg on the highway, would do 0-60 in 7.9 seconds, and had a base price $2k higher than the TDI.

So at first glance, the hybrid seemed to offer a reasonable return on investment; for only a small up front price, you got 20% better mileage right? Not so fast. In the real world, the TDI would return better mileage than the numbers suggested, while the hybrid returned worse….a lot worse. Real world testing suggested that on the highway, the more slippery Jetta only got about 38 mpg. Considering the technology thrown at it, that was pretty horrible. After all, my twin-turbocharged inline-six 135i, which was not designed with fuel economy in mind at all, will return over 30 mpg on the highway at 70 plus mph. On top of that, the hybrid didn’t sound as sexy as the TDI did (strangely) to a lot of people, and, in hindsight and considering the buy-back credits, the TDI was a much better purchase. How about today?

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2007 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Fahrenheit Edition

Back in 2007, Volkswagen launched two special editions with the same name but different specification; the Fahrenheit Editions of the GTI and GLI. Effectively these were limited-edition appearance packages; 1200 each of the GTI finished in Magma Orange and the GLI finished in Imola Yellow. Both got 18″ Charleston wheels, a numbered steering wheel with contrasting stitching, upgraded audio, the Premium Package, dual-zone climate control, a sunroof, and leather interior with heated front seats – otherwise, these were stock 2.0Ts with your choice of the DSG gearbox or the six-speed manual. They weren’t exactly cheap when new – you’d have to plunk down nearly $30,000 to get into one, at which point you were about $3,000 shy of a BMW 328i. Still, with only 2,400 imported, they’re somewhat rare to see, and this one has been owned by the seller since it was just 10,000 miles old. The thing is, that doesn’t mean it’s a keeper.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Fahrenheit Edition on eBay

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