Monday, March 14, 2011

1980 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel - Like New (Really)

The seller starts off his ad with the sentence "You are viewing what is likely the finest low mile museum quality Dasher diesel in existence." I'm willing to bet it's the only low mile museum quality Dasher diesel in existence. This car is absolutely amazing...

In most of the world this car was known as the Passat. For many years, and for reasons I never understood, VW renamed many of their cars for the North American market. The Passat became the Dasher (later the Quantum), the Golf was the Rabbit, etc.

Introduced in 1973, the Dasher (Passat) was, for all intents and purposes, a rebodied Audi 80 (Fox in the US). The body was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. When it was first sent to North America there was just one available engine, a 1.5 liter, carburetted, gasoline powered I4. (Replaced a few years later by a fuel injected 1.6.) In 1979 a 1.5 liter, 48 HP, diesel engined Dasher became available in North America.

The diesel version was not a huge sales success for VW in North America. We generally dislike diesels and especially dislike cars that take just a few tenths of second under 20 seconds to get to 60 MPH. Oddly though, for most of 1981 the only version of the Dasher VW sent to the US was a the diesel version.

Talking about the diesel's longevity and what fails on a Dasher is irrelevant when it comes to this car. This Dasher Diesel has just 9,500 miles. It's like new.

According to the seller, the car was purchased during the 70's energy crisis. The original buyer decided that he did not like driving a small car, so he put it in "climate controlled" storage. It remained there for 24 years, until the current owner bought it.

Just about everything on this car is original. The seller describes it as looking like a 6 month old car. It now sits on 4 new Bridgestone Turanza tires, but the seller still has (and is including in the sale) the original Continental whitewalls. (I don't know that I'd want to drive on them, but if someone was buying this car as a show car and would be trailering it, it would be cool to put them back on the car.) The exterior, the interior, everything about this car looks perfect.

There's only one thing I can find wrong with this car... It's a Dasher Diesel. If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I encourage anyone who buys a car to drive it regularly and not just bring it out for shows a few times a year. But this car, well, it has just 48 oil burning ponies under the hood. It's not going to be a lot of fun to drive. Given that, why risk ruining it's pristineness (is that a word?)? Buy it, preserve it and bring to to shows so we can all see or remember what a Dasher Diesel looked like in 1980.

Located in Nashville, TN, click here to see the eBay listing.

A big thanks to JaCG reader, Mike, for bringing this car to my attention.

4 comments:

pickles said...

Ain't for me but I LOVE seeing freaky timewarp cars like this. I'd forgotten about the odd gray plastic bumper covers the Dasher used. I don't think anyone but VW did that and it looked posh -in an '80s way. The sunroof was nothing special on a VW but in 1980, you couldn't get one on a Civic or Accord, that's for sure. The little things make cars like this interesting..

Mike said...

This is a great time capsule. Had some rabbit diesels back in the day. The 5 speed definitely helped versus the 4 speed. Would need to stay in right lane up really big hills so trucks could pass. Close to 50 mpg and uber reliable.

The catch-22 with cars like this is that you are paying a big premium for the low miles. The what do you do? Each mile you add is quickly diminishing the value. Sold my mint 93 mr2 turbo w 13k miles for that very reason.

Then again, for $9k you are getting a new car with some character. If only I had more money and more garage space.

Hansjorg said...

What a car. It's so rare in these days to find a "regular" car with hardly any miles and in a like-new condition. Besides that, it's green on green (my favorite color combo) which is really ueber-rare and not the ultra ugly tan. This car will do good money on ebay. Watch.

Anonymous said...

Nice looking car. I've never owned a Volkswagen, but I've always liked them, particularly the late 70s VWs, like the Rabbit and Scirocco. Unlike most people who prefer performance and acceleration over fuel economy, I prefer fuel economy over acceleration.