While out on a burrito-obtainment mission on Alameda's main drag, I caught sight of a small 80s station wagon that looked somehow... odd. At first I thought it was some sort of oddball version of the Camry or maybe even a Celebrity, but when I got close I realized I was experiencing a rare VW Quantum sighting. Well, such sightings are rare in the United States, anyway.

This is the newest car yet in the Down On The Street series, but the point isn't the car's age, it's the fact that it's a rare survivor of a bygone era. This car certainly qualifies, especially considering that (water-cooled) VW Years are sort of like dog years; one year of wear and tear on, say, a Japanese car is roughly equal to seven years on a post-air-cooled Volkswagen.

The Quantum was the second name VW slapped on the Passat (succeeding the Dasher nameplate) when they tried to sell their "big" car on these shores, apparently figuring Americans would never buy cars with weird European-sounding names.

In '85, the Quantum wagon sold for $11,500. This was actually pretty competitive with their Japanese counterparts, but by that time it was getting tough to compete with the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere's rep for quality.

Still, these cars were fairly decent performers for the era, so if you were willing to pay for constant occasional repairs you'd have a little family hauler that was pretty enjoyable to drive.