At $4,900, Could This 1996 VW Passat TDI Wagon Smoke Out A Sale?

Illustration for article titled At $4,900, Could This 1996 VW Passat TDI Wagon Smoke Out A Sale?
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Old VW diesel’s like today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Passat tend to go forever and barely sip any fuel getting there. Let’s see if this one is decent enough to pick up a buyer along the way.

Advertisement

It’s interesting how certain cars and trucks develop a reputation for the type of person that drives them. For example, there’s the stereotypical BMW owner—savvy enough to be able to afford the high-end brand but still unable to fathom the basic ins and outs of turn signals.

Then there’s your typical second-gen Camaro driver. The general consensus about that individual is that they wear a business in front/party in the back haircut, listen to hair metal (on cassette), and probably haven’t progressed much past their glory days in high school well into adulthood.

Advertisement

That tainted owner image probably didn’t do yesterday’s 1978 Chevy Camaro Z-28 clone any favors. It’s $8,300 asking price certainly didn’t and it fell in a 73 percent Crack Pipe loss.

Hey, are you hunkering down at home? You are? Good for you. People are doing that all around the world, staying away from places where groups gather and avoiding unnecessary contact with others. All this, plus the shuttering of bars, restaurants, and other congregative venues has seriously impacted the demand for oil and hence has driven down fuel prices to some of their lowest levels in years. Hell, I paid less than three dollars a gallon for regular last week, a price I haven’t seen since 2015.

Illustration for article titled At $4,900, Could This 1996 VW Passat TDI Wagon Smoke Out A Sale?

Of course, this isn’t going to last. Oil prices may have been less volatile in the past decade than it was when OPEC was a big swinging dick, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t currently be considering future-proofing your fuel cost demands. One way to do so is with this 1996 Volkswagen Passat TDI since it should be able to eke out close to fifty mpg once you getting cruising on the highway. With its 18.5-gallon fuel capacity, you could also conceivably go over 800 miles between fill-ups which is also a plus in these times of recommended social distancing.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled At $4,900, Could This 1996 VW Passat TDI Wagon Smoke Out A Sale?

What makes this longroof Vee-Dub so efficient is the 1.9-litre 1Z, a turbocharged four-pot diesel that made 90 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. Here that’s mated to a five-speed stick which is rare in the wagon and provides the car with an appreciable amount of engagement along with its obvious utility.

Advertisement

The car is claimed to be in “great mechanical and cosmetic condition” for its 140,000 miles. The bodywork, in Silk Metallic Blue, is straight but does exhibit a sizable patch of rust on the top of the passenger-side rear wheel arch.

Illustration for article titled At $4,900, Could This 1996 VW Passat TDI Wagon Smoke Out A Sale?
Advertisement

That’s pretty typical of a car that’s done time in the Northeast (this VW is advertised in Massachusetts) but it’s actually remarkable that the road rot isn’t more extensive. The plastic wheel covers show their age as well, having had their center emblems worn off.

The interior, on the other hand, looks pretty tight. The cloth upholstery is in solid shape, as is the carpet throughout and the headliner. There’s no fiddly moonroof to worry about, nor much else to go wrong in here.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled At $4,900, Could This 1996 VW Passat TDI Wagon Smoke Out A Sale?
Illustration for article titled At $4,900, Could This 1996 VW Passat TDI Wagon Smoke Out A Sale?
Advertisement

The engine bay still has its plastic shroud and while it’s not the cleanest room at the inn, it’s pretty much par for the course for a diesel of this age. A minor service—fluids and filters—was recently undertaken, but there’s no word on when the timing belt was refreshed, if ever.

The seller notes that the title is clean and that if we can still see the ad the car is still for sale. Let’s check on that.

Advertisement

Okay, the asking price is $4,900 and while we’ll ruminate over that price tag in relation to the car’s overall value let’s just take a minute to consider what a crap time it is to try and sell pretty much anything that requires face to face interaction these days. Even if this was the best value on the planet there are still people who aren’t going out to meet the seller and potentially “shake on the deal.”

Illustration for article titled At $4,900, Could This 1996 VW Passat TDI Wagon Smoke Out A Sale?
Advertisement

With all that in mind, let’s circle back to that price and imagine it in more normal times. What then would you think about $4,900 for this seemingly decent Passat? Would that feel like a deal? Or, is that too much for even a long-roof stick-shift oil-burner these days?

You decide!

Advertisement

Boston, MA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Mark R. for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

Nah. You got a lot more rust here than just a patch over the passenger rear wheelwell.

The first indicator is the rust and rot along the radiator support. That demands a close inspection of the back end of those strut towers, which I strongly suspect has crust near where it joins the subframe rails. And the whole underside, especially along the suspension pickup points.

Plus, you better believe that any suspension attachment you crack loose on this critter may just twist the nutsert behind it loose too. And the metal it’s attached to.

When I lived in northern New England and ran Volkswagens, I got way too much experience with suspension repairs earning rust repair bonus rounds.

If this rig was in Georgia and had a protective coating of red clay, I might’ve considered it at this price. But in New England, where the roads are literally stained white from all the winter salt applications, it may as well have been parked on top of a salt lick. Crack Pipe.