There is probably no more incongruously named car in the world than Volkswagen’s ‘Dasher diesel.’ Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe wagon won’t reach 60 in under 20 seconds - let’s see if it takes you any longer to ruminate on its price.
When you hear eight-hundred bucks for a pretty rare and desirable car your fist thought should be ‘what’s wrong?’ Well, that was the asking for last Friday’s 1994 Saab 9000 Aero, and in that car’s case the proper question was ‘what’s not wrong?”
Despite the seller’s warning that his Saab was more rust holes than car visions of LeMons victories danced in many of your heads and the result was a 60% Nice Price win. Honestly, that would have been a smart buy if you were of a mind to part the car out as there were a lot of unique and valuable parts left on its unintentionally lightened frame.
What if however, you wanted a whole car? You know, one that didn’t whistle through its many rust holes like a shot-up B-24? What if also you wanted a diesel Volkswagen from before that company turned into some sort of international criminal foisting not cars but lies on an unsuspecting and trusting public? What would you do then?
Well, you could buy this sweet 1980 VW Dasher wagon as it’s pre-dieselgate (we’ve got to come up with a new word for scandals that don’t reference Watergate. Seriously!) and it’s an offering that checks almost all the right boxes.
The Giugiaro-designed B1 Dasher - née Passat outside the U.S. - was the fastback twin of Audi’s three-box 80/Fox. The wagon was even more foxy, as it was only differentiated by its front clip and badges. They all shared an Audi-standard FWD platform with a longitudinally-placed engine overhanging the front wheels and a dead beam rear axle.
In this car’s case, that engine is a 49-horsepower 1.5-litre diesel four from the Golf. In the 2,490-lb Dasher that managed zero to sixty sprints in a laconic 19.4 seconds even with the manual. Come the inevitable zombie apocalypse this would not likely be your ride.
But today, it certainly could be.
Zombies or not, life’s to short to go zipping past it, and if you’re going to be spending a long time in a car due to a lack of alacrity then it should be a nice place in which to spend that time. This Dasher looks to be very nice indeed both inside and out.
The dash does evidence a number of age-related cracks, but the seats are intact and look very puffy. There’s A/C but it’s not working at present, which is a bummer if you live someplace where that’s mandatory. Sorry, Arizonians. Manual windows, door locks, and whatnot, means there’s not much else that could go wrong.
The car does sport the four-speed manual which is good, and that’s supported by a clutch that’s only 25K old. The engine’s timing belt is only a little older at 37K. Overall mileage is a reasonable 157,000.
Described as a ‘Snowbird’ those miles seem to be mostly highway as the ad notes the car spent a lot of time shuffling its then-owner between New Hampshire and Florida. Now it’s in Cleveland, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a pyrotechnic river.
Despite having spent time in two northern states, the car is said to have no significant rust. Maybe that’s owed to the multiple resprays it has enjoyed over the years. The new coating seems to have extended to the plastic bumper caps as they are appropriately grey, but seem painted rather than bare dead dino.
Remarkably, the seller claims the car to be tight and solid and the engine to run and drive well. You should be able to tickle the balls of 50MPG in this, so you can tell your Prius-driving friends to go suck it. This Dasher is also a hell of a lot better looking than any Prius - especially that new one that looks like it was extruded from some alien sphincter.
Okay, let’s re-cap. Here we have a tidy diesel, manual, Giugiaro-designed, wagon that’s slower than a Bergman film but will easily cruise at freeway speeds all day and all night. And it’ll pass by almost every fuel station. I don’t know about you but it gives me a case of the appreciative nods.
Of course, there’s no bigger buzz kill than a ridiculous price, and it’s now time to decide if this Dasher’s price is ridiculous or ri-donkulous. The asking is $3,250 and that gets you not just the car, but an extra set of keys as well. Bonus!
What’s your take on that price for this VW diesel? Is that a diesel drivin’ deal? Or, is that just a dash too much for this Dasher?
H/T to the German Cars for Sale blog for the hookup!
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