By on June 6, 2013

15 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHaving taken my driver-training classes, circa 1982, in a VW Rabbit Diesel, I thought I’d experienced the slowest car available in the United States during the second half of the 20th century. I was wrong! The oil-burning Dasher (which is what the V.A.G. called the first-gen Audi 80 aka VW Passat in North America) had the same 49 (!) horsepower diesel as the Rabbit, and it weighed between 100 and 400 pounds more. I hadn’t seen a Dasher of any sort for at least a decade, and I don’t recall ever having seen a Dasher Diesel, so this find in a San Jose-area self-service wrecking yard was startling.
17 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe entire spectrum of Malaise Era signifiers may be seen here, from the brown-and-orange tape stripes over tan paint to the rear-window louvers to the gigantic 5 MPH crash bumpers.
06 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince the Rabbit Diesel could be purchased with an automatic, I must assume that the same power-robbing option was available on the Dasher. This one has a 4-speed, which meant that its 0-60 times were probably around 150 seconds instead of 180.
10 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomeone bought the diesel engine, for reasons that probably made sense at the time.
04 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 119,341 miles on the clock, which is only about 3,500 miles per year… or 20,000 very economical miles per year followed by 28 years of sitting in a driveway.
08 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSuch luxury!
07 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWait, the engine— or at least the long block— is still there!
01 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe laugh at this car now, but the owner of this Dasher almost certainly did a lot of gloating as his ride cruised right past the gas lines caused by the Iranian Revolution-triggered energy crisis.

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66 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel...”


  • avatar
    IHateCars

    I kinda remember the Dasher….looks like a more upright Scirocco. Were they related in any way apart from being based on a Rabbit?

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Dasher/Passat wasn’t based on the Rabbit/Golf. It actually debuted a year earlier (at least in Europe, and was basically a reskinned Audi 80. Longitudinal engine rather than transverse, just like Audi MLB vs VW MQB today.

      • 0 avatar
        Pig_Iron

        Excellent summary. And in just three sentences too.

        My uncle had a brown one, and a Rover P6, both brown. What European city did he live in? Milwaukee WI.
        :-)

      • 0 avatar
        IHateCars

        Cool…thanks for the info th009. My VAG experience is limited to a ’78 Audi Fox station wagon from high school and later a hand me down ’86 Scirocco from my sister after she crumpled the front end ! I thought that pretty much everything they offered here was based off of the Rabbit! lol!

        • 0 avatar
          th009

          That Fox was the Audi 80 in Europe … except the wagons were only sold as Passat versions over there.

          The later VW Fox was a whole different kettle of fish, though.

  • avatar
    brettc

    As far as I know (and the wiki confirms it), the Dasher was the American name for the B1 Passat. Just like how the Mark 1/5 Golf was called the Rabbit over here. There’s a green B2 diesel Quantum wagon that I still see on the road here in Portland, Maine that’s in surprisingly good shape for being from the early 80s.

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      Right you are, brettc. This was the B1 Passat.

      They weren’t quite as horrible as Murilee makes them out to be. I had an old diesel wagon variant of this car as a commuter rat for a couple of years (brown, 4 spd manual!) until the timing belt snapped and sent the engine off to its reward. It was indeed bog slow, but had enough torque to keep up with in-town traffic.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        I had a 2 door ’85 Jetta diesel that did 52 hp but I’ve never driven an old Dasher. The Jetta was a fun car as long as you weren’t trying to pass on a 2 lane highway. As I’m sure you know, appointments had to be made with other drivers and you had to have your affairs in order before starting that task.

    • 0 avatar
      Tomifobia

      I saw a Quantum 3-door with NY plates on the Mass Pike last week. I honestly had no idea what it was until I passed it and saw the front end. I think it may be the only 3-door I’ve ever seen.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I have never seen such a car! I’m sure I’d notice it too with that shape. I kind of like the paint color of the taupe-y Audi 80 sedan next to it.

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    Back in my valet days I drove an 80s diesel Jetta once. It had 357K miles and was extremely slow and pathetic but it did move under its own power. Ironically enough the location I drove it at was a very expensive French restaurant in Boston where meals could cost into hundreds of dollars back in late 1990s. To this day I like to think it was a waiter’s car but they usually didn’t valet their cars so it’s unlikely.

  • avatar
    Buckhead55

    My wife drove a 1980 Dasher diesel wagon from 1982 to 1987. Manual transmission. It was a good car. Very slow but used little fuel and reasonably reliable. Good seats and cargo room.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    3 door version is actually kind of rare now. i mostly see 4 door wagons either as gassers here in town or on craigslist. for some reason there have been a rash of them in the dakotas for sale in the past 6 months.

  • avatar
    gasser

    This is how much things have changed in the last 30 plus years. Think anyone could sell a 50 hp car today??
    If we were willing to accept 0-60 times of ….forever, then a 1 liter NA engine would be fine and probably yield 50-60 mpg. I remember the late 70s and that there were very few decent, well priced, cars. As the old saying goes “speed, quality, price….pick any two”.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I often think of this as my 2nd car was an ’85 Civic S1500 hatch that had all of… wait for it: 90 HP. A Corvette of the same period had about 220 HP which is a laughable today. Granted these cars were much lighter, but its funny how under powered old cars were yet nobody really cared. Similar to how my Commodore 64 had RAM measured in K not GB. I think my digital watch has more RAM and processing power now.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        My ’85 Jetta GL had 85 hp. It seemed like plenty to me, since I sold a 62 hp Mercedes-Benz 240D when I bought it.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          This was my first car (the 85 Jetta GL) My biggest complaint was that the trunk trim would come off when you pushed it (frequently). My first successful repair to an automobile was repairing the transmission linkage (5 speed) with literally a piece of chicken wire.

      • 0 avatar
        Willyam

        Oh we cared lol. There just wasn’t anything you could do about it.

        My first car (1985) was a 1980 Firebird. It had a two-barrel carbeurated V-6. I think the HP was 116? Well, lets just say less than 120 for a two-ton smogger. Traded it for a Grand Prix, 301 V8, and as you said laughable-for-now 165-ish horsepower. I had lots of friends with small V8 Camaros, Cutlasses, Mustang II’s, etc. We all knew to steer clear of the few actual musclecars left in town.

        Not until the return of the 5.0 Mustang did we ever think factory horsepower would start to go the other way. Until that point, if you wanted anything respectable you had to build it.

        As to the weight issue, I strongly remember the first Corolla FX-16, Laser Turbos, and GTi’s as they finally arrived in the midwest.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          As someone whose first car had roughly 75 horsepower, I know all too well what slow was like.

          Then again, I don’t give a crap that the last RWD Cutlass only had 140 hp, because I love the look of those final G bodies and really want to own one.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            I know the 3.8 in my 81 Regal was rated at 110 hp. And I agree that the G bodies were handsome cars for their time. I find the Buick to be better looking, but that’s my bias.

            I’d love to have my Regal today and have a more modern 3.8 in it. Not even last Gen 3.8, maybe one of the 170 hp versions from the 90′s.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      I drove an 4-door 87 Accord – 107HP.

      Took 5 adults and their luggage up and down the Canadian Rockies – that thing was screaming for mercy! Then we went down to LA and back. Realized that the oil hasn’t been changed in over 8000 miles after detecting a burning smell, so I changed the oil and then I sold it years later with 250,000 miles. Years after the sale, I saw it again with a Papa John’s placard on top of it. It’s gotta be close to 400,000 miles by now.

    • 0 avatar
      blppt

      None of the my first 3 cars had over 100hp. 87 Horizon, 88 Reliant 2.5, 94 Shadow 2.2.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Wait, they still had the 2.2 in ’94?

        And here I thought all the 2.2s were phased out in the early 90s in favor of keeping just the 2.5 and Turbo 2.2/2.5.

        • 0 avatar
          SqueakyVue

          They also offered a 210hp v6 in the shadow. I had one in high school with a stick. Not very reliable but respectably fast for what it was.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I thought that motor only made 150 hp.

            Which would make the Turbo 2.2 a better idea, since the turbo motor probably has better power potential and more aftermarket support…

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I Boston , likely elsewhere too , you had to wait in line plus pay almost $1,000 over MSRP for get any VW Diesel back then ~ not likely this was any Waiter’s Car .

    Both my elder Brothers bought Rabbit Diesels and thought they were terrific cars , being a VW Mechanic , I didn’t much agree as 90 % of VW diesels died by 60,000 miles .

    Both my Brother’s went over 100,00 .

    Too bad the tin worm attacked this one as it looks pretty clean and would be easy to bring back as a time capsule .

    I have no idea why older VW Diesels are now such cult cars but quite a few are backing up traffic all over Southern California on any given day .

    Truly it has all the awful visual ticks of that era ~ FUGLY seats , faux wood dash , crappy tiny idiot lights that you couldn’t see on sunny dayze and even that crappola De-Luxe aftermarket sun roof that leaked from the day it was installed .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    SteveMar

    Why so much hate on this old timer? Truly, there aren’t many left on the road, but, in its day, the Dasher was considered a modestly upscale ride. Absolutely slow, as most non-turbo diesels of that era were. By today’s standards, pretty crude and not particularly usable as a daily driver outside of probably rural areas in the Sun Belt. But it was certainly a fuel sipper — folks back then loved telling tales of how they got 50 mpg or more with their diesels.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Dad had one of the 49hp (50-51?) diesel engines mated to a fancy 5-speed in his 1981 gold Jetta sedan with caca brown interior. It was the Wolfsburg edition, or at least it had a wolf, or coyote, or other critter on the steering wheel. Maybe a jackal. I remember growing up thinking a “Jetta” was some kind of wolf-like creature that smelled really bad and ran really slow.

    I remember how he’d cut the AC off so that the car could muster enough speed to get on an I-85 onramp in Atlanta. Even by the pathetic standards of the 80s, the car was terrifyingly slow and couldn’t outrun a semi. 0-60 was… eventually. I think it could have done 70 if it were dropped and allowed to reach terminal velocity.

    I’ve also never seen anything leak so much. Rainstorms meant ankle deep puddles for the driver and passenger and seepage from the sunroof, front glass, and trunk lid.

    The fact that most import sh!tboxes these days generate easily in the 150hp range and post sub 9second 0-60 times is just amazing.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I drove an early 80s Rabbit diesel around town, and it was perfectly acceptable in that use . . . just as the 40 h.p. VW beetle was perfectly acceptable around town. Both cars having a 4-speed.

    The problem with that era diesels from VAG is that they, like GM, tried to diesels on the cheap by “dieselizing” a gasoline engine block. And, like the GM diesels put in Oldsmobiles, everyone of those engines was a miserable failure after 50-60,000 miles, typically blowing out a head gasket. Audi had a diesel version of their 2.1 liter 5 cylinder which they put in their larger sedan, sold as the 100 in Europe and the 5000 in the U.S. The smaller engine they put in the Rabbit/Golf and in the Audi 80/4000.

    I kick myself because, in 1980 when I bought the Audi 5000 diesel, I shopped a Mercedes 240D. The Mercedes was somewhat more expensive and the stiff “M-B tex” upholstery was not as nice as the cloth in the Audi. But, I’d probably still have the Mercedes, unlike the Audi, which I sold after having to replace the head gasket and numerous other less expensive repairs. Both cars were equally slow (top speed less than 70 mph).

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Top speed on a 240D is well over 80mph, and they will do it all day long if they are in good repair. A 300D will officially do 96mph. Takes a while to get there though.

      I also have been around plenty of now old VW diesels, and none of them have had any issues as long as they were not overheated and the timing belts were changed on-time. Only problem with them in this corner of the world was tinworm.

  • avatar
    nutbags

    In my high school days (1980-1984), a friend of mine had a Dasher wagon with the diesel and manual. I remember the car being slow but very comfortable and practical. Used it to go skiing in New England almost every winter weekend and only had one issue on an extremely cold day – the diesel fuel jelled up. Missed a day of school but did ski while it sat in a garage to warm up. Ah, the good ole days.
    He had that car through the 90′s until there was more rust than metal. I think he had close to 200k miles on it. Not bad.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I went through a diesel fascination phase a couple dozen years ago and looked into all the ones that had been sold in the US. Sadly enough, VWs were not the slowest at all. Of the ones that were available during the fuel shortage triggered by Iran, the fastest was the turbocharged Mercedes-Benz 300SD. Next up were the disastrous V8 Oldsmobiles. The VWs were next, roughly on a par with the 77 hp Mercedes Benz 300D and 300TD, before they received the turbo from the 300SD. Much farther back were bigger cars with 4 cylinders, like the Peugeot 504D and the Mercedes 240D. Volvo and Audi had naturally aspirated 5 cylinder versions of the VW engine that were just as challenged in the 240 and 5000.

    Some people had good experiences with their VW diesels. Lots of people didn’t, as Nate mentioned. I remember lots of them sitting in driveways with dead engines when they were only a few years old and gas prices had come down.

    • 0 avatar
      eggsalad

      “Volvo and Audi had naturally aspirated 5 cylinder versions of the VW engine that were just as challenged in the 240 and 5000.”

      Not quite so. The Audi 5000 came with the 2.0 liter 5-cylinder, indeed. Volvo used what was essentially the same engine, but with another cylinder, the 2.4 liter I-6. (Side note: the 2.0 liter I-5 Diesel *was* available in some countries in a 240, but not the US.)

      I had one until a few years ago. Was it slow? Yes, but not unbearably so. I used my 1984 245Diesel to move cross-country in 2007. I could fit everything I owned into it, and it got me 40mpg for the trip.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Oh my God that 5-cylinder was not up to the task of motivating that car, especially with the automatic. I had an ’87 5000S. With the AC on? Forget about it (assuming the electronic climate control was working).

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Lewe was a surfer.
    Surfers have Volkswagen’s.

    Lewe plied HWY 1 in his Dash. He slid in his vinyl seat, his shirtless back still wet with saltwater. He had just bailed from his usual spot, nothing but ankle-snappers. The throttle was pinned. Gotta get to Lighthouse before the barnies, barbies, butt-crumbs, and barnwallers come. Lewe had to catch a sweet barrel today, less he perish. He beat the steering wheel and bobbed to the music as he buzzed down the highway. He was totally stoked on the surf report. Yeah, Lighthouse will have em fer sure bra.

    Lewe pulled into the parking lot. He shut down his oil-burner and silenced the Bob Dylan emitting from the boom box. Tim was already there shaking his head. “Bummer dude, boogers all over the face.” Lewe took it with a grain of salt. “Stop being a burnout man. This is what’s gonna happen. We’re gonna get fierce and charge through those boogers. They’ll move. Now grab your fibro before this place turns into a freakshow.” Lewe slid his plank from the hatch and jetted out. It was gnarly, and a couple of goat boaters and frogs on toast weren’t going to harsh his mellow. He quickly got into a hollow, but head dipped, and was totally munched. Sets were totally lined-up though, so the outing turned out to be mint overall.

    He was noodled. It felt great. He brushed back his long hair and creaked open the Dash. Lewe grabbed his roach and lit it up. He relaxed in the sticky vinyl to Dylan as he puffed in the parking lot. Tim walked up and started complaining again. To which, Lewe responded “Come on dode troder. You know you sacked it anyway!” Tim agreed, and the two laughed, while covertly passing the J.

    All of a sudden, Lewe caught sight of a crippler chick stowing her board on top of her Jetta. He puffed his chest out comically like a nardude. He had to get her sign. He had seen her before, totally a judith…totally. He got her number, and walked back to his car like a nardude again. He stopped to pose handsomely on the be-speckled fender of the VW. Tim laughed. The judith drove away blushing and smiling.

    “Time to jet. Got a hot date.”
    Lewe engaged the starter on the Dasher endlessly. “Come on.” “Lame.” A grey came over to offer assistance. He said he had a few of these. The grey fiddled with the glow plug wiring, but nothing worked. It was dead. Not cool.

    Lewe transferred his deck into Tim’s Colony Park and the two jetted. When Lewe returned to the parking lot three days later, the Dasher was not there.

    “My CD’s! LAME!”

  • avatar
    Garak

    They put that lump also in the T3 Transporter van. The complete lack of performance was astonishing.

  • avatar
    p161911

    Well this thing weight about 1900lbs. with 50hp. That’s 38lbs./hp. You theoretically could get a 1985 Cadillac Sedan de Ville with a 85 hp Oldsmobile diesel V-6! The Caddy weighs up to 3,900lbs. That’s almost 46lbs/hp. it SHOULD be slower.

  • avatar

    What a cool find. These things were either really rare or not sold in Canada as I can’t recall ever seeing one.

    My Mercedes 220D is likely slower – 59hp and but more weight.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    Bought a gasoline version of the 2 door dasher new back in 79. Overall the pickings for any vehicle in 1979 were not very good. I remember the car fondly. It had a manual trans & good pep ( for 1979) This was my first FWD car. Electrical glitches were a problem as the fuse link for something in the fuel delivery system was always too hot and would blow out at any given time. Some bone head in a Camaro crossed the center line and hit the dasher head on and totaled it while my wife was driving to work. It was not pretty. Cars are vastly improved now when compared to then IMO

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    The Dasher Diesel was a speed demon when compared with a Chevette Diesel with auto and a/c.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    I’d really like the opportunity to drive one of these, just to see if all the comments about the legendary slowness are really true or not.

    I wonder what the last car to be sold in North America with factory optional rear window louvers was. I’m guessing something Japanese and 90′s, but I could be wrong.

  • avatar
    jhefner

    It is hard to believe that silver 5000s behind it came out just a few years later; it is so sleek by comparison. It is easy to see why they looked like spaceships compared to cars like this Dasher and the K-Car I was driving when they came out. Look how thin that C pillar is! Still a great looking car, and by favorite sedan, so long as I don’t actually own one.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      There isn’t really a car behind it – the car in front is an old Merc 560SEL, and the car next to it is an Audi 80 from the late 80s/early 90s. Quite a lot smaller than the 5000.

      • 0 avatar
        mypoint02

        I believe that’s a ’90 or ’91 90 Quattro. The 80s had a flat spoiler. The 90s were raised like the one you see here.

        http://www.audiworld.com/model/80/91-80.shtml
        http://www.audiworld.com/model/90/91-90.shtml

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I just noticed in the photo where you see the 3/4 panel of the Audi, it says 88 Audi 90 on it. Good work.

          Also, these cars looked too similar to be sold as separate models!

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “Having taken my driver-training classes, circa 1982, in a VW Rabbit Diesel, I thought I’d experienced the slowest car available in the United States during the second half of the 20th century”

    As far as I can tell, the 240D was just as slow (which means the 220D and 200D must have been… just, god damn…).

    The Rabbit Diesel is honestly about the speed of my 300D at a reported 18 seconds.

    (Other reports say 21, which probably puts it at 200D levels…)

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    During the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis I had a coworker who bought a diesel Rabbit because of the mpgs. Gas was hard to get and she wanted something more efficient that her 69 Travelall which she kept to haul her boat. I believe she got 40 mpgs.

  • avatar
    JSF22

    At last, after months of Junkyard Finds, a car it makes me happy to see sitting right where it belongs.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    Just to keep the record straight the VW diesel was not a converted gasoline engine but was built from the ground up as a diesel. This engine was very tough. I drove a 1984 VW Rabbit 4 speed diesel back and forth to work for 5 years. Even got a speeding ticket in Pa for 85 MPH in a 55 MPH zone. Of course it was down hill. I sold this car with over 150,000 miles on it to my buddies son to go to college in Conn. He drove the hell out of that car. He got his degree and started working for a company in Conn and driving every day from Queens,NY to Conn. After 5 years he got married and moved to Conn and that car had over 600,000 miles on it. He sold it to a fellow from work who drove from Boston to work in Conn and the last i heard the car had about 800,000 miles on it. I was told many parts were replaced but the engine was never opened up. The oil was always changed and the timing belt was changed every 80,000 miles. Was told they had it down to science 2 hours flat. Understand the fellow drives with a screwdriver and pliers so when the car gives up he can remove the plates and leave it where it died.

  • avatar
    SixDucks

    Now that’s a rare find! Interesting car, but every bit as bad as a similar vintage Olds Delta 88 diesel.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    I started thinking about buying a new Volkswagen in 1979, eventually special ordered a Rabbit ( gas ) in 1980 . I gave up buying one in dealer inventory because every car in every local dealership would have similar hideous tape stripes as the one here , usually with the same stupid rear louver treatment and a host of other unwanted dealer added crap .

  • avatar
    swc7916

    I drove a 1980 Dasher diesel wagon that I purchased new. I liked the car. It took a while to get up to speed, but it was a solid, pretty good quality car. I always got between 38 and 42 miles per gallon. Unfortunately, the engine started going downhill at close to 100k miles. It developed blow-by to the point that it would run on its’ own engine oil. I’d be driving down the freeway and the engine would suddenly try to run away and the car would smoke like crazy. This would last for several seconds and then the engine would resume to operating normally. Everytime this happened I would have to replace the glowplugs because the tips would be blown off of them.

  • avatar
    George Herbert

    I received a 4-door of this in 1988 when my grandfather passed away, he’d bought it new in 79 (along with a Diesel Rabbit for my grandmother). They lived out in the country and had a 100+ gallon Diesel tank for the cars and the road maintenance machinery.

    It had enough torque to spin the wheels at the light. Zero to 10 wasn’t so bad. 10 to anything else, sigh. I could keep going over 17 at 60+ if and only if I was still going 60 when I got to the top of the first long straight stretch climbing past Lexington Reservoir; otherwise, it was 45 and pray.

    It cornered really well for what it was; plenty of times I chased Porsche 944, 911, 928s around west Marin county in it, since I knew it really well and knew the roads. Chased a 944 all the way from Nicasio past Skywalker Ranch, Big Rock, down into Terra Linda, he’d pull out in front in any straight and by the end of the next curve I’d have to start braking to avoid tagging his bumper. Watched a 1980s vintage 911 driver blow his line trying to follow me, lift mid-corner, and spin around once. Fun days.

    The engines in the DD ended up having a structural flaw; mine blew a cylinder wall out at 120k miles maybe, totalled the motor, was not worth repairing.

    Grandmother’s Rabbit was still with her into the late 90s, I think, eventually replaced with a gas Golf / Rabbit when diesel started to get hard to find out there.

  • avatar
    lurkerdurker

    Is there any correlation between the sticker in the last photo and the oil crisis? Gas rationing or something? That was all before my time.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Traded cars for a week with my buddy who needed to borrow my truck. He had a diesel rabbit. Yeah, it was gutless. You just had to resign yourself to flooring it at the drop of a hat. Passing was a well-thought out event. Its been decades, but I remember getting 48 mpg out of it. Getting 50 was sort of the holy grail and a topic of conversation as one of the other commenters mentioned.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    I used to be able to routinely get 45 m.p.g. with my 1980 Rabbit with the gas 1.6 engine and a 5-speed . Of course this was back in the late , unlamented 55 m.p.h. era, and I was doing a lot of long -distance driving living in San Antonio and driving to Houston and Dallas frequently . The D.P.S. were extremely aggressive at writing tickets so I’d try to keep it at about 63 m.p.h., and follow in the airstream of semis whenever possible which undoubtedly helped gas mileage . Today if a state trooper or any Texas cop tried to write me up on any highway for driving 65 m.p.h. , I’d think he was crazy , and I’d also be run off the road by everybody . A malaise era diesel VW like many of its competitors would be too underpowered for the defacto 80 m.p.h. speed limits of today’s interstates , but have to be considered in the context of their time .

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    I bought my newlywed wife a lightly used ’79 Dasher as our first car in ’83. Petrol/auto not a barn burner but the hatch was very convenient, yet apparently interesting to the neighbors in BKLYN who popped the lock 3x in a year. A real head turner in burnt orange metallic with medi-brown skins.


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