Junkyard Find: 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1980 volkswagen dasher diesel

The original Volkswagen Passat, which was essentially an Audi 80, was sold in the United States as the Dasher. We saw this two-door diesel Dasher at a Northern California wrecking yard last year, then this first-cousin gasoline-burning ’75 Audi Fox a couple months back, and now we’re heading back to California for a super-rare four-door diesel Dasher.

This car was slow even by generous 1980 standards, but diesel fuel economy must have made diesel VW buyers feel smart. I took my driver-training classes in a Rabbit Diesel, and I’m pretty sure the top speed of that car was about 52 mph.

This car appears to have been driven down from Alaska, judging from the body rust, moss growing on the trim, and these parking stickers.

The interior is packed with damp Alaska Airlines aircraft shop manuals, probably a couple hundred pounds of them.

I’m sure I could have picked up a Boeing manual for cheap or even free, but I decided that I’d be able to live without it.

Was it still running when it got scrapped? Who can say?

It’s hard to use up a car this thoroughly.

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2 of 72 comments
  • NancyLong NancyLong on May 10, 2014

    In different counties, the Passat also called Carat, Corsar, Dasher, Magotan. From outside, the used Volkswagen Passat does not look like other German cars.

  • Honda_lawn_art Honda_lawn_art on May 14, 2014

    Gah, my grandpa brought one of those back from Germany. Aviators must have a thing for them because he was a pilot. I remember it smelling "like a german car". It broke a lot, but it hung around for 20 years and probably 400k mi on at least 3 engines before my aunt pawned it. We'd borrow it when on vacation to see him in San Diego. My biggest memories of those vacations were sitting under an underpass in the desert waiting for a tow truck, and getting a bump start at Disney Land from a Japanese Micro truck. Also LA traffic.

  • Cprescott I remember when Fords were affordable.
  • Cprescott As a once very LOYAL FORD buyer, I had to replace my 22 year old Ford (bought new in 1997) once it finally started to have problems at 180k miles. I would have gladly purchased something like this from Ford but they abandoned me as a car buyer. Oddly, Hyundai still builds cars in a variety of flavors so I became a customer of theirs and am very happy. Likely will consider another once this one gets up in mileage.
  • SCE to AUX A friend once struck a mounted tire that was laying flat in the middle of her lane on the PA Turnpike. She was in a low late-90s Grand Prix, and the impact destroyed the facia, core support, radiators, oil pan, transmission, subframe, and suspension. They fixed it all.
  • Dukeisduke Lol, it's not exactly a Chevrolet SS with Holden badging.
  • Dukeisduke Years ago, I was driving southbound along North Central Expressway (south of Mockingbird Lane, for locals), and watched a tire and wheel fall out of the bed of a pickup (no tailgate), bounce along, then centerpunch the front end of a Honda Accord. It wasn't pretty.