Crapwagon Outtake: 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Wagon

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
crapwagon outtake 1986 volkswagen quantum syncro wagon

Since September, the collective wisdom of the Internet has changed. Before, the ideal car — as decreed by keyboard warriors across this great nation — was an all-wheel drive, manual, diesel wagon. Now, however, oil burners are less popular than even Jeb Bush.

Today’s feature checks all three remaining post-Dieselgate fanboy boxes.

For some brief insight into my process for finding three classics per week for your perusal and ridicule: I don’t read the headlines while shopping. Instead, I quickly scan the lead photos for something that catches my eye. I’m a data geek at heart, and I’ve found that I average over a thousand cars scanned per day. Sometimes this method finds a poor listing, like the car-cover clad Fiat Dino on eBay that I shared to Facebook yesterday. But other times, I find stuff I never would have considered otherwise.

Today’s feature, a 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Wagon, wears the iconic “Snowflake” alloys also found on the original GTI, and thus was immediately thrust into consideration. Those wheels always grab my eye.

This is priced like a future collectible, but I’m certain there won’t be a future at Pebble Beach or Barrett-Jackson for this Quantum. It’s a fascinating, early, all-wheel-drive sports wagon, in the vein of the big brother Audi 5000, nothing more. With under 52,000 miles, it’s in great condition save the fading exterior plastics, but this is a $3,000 car at best, especially considering the lack of undercarriage photos and the Iowa location.

Just because it’s rare doesn’t mean it’s valuable.

Chris Tonn is a broke classic car enthusiast that writes about old cars, since he can’t afford to buy them. Commiserate with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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2 of 137 comments
  • Ol Shel Ol Shel on Feb 22, 2016

    The author is making the mistake of attempting to apply logic to Volkswagen ownership. There are a dozen guys in the country who would do anything for a syncro wagon. This is priced for them, at the high-end of what a pizza deliver guy can manage.

  • Tifighter Tifighter on Feb 24, 2016

    About 1000 years ago, I actually had one of these, 87 and red as well. It was only offered as a wagon so as not to compete with the 4000 Quattro, which was mechanically identical. These are geared short, so the MPG isn't great. Mechanical locking diff. Mine came with the optional feature of randomly not starting when the temperature was below 40 degrees, which is a nice feature on an AWD wagon. Replaced it with a 100 Avant, which was later replaced with a 90 Quattro 20V. Sigh. But I learned eventually. Well, sorta. These days I have a XC70 T6. Back to the future, I guess.

  • Lou_BC " GMC Canyon sales during the second quarter of 2023 kept Big Red’s midsize pickup last in its segment when ranked by sales volume. The Toyota Tacoma continued to command the top spot, while also being the only model to be in the green with a 14 percent bump to 63,262 units year-over-year, representing nearly half of all segment deliveries. The  Chevy Colorado (see running  Chevy Colorado sales), the Canyon’s corporate cousin, placed second with a 12 percent dip to 19,909 units. The Nissan Frontier took third with a 17 percent slide to 17,213 units, followed by the Jeep Gladiator in fourth with a 34 percent drop to 13,751 units. The  Ford Ranger (see running  Ford Ranger sales) took fifth with a 22 percent decline to 12,618 units. The GMC Canyon (see running  GMC Canyon sales) finished out the short list with an 11 percent slip to 6,708 units"
  • 2ACL If you weren't throwing away your Mercedes after the warranty expired, this will fix that. This is an overly complex answer to the AMG question I don't think will endure the test of time.
  • Kwik_Shift Looks like what a redesigned Nissan Murano would be. I believe Murano is done.
  • MaintenanceCosts This is a Volvo EX90 with swoopier styling and less interior room. I'm really not sure I understand the target audience.
  • Stuki Moi If government officials, and voters, could, like, read and, like, count and, like, stuff: They'd take the opportunity to replace fixed license numbers, with random publicly available keys derived from a non-public private key known only to them and the vehicle's owner. The plate's displayed number would be undecipherable to every slimeball out there with a plate reader who is selling people's whereabouts and movements, since it would change every day/hour/minute. Yet any cop with a proper warrant and a plate scanner, could decipher it just as easily as today.