Rare Rides: The 1992 Volkswagen Passat Syncro G60

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the 1992 volkswagen passat syncro g60

Today’s Rare Ride is a reader submission by one Eric T. Perusing Craigslist in Frasier Crane’s hometown of Seattle, he came upon this quite uncommon Volkswagen Passat wagon. It’s a variant never sold by American dealers, but available on the Canadian side of the border in very limited quantities.

It’s all-wheel drive, has a manual transmission, and is supercharged.

Rare Rides recently featured this wagon’s older brother, in the form of the 1986 Quantum wagon. In 1990 the Quantum became the Passat, when VW consolidated model name variations in its lineup. Volkswagen gave in to aerodynamics this time around, and the new Passat featured much smoother styling its predecessor. This one also dared to go sans grille, much like the new Infiniti Q45 which also debuted that year.

Built in Emden, Germany, the B3 Passat was available in fewer configurations than prior generations: gone were the two-door sedan and the three- and five-door hatchbacks. Around the globe, customers chose a sedan or wagon with either four or five doors. Rather than sharing a platform with an Audi like the prior generation, this Passat was based on Volkswagen’s Golf (A2), extended in all directions. This same versatile platform underpinned the Corrado, Jetta, Seat Toledo, and a couple of awful Chinese cars. The A2 platform is still in use today, underneath the Chery A11 being produced in Jordan.

While American market Passats received 2.0-liter inline-four or 2.8 VR6 engines, Canadians had another option: G60. In use between 1988 and 1993 on sporty Volkswagen offerings, the G60 engine was a larger version of the G40 which had been around since 1986. At 1.8 liters in displacement, the supercharged G60 engine produced 158 horsepower. In the United States market, the expensive Corrado was the only vehicle ever available with the G60 engine, and only between 1988 and 1992 (replaced by the VR6).

Alas it would seem a manual transmission, all-wheel drive, supercharged Passat wagon did not hold great appeal for Canadians. The seller indicates only 200 people opted to purchase these wagons new, though this is an unverified figure. This light blue one was imported across the border from the affordable Seattle suburb of Vancouver, in British Columbia. With 170,000 miles on the odometer, the seller reassures that many Syncro components have been recently replaced. The windshield is new, and the metal moonroof panel has been replaced with the glass one from a ’97 Passat. The owner has also installed a US instrument cluster (an interesting decision) to avoid “the mental math of kilometers.”

After spending over $10,000 on the Syncro, the seller is willing to let it go for $4,500.

Are you like Eric, with your own Rare Rides to submit? Send it to me on Twitter, or email editors@ttac.com.

[Images via seller]

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  • Hellenic Vanagon Hellenic Vanagon on Apr 20, 2018

    Consumables for the Passat Syncro g60, up to now: 1)250.000 km, (about), clutch kit, (3 pieces, disk, plate, ball bearing). 2)Oil/filter change, every 20.000 km, purely synthetic, Red line group V, 5w30. 3)Total transmission oil, (front/rear), & gearbox at 250.000, (Red line perfect). 3)Brake pads, front/rear, 20.000-30.000 km, depended on the brand and the circumstances. 4)The first owner changed the 4 disk plates at 106.000 km.. Now, 180.000 km after, (about), seems that they have 50% wear. 5)Belts, of all kinds, every 100.000 km.. The small, updated 11 cm glader belt, every 50.000 km. (Two small belts for every glader service at 100.000 km). 6)Tires changed 30.000 km before and seems to have life for another 10.000-20.000 km, (Bridgestone adrenalin r002). 7)The spark plugs, Bosch platinum, last for a very long time but I cannot say for how long exactly since I changed them in order to construct a plasma ignition with surface discharge spark plugs.

  • Lon888 Lon888 on Apr 20, 2018

    A lady I used to work with had a wagon very similar to this one. She bought because it was her favorite color - purple. By the early 2000's it became the typical VW nightmare and she only got to drive it 3 or 4 times a year. She would drive it for a week and then some then something would break. The part would have to be ordered from Germany. It would take around a month or two to get the part and them wait for another month for it be installed. Then the whole process started all over again. After 2 or 3 years of this she gave up her beloved purple Passat wagon for something completely sensible - a Nissan Maxima.

  • Wjtinfwb How does the ICE mid-engine C8 platform work for... anything else? A sedan? SUV? With a mid engine configuration? A mid-engine SUV will have to be Suburban sized to offer the utility of a CRV. GM should dust off the Omega platform designed for the Cadillac CT6 for an SUV/Sedan offering with exceptional handling, Rear or AWD capability and acceptable space utilization. They also need to focus on interior fit & finish, trim choices and high quality final engineering and assembly. What GM doesn't need is another half-baked product with a storied and prestigious badge on the decklid and a premium price on the Monroney. No more Cimarron's, Allante's or X-cars needed to tarnish the reputation of Corvette.
  • InCogKneeToe BUILD It and they will come.By Build It, I mean a Vehicle that the Customer Wants and it works for them. It could be called Chevette for all that that matters. The Mach E's success isn't because it totes the Mustang on it.Just build what people want, the next Caravan/Taurus/Beetle/Maverick (truck).
  • YellowDuck Wait...how do you make a mid-engine crossover? Or even a 4-door coupe? Me not get.
  • 28-Cars-Later Thanks Corey. The head stud job on NOrthSTAR-T was $3K *years ago* as it involves an engine pull so rear wheel arch rust in and of itself isn't a show stopper. I'll be sure to check out the trunk as it may start to add up on deferred maintenance. Supposedly this was garaged so the underneath the rockers etc. should be decent but if those are shot its not gonna work.
  • Mark 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, G4NG engine with connecting rod bearing issues. Engine needs to be replaced, but Hyundai is denying warranty claim. I have all maintenance records from mile zero. It has been in Hyundai Service department 5 time in 4 months. They added the knock sensor and software update to let you know the engine is about to blow up. They kicked the can down the road doing patch work until the car was past the 120k extended extended warranty. I have that documentation too. So how can I join the class action law suit or find a Lawyer that handles these types of issues?