Rare Rides: The 1992 Volkswagen Passat Syncro G60

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

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]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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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.

  • Dartdude They need to rebrand the models, The standard model should be Wagoneer and long version should be Grand Wagoneer. There should offer the Ram Rev powertrain in these
  • Irvingklaws Seems more like they're adopting Honda styling queues. Now if they would just adopt their reliability...
  • FreedMike "Obsidian Edition."Oooooh, obsidian is really, really hard stuff.
  • John The awesome Infiniti G series saved this company 20 years ago, but they are right back on track to obsolescence. (yawn)
  • Teddyc73 White with black wheels, I'm so sick of. Or dull grey and black wheels. Just stop.