Junkyard Find: 1985 Volkswagen Quantum GL Turbo Diesel Sedan
Volkswagen of America used model names that didn’t match up to those of its European counterparts for much of the 1970s and 1980s. The Golf was the Rabbit through 1984 and the Passat started out as the Dasher and then became the Quantum over here. I find the occasional Dasher or Quantum during my junkyard voyages, but nearly all of the Quantums that have survived into our current century will be gasoline-burning Syncro Wagons. Diesels? After the Oldsmobile Diesel 350 debacle of the late 1970s and early 1980s, few Americans had the guts to buy a new oil-burner.
Most American Quantum sedan buyers in 1985 went with the five-cylinder Audi gasoline-burner, rated at 110 horsepower. The turbodiesel was the only other engine available in the ’85 sedan, and the original buyer of this car said I’ll have that!
Four cylinders, 1.8 liters, 68 horsepower (and a tolerable 98 lb-ft of torque). American VW shoppers in 1985 could get this engine in the Golf and Jetta, too; if they really wanted to be cheap, they could opt for the naturally-aspirated version of this engine, rated at a horrific 52 horses. That was pretty good power compared to the Diesel Rabbits of the late 1970s, which offered just 48 horses.
Fortunately for everyone who ever had to drive this machine, it has the five-speed manual transmission instead of the Matsch-O-Matisch™ three-speed automatic.
Someone bought the gauge cluster before I arrived, so the final mileage figure must remain a mystery to us. The interior looks clean enough for this to be a well-cared-for low-miler.
These pop-out tape cassette holders showed up in plenty of German cars during the 1980s. You push the button on the right and out pops a little drawer containing a cassette (presumably something by Laid Back or Nena, or maybe even some Nina Hagen). The next junkyard-parts boombox I build will feature several of these.
The religious keychain and dash stickers suggest that this car’s final owner belonged to some denomination of Orthodox Christianity.
These saints watched over the car for 35 years, but now its journey is over.
The final Quantums (Quanta?) sold in the United States were 1988 models. Starting in the 1990 model year, we got Passats over here.
It’s German and it’s cheap!
Perhaps we’d be better off learning about this car in its native language.
If you enjoy these junkyard tales, be sure to head over to the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™, where you’ll find links to more than 2,000 more.
Shane on Sep 19, 2020
I remember back around 1994, I was in high school, a buddy of mine had what I believe was an ’85 Quantum. I took special interest because I drove an ’86 Audi 5000S, and recognized the Quantum as basically a slightly downmarket Audi 4000. I remember it being a decent car when he first got it. Next time I saw it, not long after, it didn’t run anymore and seemed to never run again. It was weird.
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