Dressed-down Audi – 1976 VW Dasher Wagon

VW’s B1 Passat was certainly a revolutionary step forward for the company – water-cooled, front-engine, front-wheel-drive, midsize – and their success (as well as the longevity of the model, even if it’s grown tremendously) speaks to how right they got it. More sporty than the Americans, and made with nicer-looking materials than the Japanese (though the Japanese ultimately built the more durable product), they didn’t find a tremendous amount of success in North America in the 1970s and 1980s, since VW was pigeonholed as the maker of Beetles. Forty (yes, forty) years on, that means it’s hard to find an early pre-facelift B1 Dasher in North America, but every so often, one pops up. Check out this 1976 VW Dasher wagon for sale for $750.

1976 VW Dasher left front

Really not a bad looking car, it hardly differed from its Audi cousin. It’s hard to say for sure due to the faded red paint, but this one appears to have no rust in areas one might expect it, like the windshield surround. The seller is selling because he has too much stuff, and is pretty firm on his price. He says it’s very original and in very good shape, and has a beautiful patina. Poetic license is definitely taken there, but hopefully it means rust is limited and the body is in overall good condition.

1976 VW Dasher left rear

The current storage conditions certainly aren’t doing anything to help foster that impression, though, and the missing door handle must be part of the patina. Three hubcaps are shown on the rear seat, which looks to be in decent shape, but it’s not clear if there’s a fourth. Not to worry, though, it’s an excuse to pick something from the massive aftermarket for period wheels available to VW fans.

1976 VW Dasher interior

The outdoor humidity has also caused the engine to seize, though the seller has pulled the plugs and poured oil in to try to free the pistons. Before it was parked, it was running, so perhaps some time with the seller before purchase could more accurately determine how things will turn out. That said, it seems like the VW aftermarket should provide again – there’s really nothing terribly exciting about a small VW inline four mated to a three-speed automatic, so why not just pull the lot (after freeing the engine) and replace it with, say, some GTI parts? Aside from the expected dash cracks and split upholstery, things really look quite good inside – with some effort, perhaps you could turn this into a true classic sport wagon.

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