At $1,200, Could This 2001 VW Passat 1.8T Get You To Roll Up Your Sleeves?

Photo: Craigslist

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Passat has the goods—five-speed stick, handy wagon body, park-able size. It also has the ‘bads’—a leaky valve cover gasket and an upcoming need for a timing belt and clutch among them. Let’s see if it’s priced to make it worth the work.

There was a lot to like about yesterday’s 1989 Chrysler Conquest TSi, including its big turbo mill, appreciably nice presentation, and the seller’s claim that it comes with “a hole spare car.”


None of that mattered a whit, it seems, at least not with an $11,500 asking price that would put a hole in pretty much anybody’s wallet. That earned the car a sizable 88 percent Crack Pipe loss and that means that it’s time to move on.

The Conquest was the epitome of the orphan car. That didn’t stem only from it being a badge-engineered version of the Mitsubishi Starion. No, the Conquest also knocked around from brand to brand within the Mopar group, originally being offered through Plymouth dealers and eventually graduating to full Chrysler brand status.

In contrast, Volkswagen’s Passat has soldiered on as part of the German car maker’s lineup for almost half a century. Over the course of that impressive run, it has carried three different names here in the U.S. (Dasher, Quantum, and Passat) and seen six distinct editions including the latest designed specifically for the U.S.. All of those, however, have been branded as Volkswagens.


This 2001 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T wagon represents the model’s B5 range, which had a nine-year run here and an even longer 12-year life in China. The B5 shares its platform with the concurrent Audi A4 and A6 and much of the suspension and engine compartment layout is interchangeable between the brands. A big differentiator, however, was that AWD in the Passat was the exception rather than the rule.

This one is FWD-only but it does have both the 1.8-litre Turbo four and a five-speed stick, a driveline that brings to the table 150 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of twist. We’ll get a little more into that engine in a sec, but first, let’s look at the rest of the car.


Let’s start off by noting just how handsome a car the B5 Passat wagon is. Much like its Jetta little brother, the Passat’s clean linear style has aged amazingly well. This one, in flattering silver over a set of factory alloys, looks to be in fine shape. The only notable issues here are what appears to be a scuff on the corner of the rear bumper cap and some miasma in the headlamps. Neither of those should be too hard to correct.


The interior as well seems to have held up well over the years. The driver’s seat does show some evidence of bolster breakdown on the offside, but the cloth upholstery remains both intact and remarkably clean. This car is modern enough to have a number of common safety and convenience features, including side airbags plus power windows and door locks. A moonroof allowsthe cabin to be filled with moonlight and more.


This is all quite amazing when you consider that this Passat rocks over a quarter of a million miles. How is it possible that a car like this could go so far and still look this good? Well, the ad claims that it is being offered for sale for an older driver who cannot—or maybe should not—get behind the wheel anymore. Let’s all lift our coffee mugs or whatever it is you are enjoying this fine winter morn and toast to that roadway retiree. Good on ya, my friend, you’ve earned that Uber ride.

While a conscientious owner may have meant that a long life and lots of miles have been kind to the car, that doesn’t mean that a few of the things you might expect to wear out have also magically remained intact.


The ad does note a few sizable maintenance issues that should be expected to be on the horizon and a couple more that should rightfully be addressed now. The former includes the timing belt and clutch, both of which interestingly requires the entire front end of the car to be pulled forward or removed entirely.


Don’t worry, these were designed from the factory for that, and there are plenty of YouTube videos that will show you how to do it. There’s also some tired struts to be considered and a leaky valve cover on the 1.8 which is probably the easiest thing on the list. The car comes with a clean title and what are described as mid-life tires so it’s likely to get you home without too much trouble.

So there you have it—this is a remarkably clean and well spec’d edition of a modestly desirable model that comes with some major maintenance in its near future. The seller says that the $1,200 asking price has been set in accordance with this yin and yang situation, and it’s now your job to decide if you agree with that assumption. What do you think, is this maintenance-needing Passat worth that $1,200 asking based on its condition and specs? Or, for that much, is this just too much to tackle?


You decide!


Portland, OR Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to RevUnlimiter for the hookup!

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