Saturday, July 18, 2015

Kraut Rocked

There's a stretch of Atlantic Avenue on the way to the Prospect Park Shuttle that's gamey and forlorn, populated mainly with restaurant equipment refurbishment places and mysterious nightclubs. One day I happened to be walking by when I encountered this unlikely little punk:
This is a 1976-'77 Volkswagen Dasher in Polar White. In every country but the U.S. this was known as the first Passat. In addition to being a Dasher it's a sad and mysterious story as I'm 99% certain that this is the very car somebody else posted pictures of to their blog in 2012 when it was in great shape. Here's our hero before the fall as seen on the Street Peep.
This FUEL INJECTION designation tells me that our Dasher is at least as new as '76 because the previous 2 years were carburetor only. In 1978 the Dasher went through a comprehensive redesign so we know it can only be '76 or '77.
She's dirty and neglected but far from a lost cause. These cars are crazy rare on the East Coast these days so I'm surprised to see it left for dead. Make no mistake this car has been left for dead in hopes that it will just be carted away; it's sitting in front of a hydrant with no plates (though on this block it might remain here for months).
All Dashers at this point were fastbacks with identical profiles but bizarrely they were either hatchback or not. Everything about the shape of this car says hatchback but if you look closely it's just a trunk and there's no line above the rear window.
From the side everything seems to be in order with the exception of a missing hubcap and some filth. *This side view holds the definitive clue for me confirming that this is the exact car from Street Peep; the red side marker light on the rear quarter has a bit of white on the lower left corner on both cars.
Once you come around to the front things get really mysterious though. Look how far out of the wheel well the front wheel is. Also, did they really need to tear the center of the formerly beautiful grill out just to add an additional cooler? Terrible!
If you haven't seen this car on the link I posted above to the Street Peep go check it out. This car was really nice just a few short years ago with an unbroken grill and overall great presentation. Whoever did this hack job should be punished by the car gods into driving PT Cruisers exclusively for life!
Poor dejected little VW just wanted to be loved.
All I can figure is some misguided attempt was made to hot rod this car by shoving in an engine that was way too big for it. Maybe it was en entire front wheel drive unit for a wider car and that's why the wheels are jutting out? Maybe no matter what they tried it overheated constantly so they added this cooler? Who knows but it's a damn shame.
The final indignity is being dumped in front of an auto parts store like an old man dumped in front of a medical supply shop. Did the owner run in one last time to see if they stocked that magic cure?
Well this had my curiosity going! Too hard to open the hood when you need to top something off? Who had this car since 2012?
The interior (with the exception of all the bagged piles of garbage in it) looks to be as nice as ever with a perfect dashboard, seats, door panels, and original cassette player.
I love junky cars and beaters but somehow this one affected me. Maybe because you just don't see VWs from the '70s that aren't Beetles, Buses, or Rabbits. I think what really got me was discovering that this ride had been documented so recently looking smart as can be. Either way I hope against all odds somebody buys it from the impound auction and gets it going again, but that's a long shot.


  1. This car seems to have the dashboard from a 2000 VW Passat. The one in the link has the regular dash. Not to say that someone couldn't have done some weird swap! Maybe that's what they took the drivetrain from, and thats why those wheels stick out so far!

    1. Wow great observation! Somehow that totally got by me. My only guess is that they did a quick and dirty swap with a Passat like you mentioned, but once they realized how many computers and wiring they would have to switch over they just took the entire dash with them so that all they would have to do is reconnect all the harness clips. I wonder if it ever ran or if it was a total forfeit of both the drive train and the donor Dasher.
      Great job looking out though!

  2. I would hate to think they they never got it going, but I also hate the thought of someone going Frankenstein on a classic Dasher. A friend of mine has an 81 diesel Dasher wagon, also in white, with brown interior. They drive really nice, for an old VW! And the longitudinal engine placement is pretty cool.