The Passat GT 16v that’s practically a MK2 Golf GTi

The Passat GT 16v that’s practically a MK2 Golf GTi

Justifying a love for the Volkswagen Passat GT 16v may be a tall order. You only need to think about the barroom chat that will inevitably unfold once you’ve announced your new car purchase.

Mate: “So, you’ve bought a B3 Passat estate?”

You: “Yes, but it’s the GT 16v model, which was so much better than the 8v.”

Mate: “OK, but it’s still a Passat wagon, right?”

You: “Yes, but it’s got the same engine as the MK2 Golf GTi and the dashboard you’d find in a Corrado VR6.”

VW Passat GT 16v front seats

It’s at this point you should probably move on to a different topic of conversation. You know, debating the relative merits of the last series of Top Gear, or the chances of Woolwich Arsenal finishing higher than West Ham Albion in the Premier Soccer League this season.

Which of course leaves you to drift into a daydream about what is potentially the coolest car currently for sale on eBay. It’s a 1991 Volkswagen Passat GT 16v and it has been owned by the same person since 1992. Be still our beating hearts.

Rear of VW Passat GT 16v estate

As is typical of eBay searches, it showed up during a needle-in-a-haystack quest to find a Volkswagen Passat W8. Yes – believe it or not – we’ve been on the look out for a W8 for some weeks now, but – aside from a pair of ‘spares or repair’ nightmares – nothing has showed up. Which is typical. You spend a decade building up the courage to take the W8 plunge, only for said car to disappear into the ether.

Naturally, the Passat GT 16v was immediately plonked into the eBay collection marked Anything (that) goes, before we went off and did something else instead.

Only we couldn’t do anything else, because the thought of owning a two-owner, 104,000-mile Passat with a GTi engine and a Corrado dashboard just wouldn’t go away. At £2,495, it’s not cheap, but try finding a better example than this. And crucially, try finding one that hasn’t been ‘treated’ to some ‘tasteful’ modifications along the way.

Front of Volkswagen Passat GT 16v

Performance Passats have always been subtle affairs. It’s as though even Volkswagen itself couldn’t get to grips with the oxymoron that is Passat and performance. The GT 16v was no exception. The saloon version, with its boot lid spoiler, body cladding and 16v boot badge was subtlety in the extreme. But the estate took the levels of discretion even further, doing without a rear spoiler at all.

Maybe that’s the ultimate appeal of this car. Even with a relatively lowly 136bhp on tap, passive rear steering, all-round disc brakes and low profile tyres, the Passat GT 16v isn’t a performance car in the traditional sense. It stems from a time when having children didn’t result in the horror that is a compact MPV. It opened up the world of understated wagon goodness – bags of space, acres of class and yes, even a smidgen of unashamed performance.

VW Passat GT 16v boot up

So, back in 1991, when Mr Whoever of Bournemouth drove into his friendly Volkswagen dealer, H602 LEL helped soften the blow of trading in his beloved Golf GTi. A cursory glance at the dashboard (“it’s the same as the Corrado, love”), the discreet 16v badge (“same engine as the Golf, dear”) and seven-spoke alloys, wrapped in Dunlop Sport tyres, meant that all was well in the world.

It’s a testament to the two previous owners that this particular Passat has survived so well. The Calypso metallic paint still looks gleaming and the entire car looks as fresh as it did when it rolled out of the Bournemouth showroom 23 years ago. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t wear its period number plates. But the body-coloured boot badge, offset by the red 16v badge works an absolute treat and is classic period Volkswagen detailing.

Rear of VW Passat GT 16v

It’s got an MOT until February 2015 and full service history. Believe us when we say that – had we not discovered somebody is coming to collect the car from Banstead on Saturday – we’d have probably added this to the PetrolBlog Fleet. It’s just perfect. And what’s more, there only appears to be 21 left on the road.

But with this particular door closed, we’re left with the Passat W8. Of which the door is still very much ajar.

Thanks to Beacon Car Sales for permission to use the photos.


Written by Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

The chief waffler and person responsible for getting PetrolBlog off the ground in February 2010. Has a deep fascination of cars from the '80s and '90s, especially if they originate from France. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.

13 Comments

    1. Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      That was pretty much the argument put forward by Mrs MajorGav, albeit with the W8 put forward as the case in point.

      You’re right – of course – but there’s pure PetrolBlog logic at work here. I love this for its originality, honesty and rarity. And right now – rightly or wrongly – I’d choose this above most other £2.5k wagons on eBay.

  1. Craig

    Well I’m the lucky owner and obviously agree with everything you’ve written!

    I picked it up today and while it needs a little TLC, and the sunroof had already ground a halt, it is just lovely. Several weekends of repairing and extensively cleaning await, but it’ll be worth it.

  2. Cosmetic Repair

    Wow there’s something special about a car of that age, and condition, that’s only had one or two owners. It’s like being handed a rare family treasure, and it’s your duty to look after it, even if you never even met the previous owner you feel you owe it to them to keep the car in the same condition that you got it in.
    Good buy Craig, look after it well (it seems as though you are already!)

  3. KP

    Blast from the past. I owned one back in 1998. Great car, would hustle along at a reasonable rate, comfortable and practical. Was 21 at the time, possibly not the coolest at the time but for me it increased it appeal. Unfortunately I drove it in such a manner that after 3 years it was scrapped. Reading the article makes me slightly pine for it.

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