Driven: 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SEL

2017 Volkswagen Passat propelled by a 170 hp turbocharged four-banger | Larry Edsall photos
2017 Volkswagen Passat propelled by a 170 hp turbocharged four-banger | Larry Edsall photos

Turns out Carroll Shelby was right.

Ol’ Shel’ once told me that all you really needed in any car was 170 horsepower. That was plenty to get going and to keep up with traffic at — and even beyond — whatever speeds might be posted on the fastest of American freeways.

Of course, in his next breath, Shelby told me about a 1,000-horsepower engine he and his team were building for their latest Ford Mustang project. Continue reading

Another VW microbus shocker at Barrett-Jackson in Palm Beach

The 1961 Volkswagen 23-window microbus sold for more than $250,000 | Barrett-Jackson photos
The 1961 Volkswagen 23-window microbus sold for more than $290,000 | Barrett-Jackson photos

Aside from Barrett-Jackson’s customary collector car offerings of muscle cars, cruisers, customs and exotics that were sold during the 15th annual Palm Beach, Florida, auction this past weekend, it was another eye-popping, record-setting sale of a Volkswagen microbus that had auction watchers shaking their heads and VW enthusiasts doing high fives all around.

An impeccably restored 1961 23-window VW Deluxe Microbus sold for a stunning $291,500, including the 10 percent auction fee, during bidding Saturday, selling far and away above the expected result. Hagerty’s Price Guide pegs the value of a No. 1 concours-condition ’61 23-window VW Deluxe bus at $134,000. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1969 Volkswagen Westfalia camper bus

The VW camper bus is said to be ready to roll on a cross-country road trip
The VW camper bus is said to be ready to roll on a cross-country road trip

It’s spring, and the open road is calling. And what better craft for an extended road trip than the Pick of the Day, a 1969 Volkswagen Westfalia camper bus with all the trimmings.

According to the Sonoma, California, dealer advertising the VW camper on ClassicCars.com, this Westy is ready for a national tour. The flat-four engine has been rebuilt and bored out to 1,776 cc, the ad says, which should help provide enough muscle for these typically underpowered vehicles. The key to driving any VW microbus is to abide by one simple rule: never be in a hurry. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan S

Volkswagen Tiguan is a a modest-looking but sharp driving little SUV  | Volkwagen photos
Volkswagen Tiguan is a a modest-looking but sharp driving little SUV | Volkwagen photos

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a modest-looking compact SUV in a market in which extravagant styling and trim are major selling points. The interior is pretty standard stuff, too. Nothing to get excited about.

But what Tiguan lacks in panache it makes up for in drivability. This is what Volkswagen does well, presenting a car or SUV that feels solid and performs above par. The 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four is lively, the steering is quick and precise, and the handling is surperior for this popular class of little truckette. Continue reading

2016 top stories: 3 – Jerry Seinfeld Porsche auction

The blue 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder was the top seller at more-than $5.3 million | Bob Golfen photos
The blue 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder was the top seller at more-than $5.3 million | Bob Golfen photos

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is a long-term Porsche addict with an enviable stable acquired with the riches earned from his stage and TV career. Seinfeld was never all-that public about his classic Porsche obsession, but neither was he secretive; even a casual watcher of the Jerry Seinfeld show could identify Porsche posters on the walls of his TV-studio/New York apartment. Continue reading

Driven (briefly): A conquering Titan, plus off-road wagons 

The Nissan Titan Pro 4X won the Extreme Off Road category |  Mark Elias Media Services photos
The Nissan Titan Pro 4X won the Extreme Off Road category

(Editor’s note: Our staff recently did a series of brief drives — either around 30 miles on pavement or on a short but challenging off-road course — in several cars during the media day at the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle awards program held in the Phoenix area. Here are Bob Golfen’s impressions of four of the vehicles he drove during that program.)

Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1973 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

The Karmann Ghia coupe wears a fresh orange paint job
The Karmann Ghia coupe wears a fresh orange paint job

The sporty Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is a hand-built German GT car that is reliable and easy to work on, and usually available at an affordable price.

The Pick of the Day is a 1973 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia coupe that represents the final design for these iconic and stylish cars, still brimming with Italian-design panache even though they gained U.S.-mandated impact bumpers and enlarged taillights. Continue reading

My Classic Car: Orson’s 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle

Orson couldn't afford a real woodie, so he built his own
Orson couldn’t afford a real woodie, so he built his own

I always  wanted to own a woodie wagon but I never could afford one, I thought.

So I got the idea of using the next best thing — a Volkswagen bug. It had the running boards and outside fenders and look of the vehicles from the ‘40s. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1974 Volkswagen Thing Acapulco Edition

The Volkswagen Thing is reputed to be an authentic and original Acapulco Edition
The Volkswagen Thing is reputed to be an authentic and original Acapulco Edition

There’s something about these little beach cars that get people excited. The Fiat Jolly, with its wicker seats, cutaway doors and fringe top, is the sunny poster child of this quirky collector car niche, but there are a few other European models that have been fashioned into seaside cruisers. It’s easy to see why. What could be more fun?

The Pick of the Week is a rare find, what is said to be a totally authentic and documented 1974 Volkswagen Thing Acapulco Edition. The vast majority of VW Things were of the standard setup -– strange unto itself -– while only around 400 Acapulcos were built during a three-month period in 1974, according to the listing on ClassicCars.com. Continue reading