Welcome to The Carchive, the Xclusive-To-Hooniverse featured series that no other web-based automotive magazine would even consider hosting. As usual I’ve put my blindfold on and grabbed a handful of random documents to take us through the week, three original sales documents that have probably out-lived the vast majority of the cars they were trying to sell.
Todays machine is coincidentally very festive, being (presumably) named after one of Santa’s reindeer. In Europe it was the Passat; in the US it was the Dasher.
“When a car takes you where you want to go in comfort and style, that’s called luxury”
This is a brochure from ’76, at which point the car had been on the market in the USA for two years, and in Europe for three. As far as I can see, though, it was never actively sold as a Luxury car. The closely related Audi 80 may have been, of course. But considering that the Passat and Dasher were only one evolutionary step divorced from the Type Four family that had gone before, and which could never realistically be described as luxurious.
No, what this brochure was all about was extolling the many virtues of the Dasher; how it was supposed to be many cars rolled into one. A luxurious Sedan was the first suggestion.
“When it lets you take all you want with room to spare’ that’s called practicality”
A willing beast of burden was the next. With the engine at the front, and front-wheel-drive, the rear end was immediately at an advantage compared to the 411 and 412 in terms of their ability to accommodate loads. The floor was low, with no transaxle and, especially, no engine beneath it.
Unlike the Audi 80 which was so mechanically similar, the Dasher and Passat were offerred only in longroof and fastback forms, the latter with three or five doors but both sharing the same smooth tail treatment. Both models had space for plenty of luggage; the wagon extending to 51.6 cubic feet if you dropped the rear seatback.
“When it offers features like fuel injection and rack-and-pinion steering, that’s called engineering”
Fuel Injection had appeared for ’76 on the Dasher, a Bosch system being used mainly for emissions reasons rather than in the search for outright high-performance. There was never really a Dasher that deserved the name Dasher, to be honest; Plodder was probably more apt; 78hp was your lot, good for a 101mph top end at the death.
“When a car offers you all of this and craftsmanship as well, it’s called Dasher.”
It was a strongly engineered car, as the headline rightly stated; certainly they went on giving sterling, if not especially exciting, service on European roads for many years, although I couldn’t tell you when I last saw one.
From my perspective, the three-door Passat was one of the most memorable shapes in VW history, looking very much like an upsized version of VWs original Scirocco which was penned by the same chap, Mr Giugiaro.
Today, survivors are few and far between, and those that do turn up have invariably fallen into the hands of the DubScene fraternity, so finding one which still has travel left in the suspension and the ability to pass over speed-humps may be a challenge.
(Disclaimer: All images are of original manufacturer publicity materials, photographed by me on a miserable, wet, dark December day. Copyright remains property of VW Group, whose folded-paper school of design is sadly missed)