The Volkswagen Passat was never a flashy car, quite the contrary: it’s as if the design brief was always to build a vehicle that would go unnoticed.
This holds true especially for the first three generations before Ferdinand Piëch decided to take the Passat upscale along with the entire VW lineup. The third-generation model, codenamed B3 (B4 after the facelift), is highly significant for the U.S. as it introduced the Passat nameplate to the market – the previous two generations were sold as the Dasher and Quantum, respectively.
The Passat B3 to have was the VR6 model, best served in the wagon body style called Variant in Europe. This version mixed practicality, performance and understated design in a package that seems to fit the definition of a “sleeper wagon” perfectly.
This model was powered by a 2.8-liter VR6 engine shared with the Corrado and Golf Mk3 delivering a healthy 174 PS (172 HP) and 235 Nm (173 lb-ft) of torque. Mated to a five-speed manual transmission, the naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine enabled the Passat Variant to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.6 seconds and top out at 218 km/h (135 mph).
It’s not easy to find a third-generation Passat Variant VR6 example worth buying nowadays but you might have more luck if you’re willing to import one from Europe. Holland’s Auto Leitner has one in stock that seems to tick all the right boxes.
Built in 1992, it’s completely stock and in great shape too. It’s said to have covered only 87,276 km (54,230 miles) from new and the fully documented maintenance record proves it. The car is sold with a large folder of documents which also include the original order form, original purchase invoice, all brochures. It also comes with all three original keys with code card and the original tool set.
There’s not much to comment about its looks, as the car appears to be in top notch condition. It’s also nicely specced, with a satin silver metallic paint, matching 15-inch polished “Estoril” alloys, and contrasting black elements including the roof rails.
The standard equipment was generous and included power sunroof, power windows, power-adjustable side mirrors, power steering, central locking, trip computer, VW Gamma stereo, height-adjustable front seats, 60:40 split-folding rear seats, leather steering wheel and gear stick, and more.
Safety features include ABS, EDS electronic lock differential, rear window wiper, front fog lights, and four headrests – no airbags, though. You can have all this for €8,750, which is the equivalent of $9,600 at the current exchange rates. It’s not cheap for a 1992 Passat but we believe you’ll have a hard time finding another one like it. Plus, being 27 years old, you can even import it in the States under 25-year law.