The original VW 1100-1600cc engines weren’t great at anything in particular, save being ubiquitous enough for their quirks to enter near common knowledge for a generation of gearheads. They offered mid double-digit horsepower and 20s mpgs in exchange for major maintenance intervals shorter than today’s oil change gaps. Today’s eBay find forces us to wonder: is a 50-ish horsepower diesel a better option?
Listed only as a “1.6L diesel”, we’re left to assume it’s a non-turbo from a late-80s model. How it’s driving those wheels (adapted to Beetle transaxle or somehow using its own) remains a mystery. 40mpg is attractive, and maybe there are some tweaks to be implemented on the motor to get a few more lb-ft or hp, but even then you’re left with a clattering nag of a motor.
We could overlook the shortcomings of the oil-burner were the car in great shape, but the rustbelt location and generally half-assed looking interior suggest otherwise. When the address is in Chicago, “surface rust on floor pan” means “start shopping for replacement metal”. Luckily, it’s only a few hundred bucks to replace . After you’re done with the metal work, there’s the stained headliner and plumbing on the engine to deal with.
Opening bid is already optimistic at $1200, but apparently there’s a reserve. What’d you pay for something like this?