Ratty Rescue: Holy (Not Yet Holey) Grail

There’s a new Passat waiting in the wings, so this week’s Ratty Rescue is from Volkswagen’s midsize sedan’s glory days. This 2004 wagon is a bit special, and a (little) bit rusty. Bring it home and patch that cancer before eats holes in the body.

Talk to any wagon lover, and within five minutes of the conversation, they’ll mention these two features: all-wheel-drive and manual transmission. What we have here is the holy grail of B5.5 Passats. No, not the W8 manual wagon. Something a bit saner and quite a bit cheaper to keep on the road: a 2004 1.8T 4Motion manual wagon. This engine/drivetrain combo was only available in ’04 and less than half of the 1.8T/4Motion models made had manual transmissions. Unicorn status? Maybe.

This Passat has a lot going for it. It has a new-ish timing belt, a new starter, it doesn’t leak, and it looks pretty clean for a 15-year-old car with 171,000 miles. VWVortex member autoelite also has done a number of upgrades as well. It has an APR chip tune, Kenwood double-din head unit, VW OEM roof rack crossbars, and two sets of Audi wheels (one with winter tires) included. Black leather seats from a GLX wagon were swapped in for the original grey vinyl ones.

Being a Ratty Rescue, there are some issues. The main one is rust. The largest is on the driver’s door. There’s also some on the leading edge of the hood. Get that fixed pronto to keep this rare bird in tip-top shape.

So if you’re looking for a rather rare, rather quick all-wheel-drive wagon with a third pedal, this one could be yours for only $4000. Take a look at the ad in our classifieds, or check out the car in person – it’s in Rochester, New York.