The Passat was responsible for starting a new era for Volkswagen: launched in 1973 in Europe and in July 1974 in Brazil, it was the first VW with liquid cooling engine to be successful. It was quite challenging, as the company itself hit the chest and said that the “on the air” engines were better and more reliable than the more modern “water-cooled” propellers in order to justify their choice.
But the times were different in the early 1970s: air-cooled engines were almost extinct, and Volks was the only major manufacturer to bet on them. The car that changed this was the Passat, which was also the first to have traction and engine in the front – even if it was installed in the longitudinal, when the transverse installation, which saved space and caused less mechanical losses in the transmission, was already widely used.
Still, the Passat platform helped Volks get on the right foot in a new segment. It was a well finished, handsome car (with the indefectible signature of Giorgetto Giugiaro), with robust mechanics, internal space and dynamic behavior more than satisfactory. Of course, it was not long before VW decided to take advantage of Passat’s potential as a sport – out there, of course, and here in Brazil, with the 1976 Passat TS.
It’s with him that we started another post in our series with the recipes of national sportsmen, who already spoke of the Fiat Uno and the Ford Escort. Be sure to check it out if you have not already!
Passat TS, 1976
When it was released, the Brazilian Volkswagen Passat was equipped with a four-cylinder whose design was very close to what would become the AP, but with certain different measures – length of the connecting rods, stroke of the pistons and diameter of the cylinders. The common versions had a 1.5-liter engine (76.5 × 80 mm, diameter x stroke, totaling 1,471 cm³), called BR. It was in 1976, with the arrival of TS, that the Passat adopted the 1.6 engine, BS code.
With 1,588 cm³ displacement thanks to the stroke extended to 79.5 mm, the engine used a double body carburetor, while the 1.5 had a single body Solex carburetor. The compression ratio was also higher, from 7.5: 1 instead of 7.4: 1. In both cases the only possible fuel was gasoline, because even the German carburetors for alcohol engines were still incompatible with the project.
The result was a considerable increase in power: from 65 hp to 80 hp, in both cases at 5,600 rpm. The torque also increased, from 11.5 mkgf to 13.2 mkgf, always at 3,600 rpm. The change was manual of four gears, as in the other Passat, but the second and fourth gears were longer. With this, the Passat tS was able to reach 100 km / h in 13.1 seconds, with a maximum of 160 km / h. It was a nice improvement compared to the Passat 1.5, which needed 16.1 seconds to reach 100 km / h and went up to 150 km / h – performance that was just ok, and was one of the few criticisms of the Passat at its launch.
The suspension system of the VW Passat was already quite effective, with the McPherson system at the front and torsion axle at the rear, and underwent a fine tuning in the Passat TS – which had wheels of 13 × 5 inches instead of 13 × 4.5 Inches, wearing 175/70 measures instead of 155/80 tires. The brakes were disc in the front and the drum in the rear, as in the other Passat.
Visually, the TS Passat differed from the others at the front, which had four circular headlights instead of two. On the side, it had a belt at the waistline that ran to the trunk lid, with TS (Touring Sport) on the back. The following year the band went down to the floor and went to the ends of the car until 1979, when it was replaced by a more discreet track at the base of the windows.
Inside, the TS Passat had a smaller four-spoke steering wheel with a Wolfsburg emblem on the horn button, a small spindle counter in the other version, and three auxiliary counters on the center console: level Of the oil, voltmeter and watch.
Also in 1979 the Passat was re-stylized for the first time, adopting the front of the Audi 80, but with the VW emblem, and wider bumpers. The modifications brought a more modern and still pleasant air, which continued until the end of 1982, when the Passat changed again.
Passat GTS Pointer
In the 1983 lineup, the Passat received a new 1.6 engine, the MD-270, or “Motor Torque” in the advertising campaigns of VW. This engine had redesigned pistons and a higher compression ratio of 8.3: 1 in the gasoline version and 12.0: 1 in the alcohol engines. With this, the power was 72 hp and 82 hp, respectively, always at 5,200 rpm. The torque went from 12 mkgf to 2,600 rpm with gasoline or alcohol. This was the engine adopted not only by the sports version, now called GTS Pointer, but also by the most common models.
In spite of the exclusive look of the emblems and the front spoiler, the Passat GTS Pointer had the same mechanics as the others, which displeased the model’s admirers. This issue was only solved in June 1984 with the adoption of the 1.8-liter engine already used in VW Santana, and very similar to the Gol GT, except for the use of a tighter valve control.
With this, the GTS Pointer had exclusive mechanics again. Although not using the name AP, it already had the same measurements as the AP-800: 81 mm stroke and 86.4 mm diameter. The carburetor was double-barreled and power was 92 hp at 5,000 rpm, with torque of 14.9 mkgf at 2600 rpm with alcohol. The gasoline engine delivered 85 hp at 5,000 rpm and 14.6 mkgf of torque at the same 2,600 rpm. The exchange followed with four gears.
In 1985, the Passat was restyled again, this time receiving plastic bumper bumpers, and in the GTS, there was a sloping side strip at the bottom. The wheels of the sport passed to 14 inches, with the famous design “Snowflake”, and to put tires 185/60. The interior, which had a completely redesigned dashboard that looked much more suited to its time, had a much larger spigot and remained with the auxiliary counters on the center console, but the steering wheel was now the famous “four-ball.” The Recaro seats were gray lining and excellent support.
The engine also changed: now it received a valve command equal to that of the Gol GT (the famous 049G) that raised the power for 99 hp at 5,600 rpm and torque, to 14.6 mkgf at 3,200 rpm, but this only in the version To alcohol. The biggest news, however, was the four-speed gearbox, which made the Passat GTS Pointer reach 100 km / h in 10.9 seconds, with a maximum of 170 km / h. The suspension gained slightly more comfort-oriented feel in order to enhance the refinement impression afforded by the better finished interior.
This was the last update of the Passat GTS Pointer, which was already beginning to decline in sales, outpaced by rivals such as Chevrolet Monza S / R and Gol GT itself in public preference.