If Jalopnik had existed in 1987, its stock value alone may have saved us from Black Monday, as one of the quirkiest automobile ever hit the North American showrooms, the Volkswagen Fox Wagon.
Welcome to Forgotten Classics.
As demonstrated in the previous articles, the goal of this series of essays is be to bring cars that are getting no love back in the limelight. FC is also a thorough analysis of why such cars remained obscure and never got the praise they deserved.
Shooting brake, longitudinally-mounted engine and Germany is a combination of words that sound expensive, however, add Brazilian autoworker's cheap wages to the equation and it's a totally different game of handegg.
As the Golf/Jetta was starting to target the bourgeoisy, VW was in need of an entry level car to fill the gap and go head to head against the mighty North American trio composed of the Chevette, the Omni and the Mercury Lynx.
VW went looking in Southern America and found the Fox, a family of quirky Audi abortions from the 1970's that they could sell for cheap.
The Sedan was nothing to write home about, nor was the coupe, but there was a wagon ...
But wait, it wasn't just another wagon, it was a shooting brake, one of the rarest and most sought-after body style in the history of automobiles. But that's not all, it was a sub 2,000 pounds shooting brake that was only available with a 4-speed manual transmission.
On the inside, a Blaupunkt cassette stereo and a large ashtray were the only amenities. Don't look for airbags or any other post-accident safety measures, the Fox wagon was relying solely on crash avoidance technologies such as a lack of distractions.
Under the hood was a longitudinally mounted 1.8L 4 cylinder engine with proper mechanical fuel injection, no nasty electronics here.
That engine only produced 80 HP and 93 FT/lbs of Torque, but these numbers were possibly underrated. A 4 speed manual transmission was used to send that power to the front wheels. Sadly, the Fox wasn't a rear-wheel drive car.
Sorrowfully, the wagon got axed from the lineup after the 1989 season, leaving only the coupe and the sedan. The next year, the sedan was also axed and only the useless coupe lived for 1991.
It is rumored that VW of North America was concerned that the $6,050 USD Fox would hurt the Golf/Jetta sales, and that's why they put little efforts in the North American marketing of the Fox family.
Nevertheless, the Fox wagon was an amazing vehicle and deserved a better fate, but almost 30 years after its demise, all we can do is hope that the remaining examples are in good hands.
Thanks for reading.