It’s been a long long while since I’ve done a Used Car Face-Off and never before on a Monday, but with AP tests done and a particular car conveniently popping up on Craigslist the circumstances just seemed right.

So, with that said, today we have three of Ferdinand Piëch’s masterpieces for an almighty Volkswagen future that was never realized. Which of Ferdinand’s Follies will be your favorite that you won’t mind dumping thousands of dollars into annually to keep going?

The first contestant: 2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 Estate - $7,800

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The first of Piëch’s great inventions was this, the people’s Passat for the rich. Not satisfied with already having the A4 as VAG’s entry executive, Piëch decided to overlap segments haphazardly with this 8-cylinder family wagon. Here, though, is an exceedingly rare stick-shift estate version which came in double digits to the states, most of which are now tucked away in climate cooled garages or junkyards, depending on the depth of the owners’ pockets. $7,800 is a low cost of entry especially for this extra exclusive member of the breed with 126K miles, but will maintenance costs in the quadruple digits for a relatively regular car mean that you’d rather risk it with another of Piëch’s monsters instead?

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The second contestant: 2004 Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI - $7,500

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Next up in Piëch’s great repertoire was this, a ten-cylindered family SUV. A far cry from the proletariat V6 petrol that my aunt currently uses to shuttle her five year old around SF, this beast put out a respectable 309 hp and a massive 553 lb ft of torque when new although a few ponies have probably escaped over its 157K mile lifespan. Still, that’s a lot of motor for the money and this Touareg is probably good to tow just about any trailer you’ve got, until it breaks of course. Is it the ultimate family hauler for you?

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The third contestant: 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton V8 - $7,000 

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Ironically, the car that cost the most new and was Piëch’s flagship back in 2004 is the cheapest of our three today, probably because of its 162K miles on a relatively ordinary V8, at least compared to a W8 and a twin-turbodiesel V10. That didn’t mean the car was ordinary, though, as every single damned aspect of this thing has been engineered to perfection. However, are you willing to see if that engineering has held up over the past decade and a half, or is the Phaeton a box of knick-knacks, each waiting to break at its own time?

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