2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 wagon - 123k miles - $5000 - Bellingham, WA

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For a cool cheap wagon, I don’t think you can do much better than this well-kept B5.5 generation Passat in rare W8 trim, which includes of course the 4.0 liter 270 hp W8 engine plus Haldex all-wheel-drive. This car also features the Sport package, with beefier suspension bits and beautiful BBS Madras wheels.

Sure you might need to have a good friend who is also a VW mechanic. These have a reputation for being a bit troublesome. But this one has already had a lot of work done, including an engine-out (!) timing chain service as well as recent water pump, fuel pump, and ABS pump replacements.

These were offered with a 6-speed manual gearbox; however, many reviewers of the day weren’t too impressed with it and noted that the 5-speed automatic (fitted here) was better suited to the car.

This one’s available on craigslist HERE by a private seller in Bellingham, Washington, for $5000, which is super reasonable for such a well-looked-after example.

VIN: WVWZK63B53E175109

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Guy in my old neighborhood had one of these in blue. I don’t think I’ve seen one since.