Volkswagen 4x4 Golf Country

Back in the day VW built a 4X4 Golf

Riley Riley

Volkswagen’s best selling model is now the Tiguan SUV.

Launched in 2007, it was originally billed as an off-road version of the Golf — or so we were led to believe.

In fact, Tiguan is or was based on the same platform as the larger Passat and since its launch, more than 6 million of the cars have been produced, with one rolling off a production line every 35 seconds somewhere in the world.

But long before the Tiguan, there was an off road version of the Golf called the Golf Country, with all-wheel drive, an increased ride height and more rugged appearance that included a spare wheel that was mounted on the tailgate.

This rare 4×4 VW came direct from the factory with a 125mm suspension lift, skid plates and tubular metal struts added to make it more rigid.

Volkswagen built 7735 examples of the Country between 1990 and 1991.


But not to be outdone, there was a thing called the Biagini Passo, produced in limited numbers by a small Italian company called ACM.

The Passo was essentially the chassis of the Mark II Country with the modified body of a Mark 1 Cabriolet bolted to it.

With headlights and tail lights borrowed from other manufacturers, a raised ride height and bull bar, the Passo looked like no other Golf before it.

It could hold five people with the top down, though forward progress was somewhat limited by the modest 1.8-litre 72kW four-cylinder engine.

Produced from 1990 to 1993, only about 65 of the cars are thought to have been produced, but few survive because unfortunately they were prone to rust.

ACM joined the chassis and body with an in-house made subframe, with other changes to the front and rear.

Passo was a real bitza. The front fenders and bonnet were Biagini items, but the rest came from an assortment of other makes and models.

The headlights and indicators were sourced from the 1980-1985 Fiat Panda, while the rear lights were from the 1983 Opel Kadett D sedan and the side indicators from the 1983 Fiat Ritmo.

The rear hatch made way for a large, plastic fold down flap, while the rear window could also be folded up separately.

Inside, the dashboard was also sourced from the convertible, with the addition of a grab handle for the front seat passenger to hang on to when the going got tough.

Imported by G. Enning in Dorsten, the Biagini Passo was sold in very limited numbers through isolated VW dealerships in Germany.


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