A B3 Passat Suddenly Seems Like a Cool Project Car Worth Restoring

March 20 Feature Photo: Elias Howe's project Passat, snapped by Dawson Dillard.

I can honestly say I haven’t thought about Volkswagen Passats of the early ’90s since they were knew, until this one popped up on my Facebook feed. Now I’m all “oh yeah, that’s funky!”

March 20, 2021 Car Bibles Feature Photo Details

  • Car(s): 1993 Volkswagen Passat GLX, 12v VR6 with a five-speed manual
  • Location: Lake Stanley near Reno, Nevada
  • Photog: Dawson Dillard
  • Camera: iPhone 11

I really dig the chunky, boxy body. It looks great sitting low… even though it’s missing a few body panels. Elias Howe, the car’s owner, posted this and a few other pics in the Radwood Facebook group with a caption along the lines of “I’m going to restore this instead of selling it.” I thought that, and the vibe of this image in particular, synced up nicely with the energy here at Car Bibles so I shot him a message to ask if we could feature the photo and some details about it.

Howe was kind enough to oblige and added a little backstory:

“…there aren’t too many details to share about the car. A funny story is how initially I took my friends to drive by a house that had a Mercedes 190 Evo outside but when we got there, they saw the B3 and were far more interested. I wasn’t too convinced about the car and thought it was ugly until the owner talked me into test driving it and that’s where I fell in love. The sound, the feel, it was perfect. I knew I had to get it. A year after buying it and weekend driving, I decided I wanted to do a complete overhaul on the car to restore it to factory spec with a little bit of flare which I plan on getting from a few Porsche parts I have on hand!”

A B3 Passat is definitely not a performance beast in 2021, but apparently they were sharp enough to be considered decent executive express cars when they were new. From a 1993 Car & Driver writeup: “You’d never guess it by the GLX’s subdued appearance, but VW’s VR6 engine transformed a sleepy sedan into a back-road runner.”

We’re going to start soliciting pictures from you folks in an official capacity soon, so stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, tell us what you think about these old Passats!

Andrew P. Collins
Andrew P. Collins

Andrew’s the Editor-In-Chief of Car Bibles and an experienced writer, amateur mechanic, and off-road expedition guide with just a little racing experience. He’s particularly fond of tuner cars and old trucks. Contact the author here.