Ever seen this Golf convertible with all-wheel drive?

Volkswagen of America shares a look at the unusual Biagini Passo

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2053
Passo
The Biagini Passo, a 4wd Volkswagen Golf convertible, was done in Italy and only a few were produced | VW of America photos

Through more than 40 years of production, the Volkswagen Golf hatchback family tree has branched in numerous ways, Volkswagen of America notes in a news release, pointing to everything from the Volkswagen Pickup to the GTI and the R. 

“In Europe, the second-generation Golf spawned the Golf Country, an all-wheel-drive version with a rugged look that presaged the current crossover era.”

However, a small Italian company took that evolution even further — “some may say a step too far,” VWoA notes — and created a limited-production run of the ACM Biagini Passo.

Reportedly inspired by the Meyers Manx dune buggy, the VW Thing and other fun-in-the-sun vehicles, Biagini took the Mk2 Golf country chassis and modified the body shell from the Mk 1 Golf Cabriolet to produce the Passo.

Headlamps and taillights were borrowed from other manufacturers’ vehicles, ride height was raised and an external bull bar was added. 

VW notes that although there was room for 5 people, “the speed at which they traveled were limited by the 1.8-liter four-cylinder’s 98 hp.”

“Initially destined for central and eastern Europe, it’s not clear how many Passos were built after its launch in 1990; some sources say 300, others, well less than 100. 

“It’s abundantly clear that today, few Passos remain in drivable condition, as a lack of rustproofing doomed many to the junk heap.”

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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