Volkswagen has been dabbling in SUV-type machinery longer than most, and would probably be more vocal about the heritage connection between the Type 166 of the 1940s and its current SUV lineup if it wasn’t for the unsavoury goose-stepping military types who benefited from the all-wheel drive Schwimmwagen’s cross country (and cross-water) abilities.
The company’s first SUV of the modern age didn’t happen until Volkswagen launched the Touareg in 2003. But it did market off-road vehicles a decade before that, as this 1992 Golf Country up for sale in Germany reminds us.
Based on the 1984-92 five-door Mk2 Golf, the Country was an official VW product, but not built in-house by the carmaker. Instead, production was farmed out to Steyr-Daimler-Puch in Austria, who took the regular all-wheel drive Golf Syncro and boosted ground clearance to 8.3-in (210 mm) by mounting the Golf body on a separate ladder chassis before adding skid plates underneath and relocating the spare wheel to the trunk lid.
A select bunch of VW employees who worked on the project were apparently able to buy one of 50 Country GTIs equipped with the hot hatch’s fuel-injected 1.8-liter four, according to some reports, but everybody else had to make do with the 89 hp (90 PS) carb-fed 1.8 from the regular Golf.
That’s the motor this immaculate Golf Country currently for sale on Germany’s Mobil.de website is packing, but the car itself is a little more special than most Country models. That’s because it’s one of 558 Chrome Edition cars that benefited from extra equipment including chrome bull bars, a sliding Webasto sunroof and a luxurious beige leather interior.
If the leather in this example looks good that’s because this one-owner Country has covered just 4,600 miles (7,400 km) since it was registered in 1992, the last of only a couple of seasons on sale following the model’s first appearance at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show as the Montana concept. Visually, you might argue that it looks kind of silly, but it’s definitely cool with it.
Would you take this rare, oddball proto-crossover VW over a new Tiguan or ID.4? Funky as it is, we think the €49,990 ($55,000) price might help influence your decision…