With most of the world taking a pause, including automakers, some companies have been filling the time with highlighting technology and history. Occasionally, that history is quite strange, as is the case with the Biagini Passo that Volkswagen has shared. It’s an off-road-oriented, all-wheel-drive, first-generation Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet, sort of. Let us explain.
First there’s the name. It’s not called a Volkswagen because this weird little convertible was cobbled together by the Italian company Biagini. It is certainly a Volkswagen in nearly every other respect, though. As noted, the body is basically all a first-generation Cabriolet except for tweaks like the fender flares and the off-road bumper, plus unique lights and grille. Underneath are more VW parts, but they’re the drivetrain parts from the second-generation Golf Country, including that car’s Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch-developed all-wheel-drive system The Country was itself strange in ways similar to the Biagini, as it was also lifted with rugged exterior enhancements such as the hatch-mounted full-size spare. Instead of the old convertible body, though, it had the then-new second-generation Golf four-door hatchback shell. The engine was the second-generation Golf’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder making 98 horsepower.
Volkswagen says that no one knows the exact number of Biagini Passos built, but estimates say there were between 100 and 300. The company also says that not many survive to this day. Of course the idea of a convertible crossover certainly survived, showing up on all variety of machines from the highly bizarre Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, to the less unusual Land Rover Range Rover Evoque convertible and Volkswagen’s own T-Roc convertible.