You Need This: a Saveiro, an air-cooled, front-engine VW pickup

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Jul 10, 2024 | Volkswagen, Volkswagen Saveiro

Photography Courtesy Mecum

Party up front, business in the back.

No, not an El Camino but a Volkswagen Saveiro, the pickup version of the Brazilian-market Gol wagon. Power came from a front-mounted, air-cooled VW engine paired with a front-drive layout.

So it’s from the ’60s or ’70s, right? No, the Saveiro came out in 1983, the same year as the Great Video Game Crash. (A sad time for those who endured the feared Atari Thumb.)

This particular VW Saveiro was built in 1984 and will cross the Mecum block on Wednesday, July 10 during the auction company’s Kissimmee sale.

What will the Saveiro bring? Well, the very same truck sold for $11,500 via Bring a Trailer last year.

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Comments
David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/10/24 9:59 a.m.

Hopefully this remains in the greater Daytona area so we can see it. 

earlybroncoguy1
earlybroncoguy1 Reader
7/10/24 10:14 a.m.

So, does the engine bolt to a "normal" transmission with some sort of bellhousing adapter, or does it use some type of torque tube to transmit power to a rear mounted differential?

This is the first time I've ever seen a FRONT - mounted VW flat four driving the rear wheels. Interesting.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa MegaDork
7/10/24 10:46 a.m.

Something seems definitely off.  Looking at the BAT Auction Listing that seems like a FWD.  Image 49/58 shows the exhaust traveling down the center tunnel with no driveshaft.

gearheadE30
gearheadE30 Dork
7/10/24 11:41 a.m.

I thought these were FWD? So far as I know, the only VW that can claim front engine RWD is the LT van/truck from around the same time. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/10/24 11:46 a.m.
Mr_Asa said:

Something seems definitely off.  Looking at the BAT Auction Listing that seems like a FWD.  Image 49/58 shows the exhaust traveling down the center tunnel with no driveshaft.

Also from that listing:

Power is sent to the front wheels through a four-speed manual transaxle.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa MegaDork
7/10/24 11:50 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:
Mr_Asa said:

Something seems definitely off.  Looking at the BAT Auction Listing that seems like a FWD.  Image 49/58 shows the exhaust traveling down the center tunnel with no driveshaft.

Also from that listing:

Power is sent to the front wheels through a four-speed manual transaxle.

 

 

(To tell the truth, I started looking for underbody pics cause the first few results showed up in Portugese, then just continued looking at pics and not bothering to read)

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/10/24 12:01 p.m.

Pics are more fun than reading, and make you feel like more of a detective :) You're not wrong, there are pics of a tunnel with just an exhaust in it.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
7/10/24 12:07 p.m.

Good eye to all of you. Everything I'm seeing also confirms it's front wheel drive. I've fixed the text.

A rear-wheel-drive Saveiro would be pretty rad, how hard would it be to make it that way?

Oapfu
Oapfu GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/10/24 12:12 p.m.

There's a Gol in Colorado Springs for sale on FBM, just under $10k OBO.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/983344027131616/

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa MegaDork
7/10/24 12:22 p.m.
Colin Wood said:

Good eye to all of you. Everything I'm seeing also confirms it's front wheel drive. I've fixed the text.

A rear-wheel-drive Saveiro would be pretty rad, how hard would it be to make it that way?

I think earlybronco got the easiest ways.  Id go torque tube and beyond the torque tube to the rear, use front suspension for the back.

Me, I'm wondering if you can get a rear driveshaft to come out the front transaxle and make it AWD

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