Eugene was once a safe haven for Foxes; no longer. They’ve been thoroughly exterminated except for a few cowering in the bushes. But here’s one that came out in broad daylight. It’s a bit worse for wear, but it seems to be in loving hands. Quite likely because this is by far the most desirable of the species: a last-year GL, which means it had the five speed transmission.
The Fox, which was a Brazilian VW Gol exported to the US starting in 1987, arrived as a low-price alternative to cars like the Hyundai Excel and such. It came only with a four speed stick, as an automatic was never mated to this car. The 1.8 L VW four gave it quite brisk acceleration, but the lack of an overdrive fifth gear made it less than ideal for extended highway driving. Power steering was also not available; very 1970s, like in the Audi Fox of that era. The VW Fox/Gol is built on a shortened version of the B1 platform.
I’m not exactly sure what year the GL model arrived, but I strongly suspect it was 1991, when the front end was also cleaned up a bit with flush aero headlights as well as other minor changes to make it look a bit more 90s than early 80s.
As this shot shows, rear seat room was a bit skimpy if the driver used the full range of his seat’s travel. The interior was a mix of good quality materials, like this upholstery, and some rather nasty hard plastic bits too. But all in all, it was quite serviceable. And it was a simple and rather rugged machine, which explains why there were so many hereabouts: Eugenians like that sort of thing. The Brazilian Corolla.
The Fox gave VW a cheap car to sell, and that worked reasonably well for the first few years. But sales started to droop towards the end, and a car without an available automatic or power steering had no future in the US.
In addition to the two and four door sedans, there was also this two-door wagon, which I shot a few years back. That was a major 1970s throw-back too, as genuine two door station wagons were long gone by this time. The VW Nomad.
We’ve covered the Fox and Gol in more depth before: