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This VW Golf Country is a very rare model, combining the standard car’s robust chassis and mechanicals with genuine off-road capability. Its engine is a 1.8-litre inline-four petrol, producing around 98bhp, with Syncro four-wheel drive via a five-speed manual transmission. This car has been used as intended, with the odometer showing 218,214 km (135,591 miles).

The Golf Country was a development of the Golf Syncro, designed to showcase a radical application of the four-wheel drive system. Its suspension was upgraded to include a 120mm rise in ground clearance, protective bumper bars were installed at the front and rear, and plastic cladding arch extensions were added. Frames and plates were added under the car to protect the Syncro differential and propshaft, as well as the engine area.

All examples of the Golf Country rolled off the production line in left-hand drive, and this particular car is a 1991 model year example. It was imported to the UK in 2016 by its current owner, who has covered around 300 km in the car since then.

Its bodywork is presented in generally good order, with no significant panel damage, and with just some small rust spots around the car - at the bottom of the driver’s side doors, for example. There is also some minor damage to the metal around the rear towing eye. The paint is described as being in fair condition, with blemishes and lacquer damage in places, and evidently requires some remedial work. Some of the plastic trims have faded over time, but the car appears to be original and complete, including the front bullbar, spot lights and fog lights. It rides on the correct 15-inch Speedline alloy wheels, and has a full-size spare mounted on a swing frame at the rear.

The interior is also in need of refurbishment, though the grey cloth on the front seats appears to be undamaged, but well worn. The rear bench is more heavily worn and discoloured, and has a large hole in the fabric in the central section. The trim on the parcel shelf is ripped and peeled away from the backing board. Like the exterior, the cabin appears to be highly original, and has simply been used as intended over the years.

This Golf Country is a runner, with no known mechanical faults, though would certainly benefit from a full service and renewal of the consumables. It was put through an MOT test on 28 April 2016 at 217,914 km, which resulted in a clean pass with no advisories. The wheels - including the spare - are shod in Vredestein Snowtrac tyres in size 195/60 R15.

This VW Golf Country Syncro is a very rare car, which has a cult following among enthusiasts, and is undoubtedly a bona fide modern classic. It presents as a straightforward project, which could be smartened up and used as a rugged go-anywhere hatchback, or could form the basis of a more extensive restoration.

All cars and motorbikes on Collecting Cars are run through an online HPI check. This vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and has no finance owing.

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