The search for the oldest U.S.-market diesel Volkswagen was open to registered running vehicles. The winner, a 1977 Rabbit owned by Clint Wilson in Tehachapi, Calif., was determined by the vehicle identification number. Volkswagen anticipated the vehicle would be a Rabbit diesel, as 12,393 were sold in 1977.
VW didn't sell another diesel model in the U.S. until the 1979 Dasher went on sale, and only 200 of them were sold, the company says.
The highest mileage diesel Volkswagen was also open to registered running vehicles. The mileage was documented and verified with an accurate odometer reading, and supporting historical service records and/or logbook.
The winner was Syl Schmid, of Blue Rock, Ohio, who managed to roll up more than 562,000 miles on a 1986 Jetta Turbo Diesel. Schmid averaged 26,762 miles a year and VW, citing owner records, says he regularly achieved over 50 mpg during the course of two decades with the car.
Both winning vehicles were equipped with their original engines.
More recently, VW, a pioneer in diesel vehicles, has come under fire for selling thousands of late-model diesels in the U.S. that skirt emissions standards. The company has been forced to suspend sales of diesel models pending certification requirements from the EPA.
VW so far has agreed to spend up to $22 billion in the U.S. to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers stemming from the excess diesel emissions.