1986 Volkswagen Golf

1986 Volkswagen Golf

Do you ever see a car and think ‘I’d love to know the story behind that one’?

I do, all the time. But something in particular caught my eye about this 1986 Golf. Well, first off, it’s become rare to see a 1986 Golf anymore. The ’85 and ’86 model years were a bit unique, since the base and diesel models were manufactured in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. There were minor trim differences, but the easiest way to spot them was the Rabbit-inspired sealed-beam headlight and unique grill. Unlike today’s market where the Golf has gone upscale, with the launch of the A2 chassis for the U.S., the diesel Golf was the cheapest way to buy a VW – and the gas unit was only a hair more money. But they were fairly basic transportation; the 1.8 liter inline-4 GX motor was rated at 85 horsepower for adequate acceleration and fuel mileage. Interiors were basic tweed in a few colors, you had to option in things like a radio and power anything (including steering!), and they came with 13″ steel wheels. If you wanted more upscale, you either spent another $1,000 and bought a Jetta or in 1986 Volkswagen added the Wolfsburg package to make you feel a bit more special.

But this car isn’t a Wolfsburg package. It’s a basic Golf. So why am I interested? A few reasons. First, I had one just like it, and it was a great car all things considered. My ’86 Golf was also a Westmoreland model, and quite basic. Mine had been bought new by a teacher who needed it to commute; after 10 years, she’d accrued just north of 200,000 miles on the odometer, but it still ran like a top. Yet this one, some two decades after I owned mine, has only 44,000 miles since new.…

1987 Volkswagen Jetta Coupe with 5,581 Miles

1987 Volkswagen Jetta Coupe with 5,581 Miles

In 1987, there were quite a few Jettas to like (as Jettas go, that is). If you absolutely had to have a trunk, you could grab a turbo diesel for its last year until the 1990 Ecodiesel arrived. The “GL” trim package gave you power options like windows, mirrors, locks, and even a power antenna – remember when breaking antennas off cars was a hoodlum pastime? Your GL would even come with a ski sack! There was the new Wolfsburg Edition, which gave you all the options of the GLI without sport seats – so you got the special Pirelli P-slot wheels, deeper spoilers, and even a power bump to 105. Did I mention the GLI? For good measure, there were two that year, with the 8V bowing out to the incoming 16V model.

This car is not any of those trim levels, though. This is a plain-jane Jetta; steel wheels, the lowest power available, and manual everything (except, predictably, the transmission). So why look at it? Well, two reasons – and they both open. Oh, and it only has 5,581 miles, too.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Volkswagen Jetta Coupe on eBay

1986 Ford RS200

1986 Ford RS200

Now, before you start shouting at your screen that there’s a blue oval appearing here, I’m aware that Ford is an American-based company. I could go into theatrics about how we’re actually speaking a form of German to attempt to rationalize a Ford appearing on these pages, or I could point out that Henry Ford was awarded the Grand Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle on his 75th birthday – the only American to ever receive this award. Of course, that and Ford’s inclusion in Mein Kampf probably aren’t highlights in the storied history of the family or the company. But it does point towards Ford’s reach across the globe, and indeed the European branch of Ford is Ford of Europe AG, headquartered in Cologne, Germany. If that still isn’t German enough for you, let’s just say that once in a while something that’s partly non-German pops up that we’d like to cover. While usually that’s a Swedish car, today it’s a Ford. But this isn’t just any Ford, okay?

The RS200 was conceived in a world for a world that, by the time it came to fruition, no longer existed. Built to maximize the Group B rules, Ford spanned Europe looking for the best talent to make the RS200 a winner. The body of the car was Italian in design but assembled in France. The chassis and engine designs were perfected by Formula 1 aces in England. It was a winning formula that unfortunately was launched at an time of unprecedented speed and power in the World Rally Championship; a combination that proved deadly. Barely into competition, the FIA changed the governing rules in the WRC and immediately the RS200 was shelved. The result was a few hundred competition ready cars that were hugely expensive with nothing to compete in.…

1981 Volkswagen Scirocco

1981 Volkswagen Scirocco

Spotting of any first generation Scirocco is cause for celebration these days. Styled by the legendary Giugiaro, the front drive, watercooled sport coupe brought Volkswagen into a new market, ostensibly replacing the Karmann Ghia. While underneath the slinky 2-door body was relatively pedestrian underpinnings of the Mk.1 Golf/Rabbit, the styling of the Italian giant brought a level of prestige to the budget economy range. Some 42 years after it originally launched, the short and squat Scirocco still looks unique and different, a perfect combination of curves and angles that makes me smile every time one crosses my path:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Volkswagen Scirocco on Seattle Craigslist

Now Legal for Import Double Take: Mercedes-Benz 190E Sportlines

Now Legal for Import Double Take: Mercedes-Benz 190E Sportlines

Look closely and you might mistake these two Mercedes-Benz 190Es and you might mistake them for any other run of the mill W201. Dig a little deeper and you’ll notice they are sitting just a little bit lower on their haunches and a small badge on the lower front fender: Sportline. This was an option that added a tauter suspension and differing interior trim to the usual baby Benz package. While the 190E 2.3-16, 2.5-16 and Evo models carried the performance torch for the W201 lineup, the Sportline option gave buyers the ability to have something just a bit different than your run of the mill Mercedes sedan. First up, we have a 1990 190E 2.6 Sportline for sale south of Munich, Germany with just 53,000 miles on the clock.

Click for details: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6 Sportline on Mobile.de

Revisit: 1983 Volkswagen Golf Oettinger

Revisit: 1983 Volkswagen Golf Oettinger

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Growing up, tuner VWs were the coolest cars out there to me. I spent hours rewatching the Hans Dahlback videos, and though Eurotuner was entertaining, it felt more legitimate when Road & Track did features with companies like Oettinger or HPA. Carter featured this Greek Golf, complete with Oettinger engine and full Zender bodykit and Turbo wheels. Some great translation errors like “modificated” and less than complete pictures don’t help the fear of buying a car from a country more financially screwed than the US in the Great Depression. I hope it’s legit though, as this would drop the jaws of any American VW enthusiasts. The marks against it have conspired to make the seller drop the price from $15k to $8,999 while driving it some 3km, a brutal 40% drop in what he thought he could get for it. Considering the prices we’re seeing on nice, stock Mk1s, if you can get this safely into the US for under $12k all in you’d have a great car and not a bad investment.

– NR

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen Golf Oettinger on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site March 4, 2014:

Tuner Tuesday: 1983 Volkswagen Golf Oettinger

Tuner Tuesday: 1983 Volkswagen Golf Oettinger

Which came first; the Mk.1 or the modified Mk.1? Of course it’s a rhetorical question, but it points to the popularity of the first water-cooled Volkswagens. Affordable, practical and plentiful, the aftermarket community thrived on providing all sorts of options to modify your Golf/Rabbit to all sorts of levels. With everything from body kits to performance modifications and interiors, there was seemingly no end to the possible permutations of combinations of parts to make your mass-produced hot hatch a bit hotter and different from everyone else. But weed through the plethora of upstarts, and perhaps the most respected name in the Mk.1 community is Oettinger. Though somewhat out of vogue today, we should not forget that Oettinger pioneered the twin cam, 16 valve engine for Volkswagen – in production as early as 1980, a full 7 model years before Volkswagen’s own 16V would enter service. They competed in motorsport as well, developing rally engines and everything from turbocharged diesels to a full 2 liter 16V motor developing 170 horsepower in 1984; Oettinger-equipped Golfs were quick enough to accelerate on par with production Porsche 928s of the period. Today, their legendary status in the Mk.1 community means that fully built, period models demand a premium even if they’re rare to come by:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen Golf Oettinger on eBay

1986 Volkswagen GTi

1986 Volkswagen GTi

I wonder if the A2 GTi is really as near extinction as I’ve claimed it is. I mean, sure – there are still countless A2s cruising around on Raceland coilovers with too many stickers on a 45 degree on the rear windows with VR6 or 1.8T swaps and too-wide BBS RSs. There are even more crumbling in their decaying potential, smashed and grabbed by owners with the promise that they’ll be something again someday. But clean, original and unmolested GTis? Now, that’s quite rare. Especially rare seem to be the very early models, the 1985 and 1986 1.8 8 valve model. While the GTi was much more fun when the valves were doubled, the original model still sported a higher compression motor capable of making the tossable A2 an entertaining ride. When I was in college, I had a 1984 GTi and worked with a guy who had inherited a 1986 model without knowing or really caring what it was. He told me that it wasn’t running right and asked me to take it for a ride, which I was happy to do. A quick run through an on ramp and onto the highway with a quick blast up to illegal speeds confirmed my belief that he wasn’t much of a Volkswagen connoisseur – it was easily quicker than my ’84 model, especially above 40 m.p.h., where my Italian tuneup yielded smooth and responsive power. No one will mistake the GTi for a Lamborghini, but in terms of sheer enthusiasm, the 1.8 mill is a motor that encourages thrashing – perhaps an indication as to why so few are left today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Volkswagen GTi on eBay

1984 Audi Coupe GT v. 1986 Volkswagen Scirocco

1984 Audi Coupe GT v. 1986 Volkswagen Scirocco

I’ve always pondered how the Audi Coupe GT compared to the more popular Volkswagen Scirocco. For the past 17 years, I’ve owned one GT or another and obviously I’m a big fan; I think they’re massively underrated compared to many of their contemporaries. The Scirocco, similarly, seems to be the odd-man out in the Volkswagen lineup; yes, it has tons of fans, but most of the attention over the past few years has concentrated on the rapidly appreciating Corrado SLC models and earlier Giugiaro-designed first generation Scirocco. Of course, in appreciation of both seems to pale in comparison to the highly sought and much more common E30 BMWs, but in their own way each offers a unique alternative. In the Scirocco’s positive column is a slick design that’s low and lean; 16V models got the great motor coupled with 4-wheel discs and some cool teardrop alloys and a nice bodykit. In the GT’s positive column is a much more refined and polished package, capable of carrying 4 in comfort with it’s more upright sedan-based stature. The drivetrain is a wash; the Audi has more torque and horsepower from its inline-5, but then weighs a bit more than the Scirocco too. But mid-corner balance has to go to the Audi, plus the equal-length drive shafts eliminate the typical torque-steer prone FWD problems and the Audi feels more neutral on the fly than the Scirocco. The best of the bunch are the last run “1987.5” GTs with 4-wheel discs and the upgraded 2.3 engine with more torque and horsepower. Plus, the Audi has the better WRC soundtrack – at least, in my mind. While today I don’t have a 16V Scirocco v. 87.5 GT comparison that I think would be very interesting, I nevertheless have an interesting comparison – a later Scirocco that’s quite clean compared to an earlier GT that shared some of the traits of the Scirocco.…

1975 Porsche 914 1.8

1975 Porsche 914 1.8

Rob is on holiday this week, so I’m going to take it upon me to throw a few Porsches out there in his absence. The 914 was the predecessor to the 924, itself another close collaboration between Volkswagen and Porsche. Offered in both four and six cylinder trim, this 1975 1.8 liter for sale in Florida represents the second to last year for this model, one which is often forgotten in the annals of Porsche history. Kermit the Frog said once “it ain’t easy bein’ green.” Perhaps the same is true on being a 914.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 Porsche 914 1.8 on eBay

1990 Volkswagen Corrado G60

1990 Volkswagen Corrado G60

The strange thing about “unicorns” in the Volkswagen world is that they’re not always the most rare, the fastest, the rarest, or the prettiest model. Unicorns are the models that everyone wishes for though, the cars that are so hard to find that people are willing to pay a serious premium when they pop up. What constitutes “hard to find” in the Volkswagen world is an unmolested example and that seems to be especially true in the higher performance models; the GLi, the GTi and above all the Corrado:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Corrado at Coventry Motor Car

1986 Volkswagen Jetta GLi

1986 Volkswagen Jetta GLi

When I owned my 4-door 1986 Golf, there were two things I really coveted but never had; blacked-out VW symbols front and rear and red piping on my bumper covers. It may sound silly to hear such things, but those small details were just about all that differentiated the GLi and GTi from the normal Golfs and Jettas in 1986. Granted, there were other details, too – for example, you couldn’t get the color of my car – Titian Red Metallic – on one of the performance models, they had “big” 14″ alloys, subtle fender “flare” trim and the red piping continued to the side moldings. Other than that, you’d need to jump into the car to tell the difference; again, small but notable details like the steering wheel, dash trim and options that weren’t readily available on most normal A2s. But the addition of a few horsepower to these light sedans really transformed the driving experience. They weren’t fast by any means, but instead of lazily climbing the tach like your overweight co-worker trying to make it up the flight of stairs when the elevator is out, the GTi/GLis raced up the tach like those red trimmings seemed to promise they would. At least, it felt that way in 1986….

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Volkswagen Jetta GLi on eBay

Tuner Tuesday Double Take: 1983 and 1984 Volkswagen GTis

Tuner Tuesday Double Take: 1983 and 1984 Volkswagen GTis

Recently we’ve had a wave of lightly modified, good condition A1 GTis. Always a popular platform for tuners and back yard mechanics, the GTi for a long time was cheap, modifications were plentiful, and they mostly lived a hard life. Today, finding clean examples will yield you a highly sought after prize; with so few left, the price has been driven up and nice examples are coming out of the woodwork to test the waters. Today we have two modified but clean GTis – will either be to your taste? Let’s look at the cleaner and more original of the two:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen GTi on VW Vortex

Motorsport Monday: Rabid Rabbits – 2 1983 Volkswagen GTi Racers

Motorsport Monday: Rabid Rabbits – 2 1983 Volkswagen GTi Racers

As the original “hot hatch”, it’s not much of a surprise that the Mk.1 GTi is also a popular choice as a race car. Stripped out and stiffened up, these pocket rockets get even more potent around a track and are very entertaining to drive. Best of all, there’s a serious aftermarket community that supports them and they’re quite economical to run compared to some of their other German brethren. While they’re a bit long in the tooth, the GTis are still winning three decades on and still look great. Today I’ve got two different track-oriented GTis to chose from – from mild to wild. Let’s start with the more streetable version:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen GTi on Milwaukee Craigslist

Economy With A Touch Of Class: The Four Cylinder 190E

Economy With A Touch Of Class: The Four Cylinder 190E

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When it first arrived on the scene, the Mercedes 190 ruffled a few feathers, as traditional Mercedes buyers were fearful that a small Benz might cheapen the brand image. Fast forward 30 years since its arrival on the scene, and it’s hard to imagine this conservatively styled, if compact sedan, offending anyone who is a fan of the marque, such has been the proliferation of new models in the lineup. Having grown up with a 190E 2.6 in our family, I’m a big fan of this car’s competent performance and classic build quality. It’s a car that did everything well yet didn’t shout about it. This 190E for sale in Germany isn’t a 2.6, but comes with a decent amount of kit and a 5-speed manual gearbox to get the most out of the powerplant.

Today, we’re featuring two four cylinder 190Es, one here in the US and another for sale in Germany. First, let’s take a look at a 190E 2.3 for sale in Kentucky.

Click for more details: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 on AutoTrader