1998 Volkswagen Jetta K2

I’m a pretty big VW nut, but when it comes to the A3 Jetta even I admit they’re just pretty darn boring. The Mk.2 Jetta had plenty of character for better or worse, but the third generation just seemed to be a bit lumpy and overweight in comparison. The crisp body lines were replaced by softer transitions that, well, just didn’t look special. And there was the engine; gone was the awesome twin-cam 16V 2.0 GLi, replaced by a single cam 2.0 8V in the normal Jettas that were snatched up by New Jersey college girls. Sure, there was the GLX VR6 model that continued the quick Jetta tradition, but it seemed that most of the time you heard a droning automatic 4-cylinder Jetta leaving the lights. And the build quality just wasn’t the best; memorably, a friend of mine purchased a brand new 1997 Jetta and I waxed it for him one day while he was at work. On my way to drop the car off, the sunroof broke in the open position. The car was two weeks old. So, it was ugly, slow and unreliable – and expensive. The normal Jetta bordered on $18,000 without many options in 1997, and the GLX model pushed you well into the 20s. Comparatively, the new Jetta stickers around $14,000 nearly two decades later. Towards the end of the A3’s run, though, Volkswagen upped the ante with some limited edition models. There was the Jetta GT, which featured 4-wheel disc brakes and fog lamps, along with a spoiler and unique alloys. But if you wanted to be the cool dude on campus, you got your parents to buy you the Jetta Trek or Jetta K2. As far as I could tell at the time, they were normal Jettas (and Golfs) with roof racks and a bike or skis/snowboard.…

1974 Porsche 914

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914s have been on my mind again for the first time in a long while. One of my first attempts at misguided car purchase was well before I even had my license, was a call to a guy on a forum advertising a $950 914 project. “Yeah, I’ll save and fix it up by the time I can drive!” I thought. “What the hell is my seventh-grader doing on the phone discussing buying cars!?” my poor mom asked. Well, the basest of Porsches seemed like a fun way to tinker, and the go-kart from Stuttgart had my mind working over time. Now again, I’ve been longing for a weight-free tossable treat, and some choice 914s in the area have them back in my consciousness. None are as sweet as this though, which had just one owner and covered less than 70k miles in the first 40 years of its life. A beautiful repaint and cared-for interior have it looking like a showroom example. There aren’t many out there like this and it’s going to command a commensurate price, but as vintage 911s rise beyond the reach of many, the 914 is still a quick and fun option available to most.

Click for details: 1974 Porsche 914 on eBay

Motorsport Mondays: 1985 Volkswagen GTi 2.0 16V

There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of “To make a small fortune in racing, you have to start with a large one”. While it’s true that any track-related activities are generally a one-way flow of cash – out – from your bank account, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be a millionaire to go have a lot of fun. One of the more affordable platforms that budget weekend racers took to in the early 1980s was the then-new Volkswagen GTi; with solid aftermarket support, a light and nimble chassis and and crash it, walk away ability, the inexpensive Volkswagen was a natural track candidate. It’s become rare to see either of the first two generations showing up at the track these days, no surprise as many are 30 years old at this point. But once in a while, one that has undergone development and is a tidy package pops up, and today’s 1985 GTi is just one such example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Volkswagen GTi on eBay

Tuner Tuesday Un-pimp My Ride: 1992 Volkswagen GTi 16V G60

Edit: One of our Facebook readers – Steve – correctly noted that this is Capri Green and was an 8V Golf to start out. In some ways, that makes it better that a real 2.0 GTi wasn’t sacrificed, though my feelings about most of the modifications stay the same. Thanks Steve, and sorry for the mistake!

I’m fairly certain that with the right backing and skillful marketing I could pitch a show to one of those crappy cable networks. My premise? Take a car that has been modified and return it to OEM or OEM+ standards. Seriously, when talking about rare cars, aren’t there buyers for these rides? Don’t there seem to be lots of people endlessly browsing the internet looking for that hidden, unmodified and well-cared for gem that rarely surfaces? Heck, it’s what we’ve built a fair amount of our writing around. And even though there are plenty of people pining for original BMWs, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche models, there’s a special lot that love original Volkswagens. One of the biggest reasons they long for these “unicorn” models is that so few were properly cared for, and many of those that were have been modded within an inch of their life. Take the Mk.II GTi; a solid performing replacement for the “original” hot hatch. It’s near legendary status is well cemented in the halls of automotive history, and it’s even one of the few models that carries brand awareness outside of motoring circles. Seriously, even people who know almost nothing about cars know what a GTi is. Within the Mk.II crowd, there are several limited models that the U.S. didn’t receive, so our top of the heap has to be the 1990-1992 16V edition. With a close-ratio gearbox, revised and better integrated smooth big bumpers, the best set of BBS wheels and Recaro seats ever fitted to a Volkswagen and one stunner of a revy 2 liter inline-4, it was an awesome package.…

1980 Porsche 924 Turbo

It probably sounds crazy, but I find the 924 Turbo pretty fascinating. Born at a time when smaller displacement turbocharged engines were the wave of the future and the rage in motorsport, the 924 is still one of the most aerodynamic cars to make it to the public. This resulted in good fuel economy, which combined with hatchback practicality meant it was a reasonable daily driver. But the weight distribution and turbocharged power plant meant it was at home on the track, too – in turned up Carrera GT, GTS and GTR versions it was a hugely successful race car. It was good looking, too – subtle curves, great ATS wheels and just enough vents and ducts to hint at performance potential. Really, it’s a great package – but in spite of this 924s in general remain one of the cheapest Porsches available. That means you can get into one for quite a deal these days while the rest of the market continues to pull out of reach:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1996 Volkswagen Golf Supercharged Harlequin Replica

Pretty much everyone knows that Volkswagen enthusiasts are a special breed, but even within Volkswagen enthusiasts there are some really devoted fans of a particular sub-model. One such example of this is the Golf Harlequin, seemingly a joke by Volkswagen dealers to get rid of excess body panels. In truth, it’s one of the really neat exercises by a major that reinforces my belief that Volkswagen just does things differently than most other manufacturers. Seriously, could you imagine Mercedes-Benz shipping a bunch of S-Classes out to dealers in different colors and telling them to swap body panels around? The Harlequin Golf was and remains a neat page in Volkswagen history that generally brings a smile to VW fans. So, it’s no surprise that the Harlequins are very sought after, even if they appear all in one color because the dealer was lazy – no joke! But are they sought after enough to warrant a replica?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Golf on eBay

1985 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V – REVISIT

The 1985 Volkswagen Scirocco from last fall with a 2.0 16 valve conversion and some nice touches like BBS wheels, Euro bumpers and Euro headlights is back up on Ebay with a 10% price drop to just below $5,000. I think its great looking in the rare to see shade of Titian Red Metallic on these Sciroccos and the upgrades are just what I’d want – for the money, it seems like a pretty hard to beat value performance package.

THE BELOW POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON OUR SITE OCTOBER 24, 2013:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V on eBay

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

1983 Volkswagen Cabriolet 16V

The Volkswagen market is fairly fickle these days. Some low mile, original cars go for big bucks; other times, its unlikely modified cars that draw the money. But it seems in general that the 16V Scirocco and original GTi are the two shining stars right now for 1980s Volkswagens. What do you get when you put them together and chop the top off? A 16V Cabriolet, of course! Granted, this isn’t how this car was delivered from the factory, but if you’re looking for the best of three world, perhaps you can enjoy this Cabby modified in the style of OEM:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen Cabriolet on eBay

1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup

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Last year I wrote up a very cool Caddy, almost completely redone with great mods like a 16v and Brat seats in the bed. At the time, the seller was asking almost $15k, which seemed a bit optimistic. Today’s fully redone Caddy is gorgeous and leans a bit more towards the subtle end of aesthetics, but has a 16v ABF engine among a very nice list of performance improvements in addition to the cleanliness that can only come with ripping something all the way down. Unfortunately, while $15k seemed optimistic (and was… it sold for $10,900), this seller has started his auction at $12k and is asking $19k. I love Rabbit Pickups, it was my first car and I will own one again etc., but that white one represented the top of the crop. This one may be there, but that market is still short of the opening bid.

Click for more details: 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup on eBay