10K Friday “80s Classic” Edition: 924 Turbo v. 5000CS Quattro Avant v. Golf Rallye v. 535i v. 300CE

One thing I really love about writing up these 10K posts is a odd combinations pricing allows me to come up with. For today’s post, I decided to do something a little different. Instead of maximizing the budget, I decided to look at it from the perspective of what was a classic 1980s car that you could buy and maintain well under $10,000. Obviously, if you’re willing to shill out much more, there are countless classics you can jump in to turn-key; but under $10,000 means with almost certainty that the car you’ll be getting in to today will be at least in part a bit of a project. Is there anything wrong with that? No, I think there’s an inherent appeal to trying to save and resuscitate a car that was in part neglected or just needs attention. Certainly I’ve tried to do that several times with 1980s cars – with mixed results. Today, I grabbed one classic from the 1980s (give or take, we’ll see…) from each of the major manufacturers – which is the one you’d like to save?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

1991 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

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Many of us car fiends rationalize the purchase of an older car in need of work by repeatedly telling ourselves that we’re saving a piece of history from the crusher – keeping a worthy example of automotive art on the road for all to enjoy. I’m certainly guilty of this myself and will continue feeding myself these lines as long as I can, even as the devil’s advocate says that no one cares about your silly old car and you’re sinking good money into a project that would be better spent elsewhere – perhaps even just on a nicer example of the exact same car.

But, as I said, I’m still a believer, and appreciate that this seller took a beat example of a cool car – the Mk2 Jetta GLI definitely counts as a worthy entry in the book of notable German special-edition sedans – and worked hard to bring it back to life. The salvage title means it will never sell for market value, but the seller clearly knows his VWs (note the collection in the background of the pics) and he put some serious time and energy into making this a decent car. Nothing here is perfect, but a lot of it is really cool. Quad headlamps – check (but that S4 badge – booooo). Porsche 928 wheels – check (but “stretched” tires – lame). Decent roof rack – check (but permanently mounted?! What’d you do?).

On the path of keeping misfit examples of cool older cars on the road, I’ve learned that we must be accepting of imperfections. Overall, I like the gist of this car, and believe it can continue making VW fanboys smile for years to come.

Click for details: 1991 Volkswagen Jetta GLI on eBay

1989 Volkswagen Golf GL

Boy, this is a trip down memory lane for me. My second car was very similar to this 1989 Volkswagen Golf in many ways; mine was also a base model with air conditioning, cloth interior with manual windows and Titian red. There were some important differences; I had a 1986 Westmoreland Golf which had CIS injection rather than the later Digifant electronic injection this car has, mine was a 4-door instead of two and when I bought it, it had somewhere around 190,000 miles on the clock. On paper, this is pretty much the car I would have liked to have; a lower mile, clean example of a basic transportation with flare – the Volkswagen Golf is a great hatchback that looked and functioned miles better than most of the competition at the time.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen Golf GL on eBay

Feature Listing: 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC with 37,000 Miles

Having now written up my fair share of cars on this site, I’m asked from time to time “what’s the next E30 M3?” Certainly the trend that created demand on the M3 would have been hard to predict; while it’s a desirable package for certain and has an illustrious race career, I’ve also outlined how very similar cars haven’t achieved such notoriety. The Audi Quattro and 190E 2.3-16V, for example, though noted for their importance and with strong fan followings just don’t command the premiums of the M3. The Volkswagen world has been similarly fickle; the original GTi has certainly taken off in value, with prime examples now pushing well past $10,000 in today’s market, while other models that are arguably better cars don’t command the values of the GTi. Perhaps part of that appeal lies in the few that remain in good, original condition – especially with lower miles. But if you ask me what I think the next big thing in the Volkswagen market will be, I’d have to answer that the Corrado SLC has to be up there. A popular car to modify, there aren’t many that are left with low miles in pristine original shape. Couple the dwindling good examples with what is acknowledged as one of the best driving platforms Volkswagen has made and good looks, and the Corrado is sure to be a hot item for years to come. They don’t get much hotter than this example, either – with perhaps the lowest mileage Corrado we’ve seen on the market in the past few years, this Flash Red example is stunning:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC on GCFSB

Motorsports Monday: 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC VR6

For a long time, enthusiasts have claimed that you need to have rear wheel drive to enjoy a car’s dynamic abilities or have a successful race car. However, while limited in their application, front-drivers have a very long and successful track record dating back to the 1960s. Let’s not forget the Mini, SAABs and even some early Audi rally efforts which used front-drive platforms and were winners. In touring cars, Audi ran Coupe GTs and front-drive 4000s in Group 5 and later Volkswagen took the idea of the performance hatchback to their Golf platform in the GTi. Wildly popular as a budget racer since new, the Golf’s basic layout and platform evolved into the Volkswagen coupes – both Scirocco and later Corrado. While the early Sciroccos also gained much success in SCCA racing in the 1970s and early 1980s, the Corrado introduced a new level of performance with the VR6 engine. While the torque-laden application would seem on the surface to be a bad match for a front driver, the Corrado when properly set up is truly an impressive car and massively quick – a great alternative to the E36 chassis, for example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC VR6 on eBay

1989 Volkswagen Jetta Diesel

Back in 1989, if you showed me a brand new diesel Jetta, there is zero probability I would have been excited about anything regarding it. Gas was relatively cheap, so having a diesel getting great mileage was really for fringe people. There were no spoilers, great alloy wheels, or even mud flaps to get excited about. The diesel Jetta was pretty basic transportation by even 1989 standards; plus, it was noisy, stinky and slow. Park it next to a GLi 16V, and it would be a no-brainer which one would be my choice to check out. But 25 years on, I was genuinely excited to find this listing pop up on eBay. Isn’t it crazy how time changes your perception? Finding a mostly or fully original 1989 Jetta that isn’t a rusted, beaten basket case with lower miles has become such a rarity that it makes me smile to see one, especially when it’s the same color combination as my 1986 Golf was:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen Jetta Diesel 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.…

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

1988 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V

Last week, Nate wrote up a great Tornado Red Scirocco 16V, and while I disagree with his claim that it’s more attractive than the Audi Coupe, otherwise we see eye to eye – these are great little performance hatchbacks that can be run on a budget. Unfortunately, nearly everyone in the VW world already discovered that and finding clean, unmolested examples is quite difficult. Nate longed for some teardrop wheels on his example, and I’m happy to oblige with today’s super clean example, replete with the nicer Euro-bits, too:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco on eBay