Eye Candy: 1997 Volkswagen GTI VR6

Eye Candy: 1997 Volkswagen GTI VR6

Do you want to maximize your budget and fun? Need an affordable ride that will reward you nearly every time you turn the key, but is also practical enough to daily drive?

Look no further. We may all want a car collection of virtually new, unused and perfect condition examples of our favorite car designs, but frankly that’s just not a reality most who’s names don’t start with “Sultan” and end with a small southeast Asian country’s name can contemplate. And even he needs to liquidate his massive Ferrari collection from time to time when small rebellions pop up.

Jumping in to a third generation Volkswagen Golf won’t get you much respect outside of dedicated brand enthusiasts. But what it will do is reward your decision. Like the E36 M3, adding two cylinders to the model may not have sounded as sexy on paper as the high-revving double cam inline-4, but the result was better performance, better reliability, and cheaper prices for that speed. With 172 horsepower and 173 lb.ft of torque on tap, the VR6 took the Mk.3 into a new performance territory. It brought with it a more grown up feel, too – leather, a quiet(er) cabin, power windows and sunroof – these were unthinkable a decade earlier in the budget hatch. In fact there was only one option – a trunk mounted CD changer. Everything else? Standard. The increase in performance dictated upgrades throughout; sport suspension with sway bars, larger brakes with 5×100 mm hubs and accompanying 15″ wheels. 0-60 was firmly sub-7 second range, and the boxy hatch could brush 130 mph flat out. In a flat-out drag race, this economy car was on par with the Audi S6.

At nearly $20,000, the price tag didn’t seem cheap at first. Indeed, in a little over a decade the base price of the GTI had increased 100%.…

2003 Volkswagen GTI 20th Anniversary Edition

2003 Volkswagen GTI 20th Anniversary Edition

For fans of the GTI, the 4th generation offered a few “greatest hits” editions for the model. The first to launch was the 2001 “25th Anniversary Edition”, built to commemorate a quarter century of hot Volkswagen hatches – in Europe, at least. Since the GTI wasn’t launched in the U.S. until 1983, a “18th” anniversary wouldn’t have made much sense here. However, what was basically the 25th Anniversary Edition was brought here in 2002. The “337” Edition ran in 2002 with Votex bodywork and great BBS RC wheels, along with a cozy set of Recaro seats. Only 1,250 were sold out fairly quickly, so in 2003 Volkswagen continued the greatest hits parade with the release of the nearly identical 20th Anniversary Edition. Each was numbered and a total of 4,200 were made, each now available in three colors and with OZ-made Aristo wheels in place of the BBSs as well as different interior fabric over the same Recaro seats. They were popular new and have remained the Mk.4 to get outside of the R for the past 15 years:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Volkswagen GTI 20th Anniversary Edition on eBay

1998 Volkswagen Golf GL with 17,355 Miles

1998 Volkswagen Golf GL with 17,355 Miles

In roughly 1999, a local-to-me European car business turned up with something quite unusual. It was a pastel blue 1984 Volkswagen Rabbit. There was nothing particularly special about it; it was a base model with steel wheels. It wasn’t unusually optioned. It wasn’t a GTI. In fact, there was only one really remarkable thing about it – it had only 5,000 miles on the odometer from its single owner, and was in close-to-new shape.

The story went that the original owner had suffered a heart attack when the car was quite new. The widow had left the car in the garage, untouched by all but dust, until finally an estate sale liberated the single oil change bunny. The condition was certainly astounding, but to me the asking price at that time was, too. The seller was looking for $5,000.

It was pretty cool that the car was like a new fifteen year old car, but then cars had come a long way since 1984 in 1999, and the collector market on the Rabbit hadn’t really taken off. In 1999, $5,000 would have bought you a very nice 2.0 16V GTI, after all.

Fast forward to today.

It’s been an astounding nearly twenty years since today’s equivalent to my parable was new in the dealership. Like my memory, it’s a very basic Golf in very good condition with very low mileage. Similar to my story, cars have come a very long way in the past twenty years, and a quick jaunt in this buzzy, basic and slow Golf will quickly remind you of that. So has the market on a clean, low mileage automatic base Golf taken off yet, or is this doomed to a similar fate as my Rabbit – to sit and wait for jsut the right nostalgic buyer?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Volkswagen Golf GL on eBay

1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6

1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6

7/3/1017 Edit: This car has reappeared with a few more miles and a new seller at $9,500 HERE!

I think I’ve made my gripes with the used Volkswagen market abundantly clear in prior posts. Fuzzy photos, “feelers”, lack of information, failure to wash the car, only posting photos of the car in a carwash covered in foam, junk-strewn interiors, massive miles and broken odometers, poorly executed swaps, maintenance skipped in favor of dubious modifications. We’ve seen it all on these pages; well, a “no thank you” helping sample of “it all”. But once in a while a Volkswagen comes along that really debunks the stereotype of typical VW owners. Today’s GTI VR6 is one of those myth busters:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6 on eBay

1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6

1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6

6/6/2017 Updated with a new listing from a new seller – click HERE!

The Mk.3 Volkswagen GTI is in a pretty tough spot right now. For many, they’re too new to consider a classic in the making. But let’s take a breath on this one right now – the first VR6 powered GTIs can legally be registered as a vintage car in some states. Now that your mind is blown, move on to the next step – when was the last time you saw a really nice, clean and original VR6? Right, what was it – 2002? Sure, the Mk.3 didn’t have the best interior quality or the best build quality. But then, neither did the Mk.1 or Mk.2, and the GTI versions of those are firmly into collector status. The third generation may suffer from not being a Corrado and looking a little less special overall than the first two, but the addition of the VR6 into the chassis made for one thrilling driving experience. This might be the perfect time, then, to snap up a nice VR6 and get ready to rock some antique

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6 on eBay

1996 Volkswagen GTI

1996 Volkswagen GTI

The third generation Volkswagen GTI 2.0 might just go down in history as the least appealing of the brand name. Starting with the move to 16 valves in the second generation, the 8 valve models would play second fiddle as mostly an appearance package slapped onto an economy car. But while the second generation had the benefit of butch good looks, flared arches and the signature quad-round headlight arrangement to make you feel that you had gone upscale, when it came to the third generation’s base GTI it was a bit of a head-scatcher. It wasn’t that you didn’t get equipment; your $16,000 got you lots of standard items such as air conditioning, an upgraded stereo, power sunroof and door locks, and a few other premium-feel items (An alarm! Specially colored seat fabric!). The meat of the GTI was the appearance changes, though – from the 14″ alloy wheels to the dual-chamber headlights and projector fog lights, along with smoked tail lenses and a roof-mounted antenna, the special grill held the all-important letters “GTI”. But the performance of the ABA 2.0 inline-4 was standard Golf fair and the suspension wasn’t upgraded – this was, after all, just a Golf. That meant 0-60 in a lethargic 10 seconds unless you fried the front tires and knocked .2 seconds off – the result of all those “luxury” item additions. The 2.0 was a poser, then, and lived fully in the shadow of the high-output VR6 model which packed a full 50% more power in the same package but with upgraded brakes, suspension and wheels. The premium to jump to the VR6 was about $3,500 – a lot of money. But the leap in performance well paid off for your additional indebtedness, and consequently the 2.0 seemed to be popular only with college-bound Jersey girls who were convinced their compact economy hatch was actually a bumper-car ride at an amusement park.…

Duck Duck Goose It: 1996 Volkswagen Golf Harlequin Replica 3.2 VR6-swap

Duck Duck Goose It: 1996 Volkswagen Golf Harlequin Replica 3.2 VR6-swap

The Golf Harlequin is one of those strange creatures that ostensibly would look more at home in a art festival than in a car show. Volkswagen’s “Chinese fire drill” of body parts from primary colored Golfs was an interesting exercise, leading to the moniker Harlequin – a reference to the colorful and semi-psychotically eyed ducks, themselves named after a colorfully dressed character in Italian 16th century theater. Now that you’ve learned something, these Golfs have become legendary and desirable in their own right despite effectively being a base model underneath, leading to the replica color scheme not only extending to copies of the originals, but even to replicas utilizing other Volkswagen models. My local Volkswagen dealer, for example, has used the scheme not only on post-Mk.3 delivery Golfs, but even their Chevrolet Express parts vans have the mismatched tones. But today we’ll look at a replica GL which has gone to great lengths to mask itself in the colorful attire. Unlike the originals, though, this one has a serious weapons-grade revision in the drive department:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Golf Harlequin Replica VR6-swap on eBay

#FailFriday: 1994 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6

#FailFriday: 1994 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6

We live in a culture today that judges others with contempt while simultaneously engaging in generally questionable behavior ourselves. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, right? It is far from fair to generalize other’s actions without a relative sense of context, yet often we only have a glimpse at a moment of their life, a soundbite they say, an ill-timed photo from which we base an entire judgment on who that person is or at least professes to be. It’s one of our greatest shortcomings as a very public-oriented society who loves to air its dirty laundry, watch people humiliate or hurt themselves for entertainment, and revel in the unraveling of another’s life through misfortune. Yet, we generally would consider the gladiatorial battles of the Roman Empire to be barbaric – ironic, perhaps, considering that Germanic based languages have themselves so thoroughly recreated the Republic – perhaps even more so than the Romance-language speaking countries. But, I digress.

So while occasionally #FailFriday has degenerated into mudslinging at questionable taste – in and of itself perceivably a “fail”, today I’m instead going to approach the ad copy on this Jetta from the perspective of an angry, slightly bemused fact-checking Editor-in-Chief who has sent back a series of revisions to the author. While we all make grammatical and spelling mistakes (sometimes on a regular basis that I don’t catch, though I promise I try!), there are quite a few to enjoy in this particular ad:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6 on eBay

1996 Volkswagen GTi

1996 Volkswagen GTi

I still very much remember the launch of the A3 chassis Volkswagens and being less than impressed at the time. At least in my mind, the second generation GTi with the 2.0 16V was a hard act to follow and the 3rd generation – unless equipped with the sonorous VR6 – seemed downright soft in comparison. They looked a bit chubby, they were equipped with only 14″ wheels when everyone else was sporting 16″ wheels, and the base GTi was equipped with a lowly 2.0 8 valve inline-4. It seemed like Volkswagen was badge engineering a standard Golf just to make money, and in many ways you could argue that’s exactly what had occured. It wouldn’t be until 2007 that I would finally understand the A3 package a bit more. My dismissal of the entire “2.slow” lineup turned out to be very misplaced, as my foray into A3 ownership proved. I picked up a very second-hand but relatively low mile K2 edition 1998 Golf. Effectively, this was a 4-door GTi, with fog lights, air conditioning, heated sport seats and white-faced gauges. Was it a really special car? No. But for basic transportation, it was fantastic fun to drive, easy to maintain, got in excess of 30 m.p.g. no matter what you did with the throttle pedal and started every time I stuck the key in the ignition. Granted, it had typical Mk.3 problems with some electric gremlins and rust had started creeping through. But there isn’t a moment that I regret any part of my Mk.3 ownership other than that for so long I overlooked the 2.0 as a form of entertaining car ownership:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen GTi on eBay

1997 Volkswagen Golf

1997 Volkswagen Golf

What did you get if you wanted a reasonable German commuter that was no frills but fun to drive and got good mileage in 1997? After a long run of Audis, I was ready for something that was a little less dear to fix considering at the time I was putting around 55,000 miles a year on my cars for work. My mechanic glanced towards a faded but reasonably clean Tornado Red Golf K2 he had in the lot and said “You can have that for $1,500”. Done. I never once regretted it – it was a great little car; it would get 34 m.p.g. in a pinch, the air condition blew cold, the K2 came with heated seats, and even after 3,000 hours of polishing I restored the “Tornado Pink” to red once again. It was also fun to drive – the 8 valve has been given the nickname “2.slow” by enthusiasts, but the reality is that the ABA is more than adequate to motivate the lightweight Golf at speeds the original GTi would be envious of – plus, it had torque. Put sticky tires and a stiffer suspension on it and it was fun in the twisties, and good snow tires let you toss it around in the white stuff with no problems. But the best part of the Golf was its simplicity; it was just basic transportation, but it added character to a daily commute. I loved it, and smile every time I see a clean one like this Memory Red Pearl example with lower miles come up for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Volkswagen Golf on eBay

Feature Listing: 1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6 – REVISIT

Feature Listing: 1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6 – REVISIT

The clean Windsor Blue VR6 GTi I featured earlier this month has been updated with some new photos and a new listing. West Coast folks, take note – this sure looks like a great example of what’s increasingly becoming considered another classic from Volkswagen!

I’ve owned and loved modified Volkswagens now for going on twenty years, so I’m certainly not new to the scene. Obviously, being a popular tuning and performance platform since its launch, the GTi has undergone just about every conceivable permutation of modifications. Despite what would seem to be an endless pool of candidates, though, I often find examples lacking a clean, well put together look. I’ve also found as I’ve gotten older that the cars that really stand out to me aren’t the wildly modified cars, but the subtle cars; cars that manage to integrate their modifications well into what already was a good platform. Let’s be honest; modifying cars is a very personal endeavor, so of course there are going to be varied opinions about what looks good. To me, find a clean VR6 Mk.III in close to original spec but with just the right hints of spice to make it stand out and be a little less vanilla, and it’s perfect. Make sure those mods are on one of my favorite colors – Windor Blue – and it’s one of the rare cases where I think the seller got it just right:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen GTi VR6 on craigslist

Feature Listing: 1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6

Feature Listing: 1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6

I’ve owned and loved modified Volkswagens now for going on twenty years, so I’m certainly not new to the scene. Obviously, being a popular tuning and performance platform since its launch, the GTi has undergone just about every conceivable permutation of modifications. Despite what would seem to be an endless pool of candidates, though, I often find examples lacking a clean, well put together look. I’ve also found as I’ve gotten older that the cars that really stand out to me aren’t the wildly modified cars, but the subtle cars; cars that manage to integrate their modifications well into what already was a good platform. Let’s be honest; modifying cars is a very personal endeavor, so of course there are going to be varied opinions about what looks good. To me, find a clean VR6 Mk.III in close to original spec but with just the right hints of spice to make it stand out and be a little less vanilla, and it’s perfect. Make sure those mods are on one of my favorite colors – Windor Blue – and it’s one of the rare cases where I think the seller got it just right:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen GTi VR6 on craigslist

1995 Volkswagen Golf with 11,000 miles

1995 Volkswagen Golf with 11,000 miles

It’s not too often that you get excited about an entry-level, no frills car. Take, for example, today’s 4-door 1995 Golf. It’s not the first year of the A3, nor the last. It’s Colorado Red, probably not the color I’d have chosen. It’s got broad, flat and not particularly supportive tan cloth seats. The interior is a sea of plastic, and unlike recent Audi and Volkswagen products, it’s not the pretty and soft kind. It’s not got the fantastic VR6 motor, not even a manual transmission, and to top it off, yes, those are wheel covers. So why is it here, and why did I get excited when I saw it? Well, what makes every unmodified Golf special? In the case of this car, just the fact that it exists at all makes me excited; a low mileage survivor Mk.3 that is completely original? Yes, please!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Volkswagen Golf GL on eBay

1997 Volkswagen Cabrio VR6

1997 Volkswagen Cabrio VR6

I’ll get this right out of the way: at GCFSB, we don’t like “stanced” cars. Okay, so what is this Cabrio doing here? Well, as we’ve done before, occasionally there are cars worth taking a look at because perhaps they can be saved. This Cabrio is a good case in point; a lower mileage example with a clean VR6 swap, but riding a little too low for most people’s taste. No problem, it’s supported by air, so you can crank it up a bit:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio VR6 on eBay

Afternoon Accessories: Volkswagen Mk.3 Golf/GTi Hella Driving Light Grill

Afternoon Accessories: Volkswagen Mk.3 Golf/GTi Hella Driving Light Grill

To me, there’s always been something special about the Golfs with a few extra lights in the grill. Super rare are the Mk.1 Hella grills – one of which I wrote up around a month ago. The quad-round grill was and still is very popular with the Mk.2 crowd, but I remember the first time I saw in European Car back in the 1990s a Mk. 3 Golf GTi with the Hella grill pictured here. I thought I looked really cool, and I still do. They’re rare to see come up for sale, but here’s your chance today:

Year: 1993-1998
Model: Golf/GTi
Condition: Used
Price: $325 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Volkswagen Mk.3 Golf/GTi Hella Grill on eBay

Hi! I have for sale a Rare Hella Foglight Panel for any VW Golf 3 Mk3 III Cabrio GTI 16V VR6. This unit was only used one time on a car for less than a month. I have had it sitting around for 6 years now and its time to let it go. There are no broken clips or anything broken on this unit for that matter. The box shown in the picture is NOT included, box is sadly long gone for this unit. I just put it up as an example. Please contact me with any questions. Thanks! Paul

As I said with the 4000 cassette holder the other day, sometimes it’s the little details that help to set the car apart. This is a small addition that will really change up the style of the car. I wish I still had my Mk.3 Golf some days, and if I did this would be pretty high on my list to add in!

-Carter