2003 Volkswagen GTI 20th Anniversary Edition with 9,800 Miles

News broke this morning that the brand new RS4 Avant is unsurprisingly not coming to the United States. While this is no doubt disappointing to the twelve people who actually would have bought it and the 1.8 million who claim on the internet they would if given the option, it follows a long tradition in German motoring of leaving the best of the breed in the homeland. When it came to the GTI, not only did we have to wait several years before we got the hot Golf, but indeed it was a bit watered down and heavier when it did arrive. The same continued in the next two generations; more weight, less power. Both in the second and third generations we also lost out on supercharging, all-wheel drive and special body kits available in the European market.

Once again in 2001, a neat Golf was launched that – of course – wasn’t coming to the United States. But of all of the special editions that weren’t sold here, perhaps this one made the most sense to be excluded. It was called the 25th Anniversary Edition and you didn’t need to be good at math to realize that there was no GTI sold here 25 years before 2001. Since the “18 year Anniversary Edition” didn’t make much sense from a marketing perspective even in spite of Volkswagen’s continual spotty judgement in that regard, it was no surprise that it wasn’t offered. That was too bad, as it had a lowered suspension, better brakes, a bit more power, fantastic Recaro seats and the best looking BBS wheels fit to any Volkswagen, ever. Volkswagen enthusiasts in America drool inwardly and shouted openly, so in 2002 Volkswagen finally did bring the special edition here. Again, since “19th Anniversary” didn’t make any sense, we instead got the “337” Edition.…

Feature Listing: 2002 Volkswagen GTI 337 Edition

As I talked about in the recent post about the 20th Anniversary Edition GTI, the 2002 ‘337’ was the GTI to get when they launched. The moniker derived from the original project code – EA337 – for the first generation GTI, and effectively the 2002 337 was a carbon copy of the 25th Anniversary model that was a Europe-only special from 2001. Hunkered down with the 1BE sport suspension, the 337 wore 18″ specially painted BBS RC wheels with low profile 225-section tires. Red calipers grabbed 12.4″ front vented discs and 10″ in the rear, also with veining. Powering the 337 was a 1.8 liter, 20V turbocharged motor, good for 180 horsepower, mounted to a new MQ350 6-speed manual gearbox. Underneath was a stainless steel exhaust system tuned to emit a bit more noise than a standard model. Inside the GTI got Recaro “Le Mans” red and black cloth seats, a special golf ball shift knob, aluminum interior accents and Monsoon radio system. Finally, a unique Votex body kit and retro badging helped to distinguish this model as the one to get for 1,500 lucky U.S. customers:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Volkswagen GTI Edition 337 on Autotrader

2002 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo S

The New Beetle isn’t a car which often featured on these pages. In fact, I can only find three times since we’ve started this site that they’ve come up. Considering that we’ve written up about 1,200 M3s in that same time period, I guess our stance on the Golf-based image car is pretty clear. However, the bones of the New Beetle aren’t really all that bad; based on the Mk.4 chassis, there are plenty of parts available and they’re cheap to buy. They offer a pretty practical hatchback package with some additional style. And, in turbocharged 1.8T form, they even offered a sporty ride.

Introduced in 2002, the Turbo S turned that package up a notch with help from the GTI. Underneath, the AWP-code 1.8T was rated at 180 horsepower at 11.6 lbs of boost, and had matching 173 lb.ft of torque. The transversely-mounted power was channeled through the same 6-speed manual you’d find in VW’s hot hatch and no automatic was available. Volkswagen outfit these cars with standard stability control and loaded them up with Monsoon sound, sunroof, active aerodynamics, leather, aluminum trim, power accessories and keyless entry. They also got special white and black gauges inside and a more pronounced twin-tip exhaust, along with fog lights integrated into new bumper covers. To help manage the speed, Volkswagen’s 1BE lower and stiffer suspension package was fit, along with BBS-made “Delta X” 17″ wheels with 225-45-17 tires. The package was pricey, at nearly $24,000 in 2002 – a not unsubstantial amount, considering that money would get you into the much nicer chassis of the Passat in wagon form at the same time. Unlike the pastel-toned entry colors of the New Beetle, the Turbo S was only available in Black, Silver, Platinum or Red with a total of 5,000 produced. Volkswagen hoped that these sporty changes would re-character the model which had primarily appealed in only one sexual demographic.…

2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLi

While the GTi, and more recently “R” models, have enjoyed the Volkswagen performance limelight, in the background has been an equally fun and nearly as capable sedan. Since the A1 chassis, Volkswagen has offered the same underpinnings with slightly different style in the betrunken Jetta (clever, that), and just like the GTi there have been some special models along the way. For example, the Wolfsburg Limited Edition “Helios” GLi was one of my favorite 80s VWs, with the beautiful blue color matched on the BBS RA alloys and uniquely striped Recaro seats. While the Mk.3 model lost the GLi in favor of the upscale GLX VR6 models, the GLi made a triumphant return in the Mk.4. As with the Golf, it was available with either VR6 or 1.8T turbocharged powerplants, and in fact the Jetta got an undercover screamer in a 24V version of the VR6 not offered in the Golf. Today, though, we’re taking a look at the equivalent of the 20th Anniversary Edition GTi in the Jetta lineup:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLi on eBay

2003 Volkswagen GTi 20th Anniversary Edition

Volkswagen’s special editions on the fourth generation Golf were confusing for a bit. Once again in 2001, a neat GTi was launched that – of course – wasn’t coming to the United States. But of all of the special editions that weren’t sold here, perhaps this one made the most sense to be excluded. It was called the 25th Anniversary Edition and you didn’t need to be good at math to realize that there was no GTi sold here 25 years before 2001. Since the “18 year Anniversary Edition” didn’t make much sense from a marketing perspective even in spite of Volkswagen’s continual spotty judgement in that regard, it was no surprise that it wasn’t offered. That was too bad, as it had a lowered suspension, better brakes, a bit more power, fantastic Recaro seats and the best looking BBS wheels fit to any Volkswagen, ever. Volkswagen enthusiasts in America drool inwardly and shouted openly, so in 2002 Volkswagen finally did bring the special edition here. Again, since “19th Anniversary” didn’t make any sense, we instead got the “337” Edition. This was, for all intents and purposes, an exact copy of the 25th Anniversary model, but instead the 337 referenced the internal project code for the original GTi. But they were quite limited, with only 1,250 sold in the U.S. and 250 sold in Canada. So, you probably missed out on your chance to own one, right? Well, wrong, because in 2003 Volkswagen re-released the 337 edition. Conveniently, there was now a round number that they could actually commemorate the GTi’s longevity with as it had been 20 years since the A1 GTi rolled out of Westmoreland. Again, it was a greatest hits edition of the GTi; the 337 upgraded 12.3 inch vented brakes with go-faster red calipers carried over, as did the upgraded suspension.…

337-off: 2002 Volkswagen GTis

Let’s discount, just for a moment, the reputation of the fourth generation water-cooled, front engined platform from Volkswagen. Yes, they’re known for not having the best build quality, and they were a bit pudgy. The electrics were sketchy and Volkswagen’s venerable 1.8T, which found its way into nearly every VAG product in the late 90s and early 00s, is certainly not without fault. But in many ways, the Mk.4 platform offered some exciting options for the Volkswagen faithful. First, the introduction of the turbocharged engine into the platform redefined the possibilities of the hot hatch. It was available not only in the top-spec GTi, but you could get a 4-door 1.8T, too – a first for Volkswagen, who had offered hot 4-door hatches in Europe but not the U.S. previously. Then, in 2002, Volkswagen upped its game even more with the introduction of the 25th Anniversary Edition in Europe. “But the GTi didn’t come out until 1983” U.S. fans said, forgetting that 1977 was the launch year of the 1.6 original in Europe. It seemed, for some time, that the U.S. would get snubbed again. After all, it wouldn’t be very smart for them to offer a 25th Anniversary Edition of a car that didn’t exist here, and “19th Anniversary” doesn’t have the same ring. But then, at the New York Auto Show in 2002, Volkswagen surprised U.S. fans by offering the near-identical package to them. The name was the GTi 337 Edition; the name harkened back to the original project code for the Golf GTi. Beefed up with 180 horsepower, a 6-speed manual, an awesome set of Recaro seats, aero tweaks and with some awesome shot-peened BBS RC wheels, it was an instant hit. Volkswagen sold 1,500 of these models to U.S. fans, and then when they had sold out, recreated the magic in 2003 with colorful options in the 20th Anniversary Edition.…

2002 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6 Wagon

The earlier dueling beige wagons was a bit of a letdown post, and off the bat I have to say I’m sorry. I should have been more excited to see two rare VAG products from the 1980s, but looking at those two the best response I feel I can muster is a general “at least they’re clean”. And that’s sad, because keeping a car in good condition for that period of time certainly takes a fair amount of care and concern – it doesn’t just happen by accident. Despite that, I just found it very hard to get at all excited about either of those wagons. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I got quite excited when I stumbled across this 5-door. Now, I want to be clear up front that I’m not a Jetta fan – I reside firmly in “Camp Golf” when I’m not at “Club Passat”. Furthermore, I’m not really a Mk.4 fan. They’re notorious for shoddy build quality, wacky electrics and…well, to be not particularly delicate, the Mk.4 Jetta reminds me of college girls from New Jersey and not in a good way. However, there are some positives to consider. First, while we were denied the Mk.3 Golf Variant, Volkswagen allowed the small wagon to come to the U.S., and this is one. Second, the Mk.4 generation had some great motor options; the frugal TDi, the tunable 1.8T and the torquey and awesome sounding VR6 engines – all available in 5-door form. Lesser known is that all of the wagons, like the Passat, were assembled in Germany. That may not matter to some, but my experience has been that the German-built Passat wagons had better build quality than the sedans. On top of that, you also got some great wheel options in the Mk.4 and it could be had in a 5-speed manual.…

Feature Listing: 2003 Volkswagen GTi 1.8T Show Car

I’m a huge fan of many forms of motorsport, but I consider Formula 1 to be the pinnacle of the sport. But, of course, Formula 1 is an unrealistically expensive form of racing for nearly all, and even within the sport there are only 5 or 6 that could win on any given Sunday. On what many would consider the other end of the sport, NASCAR offers millions of adoring fans a spectacle beyond anything Formula 1 can offer. The engineering is kept more affordable and the racing is much closer; even towards the end of the season, the title is often up in the air as nearly any one of the top teams could field one or two drivers that might win. It’s specifically the variation and show that bring fans to NASCAR and will keep them coming. Are the two mutually exclusive? No, I don’t think they are – I might not be the biggest fan of NASCAR, but I can appreciate that it takes a serious talent to be able to drive those cars in the manner in which they are driven.

In many ways, the European tuning scene is very similar. Track enthusiasts typically baulk at the show cars, but there is something that unites them; a passion for cars. That passion can be different and manifest itself in many ways. For some, the ultimate car is a perfectly original example in pristine condition; others modify their cars for track use, compromising their daily driveability. But there is another group of enthusiasts that create show pieces – individualized cars with exhaustive detail work to set themselves apart from the crowd and draw smiles from enthusiasts. These show cars have become and increasingly popular and widespread and show both the range and breadth of expression in automotive passion.…

Motorsport Monday: 034 Motorsports GTI RS

Being a fan of older Audis – and owning one – I’ve followed with much excitement the development of a small California-based tuning firm called 034 Motorsports. 034 – a reference to the 5-cylinder Audi motor part numbers – has taken a niche community and turned it into a flowering business. Initially starting with turbo modifications to the older 5 cylinder cars, the folks that make up the brain trust at 034 created some legendary Audis – most notable, the 1,000 horsepower turbocharged 80 quattro. But the reality is that these now 25 year old cars make up a very small percentage of the tuning market, so 034 turned to the much more popular A4 and Volkswagen GTi crowds, creating two stunning cars in the process. Less spectacular but stunningly effective was the A4 Time Attack car which went through several different engine configurations; but much more notable and impressive is what 034 attempted next; mid-mounting a V6 turbo into a 2001 GTi. The results are nothing short of stunning:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Volkswagen GTi-RS on eBay

2004 Volkswagen Golf R32

I’ve been pretty critical lately of the limited run Golf and GTi models. It’s not for their performance, build quality or weight; the typical complaint about these models, but for the pricing which just has seemed out of line with what you get. For example, in my R32-off post the good condition red R32 – despite being 10 years old – was offered at a staggering $18,000. That’s well into E46 M3 money, among many other cars that I’d rather have no matter how special that Golf is. But the argument for the Golf is that it’s a neat, rare and limited run model that coupled arguably the best normally aspirated motor Volkswagen had offered since the original GTi to a capable all wheel drive system through a 6-speed manual transmission. There’s no doubt, it’s the car that Volkswagen enthusiasts had clamored for since the original Rallye, G60 and Limited models. Today’s example has double the miles of the red car but is offered in the signature Deep Blue Metallic and at a much more attractive price:

Year: 2004
Model: Golf R32
Engine: 3.2 liter VR6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 139,670 mi
Price: $ 11,000 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Volkswagen Golf R32 on eBay

All Wheel Drive 3.2 liter VR6 – 4motion 6 Speed Manual Transmission Deep Blue Metallic – (1 of 1000) Black Interior with factory Konig leather bucket seats and brushed aluminum trim I love this car, but work has forced me to buy a new car! Only 5000 of these machines were released to the US in 4 colors. I bought this R32 in June 2006 w/12K miles and have taken very good care of it. No accidents & clean title.

I’ve owned three MK4 s (VR6/20th/R32) and this is by far my favorite!