1988 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 16V

The other day I was stuck behind a brand new Honda Accord Sport in traffic. When I think of modern day Accords, “Sport” is the last word that comes to my mind. I grew up in a household that had a few Accords back in the 1980s and 1990s. These were marvelously engineered machines and utterly reliable. But as the baby boomer generation got older, so did the Accord. Some might welcome the extra girth of the ninth generation Accord, but it is so far removed from the cars I knew and loved in my childhood. But hey, at least you can still spec one with a 6-speed manual. For that, I give Honda my propers.

Back during Accord’s heyday, Volkswagen was busy injecting a bit of sport into the Jetta. This 1988 Jetta GLI 16V is the sedan counterpart to the GTI 16V, perfect for those sporting motorists who might happen to have a child seat in tow. This Jetta has the 1.8 liter 16V four cylinder under the hood good for 127 hp. That doesn’t seem like a lot in this day and age but kept it on par power wise with top spec sedans of its class from Japan. If you couldn’t make the stretch to a BMW in those days, these Jettas were the next best thing when it came to German sport sedans.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 16V on eBay

1991 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Perhaps the rationale behind the SUV popularity in the US these days is due to the fact that people used to like hatchbacks more here in the US. In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the choices for vehicles with a rear hatch seemed endless, but nowadays, you would be hard pressed to identify on two hands the number of offerings available here in the states. The second generation Golf went a ways towards refining Volkswagen’s first attempt at a subcompact, front-drive vehicle for the masses and with it carried over the hot version, the GTI. This particular GTI for sale in the UK is another one of those low-mileage creampuffs we’ve come to expect from 4 Star Classics. While this one packs the milder 8 valve engine, there is no denying this car’s classic appeal.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen Golf GTI at 4Star Classics

1993 Volkswagen Polo GT

The GT badge was one which appeared on Volkswagens in the late 1980s and early 1990s for the slightly less hot version of the GTI. My father purchased a 1987 Golf GT new, a Tornado Red two-door hatch that had the trimmings of the GTI with the familiar 8 valve, four-cylinder engine. It wasn’t a particularly fast car and was not without its problems, but I always appreciated the clean design of the Mk2 Golf. The same goes for the Mk2 Polo GT. It’s not exactly an exciting or exotic vehicle, but a clean design. It’s a car that could have done well and still could do well in the US market, speaking to those buyers who turned to the original Beetle for basic transportation. This 1993 example represents the final year for the Mk2 Polo and is currently on offer in Switzerland.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Volkswagen Polo GT on Classic Trader

1988 Volkswagen Scirocco GT

Let’s face it. Volkswagen Group of America is screwing us. I’ve touched on this topic before, but one glance at the current lineup on VW’s USA website leaves little to be desired. Nothing beyond the GTI, Golf R and Passat CC do much to stir emotions in the heart of the enthusiast. Now that Volkswagen has shot itself in the foot with this diesel scandal, unlucky consumers in the US can’t even specify one of these miserly oil burners. What’s an enthusiast to do? How about scouring Europe for anything built before 1992, as these vehicles are now legal to import stateside. Such is the case with this low mileage, late model 1988 Scirocco GT for sale in Dachau, Germany. This would be the last year for the Scirocco in the US market, however, Scirocco production would continue on through 1992, overlapping the Corrado in showrooms.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco GT on eBay.de

Now Legal for Import: 1990 Volkswagen Rallye Golf

Continuing with a theme I touched upon last week, I’m going to take a look at a few cars this week which are now legal for importation to the United States. It’s hard to believe more than 25 years have already passed since 1990, but that opens up a whole new portfolio of vehicles that weren’t certified by the US Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency for US sale. The Volkswagen Rallye Golf almost made it to market in the US, but sadly, an executive at Volkswagen of America trumpeting this vehicle’s cause perished in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing. With that, yet another homologation special slipped away from the grasp of the US consumer. This Rallye Golf for sale just a bit north of Stuttgart, Germany is one for the serious VW collector, having covered just over the equivalent of 20,000 miles. This is also one of the few I’ve seen with the rather tasty partial leather interior, featuring a variation on the GTI plaid in the seat inserts.

Click for details: 1990 Volkswagen Rallye Golf on Mobile.de

1990 Volkswagen Golf Country

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The Mk2 generation of the Volkswagen Golf holds some of my favorite Euro-only forbidden fruit. The proto-R Rallye Golf is a sexy little beast with flared fenders, all wheel drive, and a supercharged G60 engine. They sold 5000 of them, a remarkable number considering they were twice the price of a GTI. Even rarer than the Rallye is the Golf Country, an outlier whose influence could perhaps be seen in the Audi Allroads but really has no modern analogue. A revised suspension gave it 8.25″ of ground clearance with Syncro making sure traction was never a problem. Bullbars and skidplates give protection against rocks and limbs, including extra protection for the Syncro system. This all combines for a hatchback that’s even a little more rally-ready than the Rallye. The one unfortunate area of inferiority is under the hood, as the Country only came with the standard, naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter with 98hp.

This example is a recent beneficiary of the 25-year importation rule, though we don’t know exactly where it comes from. With just 25k miles, it’s about as nice as you’re going to find anywhere in the world. The only flaw I see is some potential scuffing/repair under the bumper on the right rear; otherwise the exterior and interior look outstanding. Many, including this author, think the 25-year importation rule is draconian and ridiculous, but the upside is that forbidden fruit like this excellent Golf Country becomes that much sweeter when finally available to us. With a very reasonable starting bid and a no-reserve auction, this is an incredible chance at some new-to-the-US rare.

Click for details: 1990 Volkswagen Golf Country on eBay

1991 Volkswagen GTI G60

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Mk1 GTIs grow more fully appreciated as classics each day, the Mk2 retains its affordable performance status in a package that is still superior to the Mk1 in the ways VW intended at its inception – more space and more comfort while retaining fun performance and German looks. This example takes those last two elements to extremes, bringing a modified G60 engine under German flag stripes front and rear. He doesn’t mention what suspension is helping it sit so low, but whatever it is is matched with Scirocco brakes to create a package that should be able to handle at least some of the increased speed and power. With well over 300hp to the front wheels, it’s not going to be able to handle all of it, mirroring the exterior’s placement on the edge of out-of-control. This is fast and loud in Mk2 form.

Click for details: 1991 Volkswagen GTI on eBay

1987 Volkswagen Golf GT

The year was 1987 and my father was entering his mid-life crisis, so of course, it was time for a new car. We headed to the Volkswagen showroom. As a young kid, I was enamored by the Vanagon Westfalia camper on the floor, along with the sleep Scirocco 16V. But we were there for something a bit more sensible and for a car that even some VW enthusiasts might forget: the Golf GT. This model was short lived and was essentially a “GTI light,” with the basic 1.8 liter engine coupled to a Golf with 14″ alloys, unique exterior and interior trim and an automatic gearbox, which was yet to be offered on the GTI. You could also spec a GT as a five-door, which wasn’t an option for US GTI customers. This 1987 GT 5-door for sale in Minnesota brings back a lot of memories for me, as it is in the same hue of Tornado Red as my father’s 1987 GT 3-door.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Volkswagen Golf GT on eBay

Friday Fail? 1989 Volkswagen Jetta Coupe VR6

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In the past, I’ve used the Friday Fail to examine some pretty awful ads and terrible aesthetic choices. With today’s column, however, I’d like to put it to our readers to decide if this is a full-on fail, or if there is some merit to this Jetta. I happen to really dig the 2-door Jettas as both Mk1s and Mk2s, cutting a similar cropped 3-box style to the E30 coupes (compare these to their four-door brethren and then try to wrap your field of vision around a 4-series… who’s failing now?) This one has some choice Dublover retrofits like a VR6, outstanding Porsche D90 wheels, and a clean Trophy interior. The body modifications, however, are where the fail starts to seep in. I don’t hate how the Mk2 Big Bumpers look on it, or rather how they could look on it if fully modified to fit, but their slight sag makes my linear-loving brain blow gaskets. The rear bumper is the worst, which brings us to the next fail: if you’re going to give such great detail about what you’ve added to the car, CAN’T YOU TAKE MORE THAN TWO PICTURES?! At least SHOW us how that saggy butt really looks so we can start to picture how to fix it.

$6,500 isn’t bad for a mostly cool-looking Jetta Coupe with a VR6 and Porsche wheels. But having two pictures is the domain of $850 OBO “NEDS WRK AC BROKN” eBay specials. So, is it a big Fail this Friday, or just in need of a serious in-person investigation?

Click for details: 1989 Volkswagen Jetta Coupe on eBay