1990 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 16V

Much like the S4 I posted over the weekend, the Jetta GLI 16V is a car which on paper I should like very much. After all, I’m a huge fan of the same-generation GTI 16V, and the Jetta was little more than a trunk added to that formula. Underneath, there were almost no changes between the two. You got the same high-strung 9A 2.0 16V with Motronic fuel injection pushing 134 horses through that open-diff front end. Your only choice was a 5-speed manual, of course, and it was a close-ratio one – enjoy those highway speeds! Brakes were updated to 10.1″ and dual tailpipes emerged from the new ‘big bumper’ A2 refresh. Central locking and a cassette player were standard, while you could opt for many power options including windows, mirror, anti-lock brakes, trip computer, cruise control and of course a sunroof. The GLI also carried over BBS wheels from the pre’90 1.8 models, in this case the 15″x 6.5″ ‘RA’.

These items should have conspired to produce a deeply desirable product for me. And yet, somehow I never really took to the Jetta though many did. I suppose it’s the same as the 4000 quattro/Coupe GT fan bases. Rarely do they seem to cross over, yet there’s a mutual respect between them. I like the Jetta, and in the absence of the GTI it would probably be a great favorite of mine. It was aimed at being a more refined alternative to the racier hot hatch. But ultimately it falls second fiddle to the GTI, which always seems (and, arguably is) just that little bit more neat.

For enthusiasts, though, that means potential value. As GTI 16V prices climb steeply with no real relent in sight and few good examples hitting the market, you can get a bit of a value if you don’t mind the junk in the trunk:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 16V on eBay

1992 Volkswagen GTI 16V

9A. It’s a term most enthusiasts don’t know. Unlike most pedantic BMW owners that have memorized every signal chassis, engine and option, Volkswagen’s various iterations of the EA827 motor can get a quite esoteric even to lovers of the brand. But the 9A was something a little special, because that was the high-revving 2.0 liter 16V that was stuck into the GTI, GLI and Passat models in the early 1990s. Down on power to the more famous and ubiquitous VR6, the 9A was the VW’s equivalent of the S14. Like the E30 M3, the GTI and GLI wore special items to denote the racey motor under the hood; BBS wheels, wider flares, foglights, Recaro seats and special trim to help set them apart from the more pedestrian lineup. This was the period where a blacked-out VW badge really meant something. While the 9A might not be a name most remember, the “GTI 2 liter 16 valve” still is a magical formula to lovers of the hot hatch in the late 1980s and early 1990s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Volkswagen GTI 16V on eBay

1992 Volkswagen Jetta GLi 16V

Edit 6/17/2017: This car has reappeared with new photos, a new listing and a $10,000 Buy It Now HERE!

The late 1980s saw an explosion of popularity in homologated race specials. There was the Quattro, fresh off the World Rally Championship. Though technically not a homologation, Porsche gave us a pretty popular option in the 944 Turbo which derived much of its technology from the successful 924 Carrera GTR/LM program. Of course, the real heavy hitters were the 190E 2.3/2.5-16 Cosworths from Mercedes-Benz and the superstar BMW M3. But all of those cars were pretty expensive; the Quattro and 944 Turbo were the best part of $40,000, the Benz hit the market at $37,000 while the slightly more affordable M3 stickered for $34,000. Still, inflation corrected, even the least expensive 1988 M3’s sticker price would equate to roughly $69,000 in buying power today – hardly affordable to most.

However, for a little less than half of what the M3 cost, you could get a fair chunk of the high-revving European feel in the Jetta GLi. It hit the markets around $15,000, which felt like quite a lot considering a base Jetta cost only half that amount a few years early. But a lot of Jetta you got for that money. Like the M3, it had a deep front spoiler with integral brake ducting and a rear wing. It had a roof mounted antenna, too, and most Jetta GLis were full of power options like windows, mirrors, anti-lock brakes and sunroofs. Also like the M3 you got form-fitting Recaro seats, and light alloy BBS wheels. And at its heart was a high-revving double-overhead cam 16 valve motor hooked to a close ratio 5-speed manual gearbox. Of course, for $20,000 less than the M3, you weren’t going to get a BMW – power, material and build quality, and the performance were all less than the Munich cars or the rest of that group previously mentioned.…

1987 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V

While we look at collector-grade automobiles more often than not, it’s always nice to ponder driver-quality cars too. I’ve made the conscious decision several times to not buy the nicest example of a car that I could find, instead trying to rehab a car that had been languishing and might otherwise have been forgotten. I’m now on my fifth example of this, and while economically it might not be the best plan there is something rewarding about salvaging a car and bringing it back from the brink. However, usually such examples are priced accordingly; I bought my 1984 GTi for $300, for example, and the same amount bought me a 200 quattro Avant about a decade later. Once I paid a staggering $800 for a Golf with nearly 200,000 miles on it, and the seemingly decadent V8 quattro set me back $2,000. All gave me lots of automotive joy – not the get in, nothing is wrong type, but if you cue the Sarah McLaughlin and sad puppy dog eyes roll across the screen, I can see the hope in salvation of nearly every car. There’s always something that’s good, right? In the case of today’s quarter-million mile Scirocco, there’s a lot that’s good:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1982 BMW 320/6 Baur TC1

Calling Baur a tuner isn’t really very fair, but since we don’t have a separate category for semi-aftermarket carriage works, it will fit in. Baur worked in conjunction with a few manufacturers – most notably BMW, though a few Audi fans will remember that they were responsible for construction of the Sport Quattros too and they assisted in the assembly of the Porsche 959 as well. Much like Porsche originally started as, they were linked to the factory efforts due to their high level of unique production capability. That manifested itself in limited run models that required special construction – such as the Sport Quattro and 959 – but what most enthusiasts will remember are the multiple 3-series Cabriolet models produced through Baur. These were offered through dealers as an expensive option and to this day remain a very unique expression of Munich motoring:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 BMW 320/6 Baur TC1 on eBay

1985 BMW 635CSi Euro-Spec

It’s been a good week for European specification BMWs here at GCFSB, with the ultra-clean and original E28 and unique E34 the other day. Today is a more desirable model to many, because beyond offering the slimmer bumpers the rest of the world enjoyed, through the mid 1980s if you wanted any real performance from your BMW the Euro versions offered a substantial bump. Through 1984, the top of the heap on U.S. shores was the 633CSi – power had steadily improved since launch, but only slightly – from 176 horsepower in the 630CSi to 181 in the 633. Running concurrently in Europe, however, was a hotter 635CSi. With 218 horsepower on tap from the enlarged 3.4 liter displacement, coupled with a lower weight, these sharks offered much better performance than the U.S. bound models and it was quite popular in the early 1980s to import them. However, in 1985 BMW brought it’s own semi-neutered version of the 635CSi to the North American market, meaning the flood of European models slowed to a trickle and it’s fairly rare to find any post 1985. Today’s example is from that changeover year, and looks splendid in black over tan with BBS wheels:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW 635CSi on eBay

1979 BMW 528i

In yesterday’s Alpina Roadster post, I mentioned cars that you just don’t see much of any more. Is there a better example than the BMW E12? I’m sure there is, but in many ways the E12 embodies exactly what I was speaking of. Early examples suffered from the notorious thermal reactor problems – something that would likely put them on a CIA watchlist for extremist activity today. But it wasn’t just engine problems that struck the E12. There was one that a friend of mine owned and then sold to my cousin. It was a fun car for sure with tremendous personality, but it also had tremendous rust – the downfall of many 1970s BMWs. From the floorboards to the (leaking) fuel tank, it seemed to rust from everywhere. Not many of these sedans survive today, but they really established the benchmark for BMW’s mid-range sedans that carried over through today – they were, at the time, the best driving sedans money could buy:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW 528i on eBay

1984 Volkswagen Jetta Coupe

If there is one car that never really made sense to me in the Volkswagen lineup, it is the Jetta Coupe. There is a cult following for these two-door sedans and many times they command a premium over their 4-door counterparts. Why? That’s a fantastic question, though perhaps it is simply the rarity of the 2-door that elevates their status. The same phenomena can be seen in the Audi 80 (4000) 2-door, which was available in several different engine and drivetrain configurations early in the production run. However, in that case it’s specifically the 2-door 80 that was used as both a basis for the development of the Quattro and, perhaps more notably, the doors and windshield of the Sport Quattro. That link adds to the mystique of the 2-door 80. But the Jetta? I’m afraid I’ve just never understood why it’s more desirable. It’s a less convenient sedan without the styling of a real coupe or grand tourer and without the functionality of the 2-door hatchback Golf. Yet desirable they are, and when presented in low mileage condition with some nice dress up items on an already rare platform like the A1 chassis sedan, it’s quite desirable indeed:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen Jetta Coupe on eBay

Wednesday Wheels Roundup

Today I have a few more rare sets of wheels to check out. On the bigger and newer front are some brand new OZ Racing Superleggeras for Mercedes-Benz or Audi fitment. They’ve never even seen the road, but are a stellar deal at only $900. A much more expensive but equally large set of Speedline Alessios for BMWs are next; at $3,300 they’re staggeringly expensive but quite impressive looking on that E34. Next we travel back in time to when 13″ wheels were something that was the norm; equip an early A1 Volkswagen or 2002/320i BMW with these BBS RA wheels, though, and it’ll be sure to standout even with small rubber. Lastly are a set of the ATS made Porsche 924 Weissach Edition wheels; they’re slightly different than the normal ATS wheels that were optioned onto the 924 because the Weissach had machined faces and graphite inserts instead of being all silver. These need some work, but would make an early 924 or Audi look pretty special if so equipped. Both of the smaller wheels are pretty affordable at less than $500. What’s your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: OZ Racing Superleggera 5×112 18×8 Wheels on eBay

Wednesday Wheels Roundup

It’s a day ending in “Y”, so you better believe that my mind has been on wheels. I stumbled across a few neat sets this week and though I’d post them up for any wheel whores such as me. We’ve got a neat set of Schnitzer classic 5 spokes for E30s, along with a rare set of 924 Turbo Manhole covers. They’re forged and the proper setup for the narrow body 924, and fairly rare to see. Also rare to see are a set of the Penta AMG replica wheels. Not as valuable as the ATS made wheels, they’re nonetheless pretty neat. There’s a mega set of BBS RAs that would just be stunning on an early 80s Mercedes SEC and a neat and very rare to see set of BBS-like Melber wheels. What’s your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: AC Schnitzer 4×100 16×7.5 Wheels on eBay