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Heap of the Week: 1984 Volkswagen Jetta GLi

So few remain around these days that it’s easy to forget that in 1984 Volkswagen introduced the hot 4-door Jetta, the GLi. Like the GTi brethren, these featured an upgraded 1.8 inline-4 mated to a close ratio 5-speed transmission, as well as upgraded brakes and a few external changes to set them apart from the run-of-the-mill Jettas. Not many were produced, and again like the GTi few remain around in good shape; in fact, I can think of only one that I’ve seen in the past decade. Like me, the owner is a high performance driving enthusiast and we’ve been trucking our old Volkswagen/Audi products out to BMW HPDEs for years. Despite neither of us having the fastest car out there, it’s always fun to see his red GLi, hunkered down over very wide semi-slick tires bouncing down the front straight at Lime Rock park. Today’s GLi isn’t quite ready to do that, but offers a glimpse into a rare car that’s quite affordable and should be saved:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen Jetta GLi on eBay

Year: 1984
Model: Jetta GLi
Engine: 1.8 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: mi
Price: No Reserve Auction

Project car in great shape, body has minimal rust, interior in good condition for age, sunroof works and doesn’t leak. Drives ok, just had new brake lines installed and shift gate adjusted. I’ve used it as a daily driver all summer and fall, was going to do a full rebuild, a long term project car, but have decided to get back into subaru’s. This was my first foray into Volkswagen’s. To keep as a daily driver it would need nothing at this point. For a long term driver brakes, and rear shocks should be replaced soon. Runs solid when it’s running. Heater blower motor is out, no stereo, drivers seat has a broken bracket but it’s still ok. all windows and doors, lights work fine. Exhaust has a leak. This is a perfect starting place for a project car to customize.

As of Jan 1st this car won’t start. It will crank over but won’t fire. Getting spark, fuel and nothing frozen up. This car is not running at time of this sale.I had sold on here earlier this week, due to cold the battery had gotten weak so I jumped it, started fine, drove it and pulled into the garage, left it running for a few min and then shut it off to check fluids, take personal stuff out etc. went to start again and it’s cranking over but won’t fire. Could be from sitting for a month in this winter cold. I’m not sure and don’t have the time to look into it as it’s not a car I need anymore, it’s just taking space.

Parting out this car alone could be worth a ton of money but since it can’t be driven it’s being sold as is. You’ll need to pick it up with a trailer or have it hauled.

Brand New Haynes Manual included ( had to order specially)

Though it’s listed as not running, it seems that it was running recently; given the somewhat glitchy electricals of this generation of Volkswagen, I wonder if either a relay or the fuel pump has failed and produced the no-run situation, as the CIS is pretty simple and generally fault-proof. The seller has taken careful note of usual rust-prone areas in the car, and though there are a few spots of what appears to be surface rust overall the car looks pretty solid. The interior isn’t particularly pretty but is all there. These are such rare little beasts, I would imagine that the market is there is restore one to top condition – and if it’s not, the market isn’t far away. Bidding on this car is quite low – as of writing, $510, leaving plenty of room in the budget to get it running and sorted. If it could be picked up for under $1,000, I’d consider it pretty well bought and a fun winter project. Source some Euro-bumpers, a 16V motor transplant and some RML snowflake replicas and you’d have yourself a nice alternative to a 2002 or 320is!



  1. KevinR
    KevinR January 7, 2014

    My wife officially hates you guys now…

    In June of 1984, I purchased an ’84 Jetta GLI that looked exactly like this one, right down to the 13″ alloy wheels. 1st generation GLIs have always been rare and I fondly remember my time with one.

    It’s currently sitting at $510 bid. Given the fact that it has to be towed and needs rehab of just about everything, I’m not sure how much higher it should go. My emotions say “MORE” but my intellect says “STOP!”

    I am going to try to resist temptation to buy this car because:
    a) I already have more than enough “project” vehicles
    b) I don’t have enough parking space as it is
    c) the glory of 30 years of recollection is always better than reality

  2. Carter
    Carter January 7, 2014

    Oh, come on Kevin! Where’s your sense of adventure? $510 is what, about one Boxster oil change? This car not only comes with oil and filter, but a WHOLE CAR attached to it! Bargain!

    In all seriousness, your comment about time healing wounds is poignant. I’ve been lusting after another V8 quattro for several months because apparently it took me exactly a decade to forget about how much it cost to keep running!

  3. audemars
    audemars January 7, 2014

    This is a Made in Mexico ‘Atlantic’, named ‘Jetta’ for the US.

  4. KevinR
    KevinR January 7, 2014

    According to the VIN it is a 1984 model Volkswagen constructed in Germany. Not sure where you got the idea it was an Atlantic…

  5. audemars
    audemars January 7, 2014

    Yes, correct. Didn’t realize it was a GLI. Just like the GTI, Cabriolet, and Passat, it was assembled in Germany.
    Most of the regular Jetta and Golf models in the US and Canada, were made in Mexico.
    Interesting Fact: The very first Chrysler K cars, also had Mexican supplied Atlantic (Jetta) engines, that were made by VW in Mexico.

  6. KevinR
    KevinR January 8, 2014

    Not exactly. You’re confusing the first generation (A1) cars with later generations. The first generation includes ’75-’84 Rabbit/GTI/Pickup, ’80-’84 Jetta, ’76-’81 Scirocco, ’82-’88 Scirocco and ’80-’93 Convertible/Cabriolet.

    All first generation water cooled VWs sold in the United States were built in Germany, except for most 1978 to 1984 Rabbits/GTIs/Pickups, which were built in Westmoreland, PA. {Round headlights from the factory = Germany built; Square headlights from the factory = Pennsylvania built}

    I am not aware of any Mexican assembled first generation cars sold by Volkswagen in the United States.

    I’ll take your word for the Chrysler products; I never cared enough to pay attention to them.

  7. audemars
    audemars January 8, 2014

    You are correct and incorrect in your statements.
    The VW plant in Westmoreland, PA was actually receiving a large percentage of their parts from the VW plant in Puebla, Mexico. They assembled them there, but with a large percentage of parts actually having been manufactured in Mexico. Maybe you could say “Made in the USA”, but individually, the parts were “Made in Mexico”.
    How do I know that? Because my father was sent in by VW to open up the VW plant in Westmoreland. Once it was up and running, he went back and continued being a high level Senior Executive of VW.
    Westmoreland failed, since it was realized it would be cheaper to assemble the cars in Mexico, export them to the US, instead of shipping Mexican VW parts to the US, and assembling them in the US, as US made VW’s. Very expensive, in terms of shipping, labor costs, etc.

  8. KevinR
    KevinR January 8, 2014

    I’ll take your word for that as well. However in over 30 years of dealing with 1st generation Volkswagens, I have never once encountered a part with a Made In Mexico label on it. Not sure that it matters either. My 2000 Jetta was a Mexican built car and its build quality was head and shoulders above some of the VWs I’ve owned that were built in Germany.

  9. sergio
    sergio March 14, 2014

    is the 1984 jetta gli for sale?

  10. Kane
    Kane March 16, 2014

    Where is this car located? I’m interested if it’s somewhere near Michigan.

  11. Carter
    Carter March 16, 2014

    Sergio and Kane, the car sold in January for a little under $700.

  12. Kane
    Kane March 16, 2014

    Balls. My GLI is falling apart and I need a new one.

Comments are closed.