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

Year: 1991
Model: Golf GTI
Engine: 1.8 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 58,731 mi
Price: £12,995 (~ $19,001 USD)

MODEL HISTORY

The VW Golf Mk2 succeeded the Mk1 from 1983 and remained in production until late 1992. Volkswagen reportedly spent £500 million developing the Mk2. The car slightly grew in wheelbase, with greater exterior and interior dimensions over its predecessor. Despite this it still retained the overall look of the Mk1, albeit slightly more rounder as to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag. During the life of the Mk2 there were a variety of updates and revisions to styling and trim, the most notable was the introduction of the ‘big bumpers’ introduced in the European market during the August 1989 facelift.

The success of the Mk1 GTi was continued with the sporty Mk2 GTi, and to capitalise on the worldwide success of the Mk1 GTi Volkswagen chose to release the Mk2 GTi in the same year as the rest of the fleet. It featured a 1.8-litre 8v engine with a slightly more powerful 16v variant following shortly. The 8v was particular popular for its low down torque and excellent driveability. During its midlife update the 8v unit benefited from the introduction of a Digifant engine management system.

Popularity of the Mk2 grew from the 1987 advertisement “Changes” in which Paula Hamilton bearing a close resemblance to Diana, Princess of Wales is seen leaving her husband, posting her wedding ring back through the letterbox, ditching her mink coat, throwing the house keys at the cat and dumping the pearl necklace BUT keeping the car keys; it used the tag line “If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen”. The commercial was a hit and changed the way cars were advertised from then on.

EQUIPMENT

Sunroof, Power steering, Factory BBS RA alloy wheels, Trip computer, Sony CD player, Cassette holder, Lockable glove compartment, Golf ball gear knob, Spare wheel, Immobiliser, Fitted indoor car cover.

EXTERIOR

This ‘big bumper’ Mk2 is in exceptional, original condition and is completely rust-free. There are very few stone chips to be found and after 26 years there are almost no blemishes to speak of. The car has had just two keepers from new, who have clearly both maintained the car to very high standards.

On close inspection all of the plastic trim is still really good; the only point to note is a slight graze on the corner of the front bumper. All the lights are free from cracks and moisture, with all windows retaining their etched registration numbers. The underside of the car is also very clean and again free of any corrosion or damage.

INTERIOR

Having seen such light usage over the years the cabin remains extremely fresh and tidy. The tartan style cloth upholstery has really stood the test of time, and maintains a lovely crisp pattern throughout. The fabric does not show any signs of sagging, with only the lightest of wear and discolouration on the driver’s seat bolsters worthy of note.

Aside from the fitment of a later style ‘face-off’ CD player the interior remains period correct, and is free from any modifications or ‘upgrades’. The dash and fascia are undamaged, and the carpets also appear spotless. The seats in the rear are pristine, and the rear luggage compartment also presents well.

ENGINE & TRANSMISSION

The under bonnet area is wonderfully clean with all plastic components appearing factory-fresh. There is no corrosion to any of the inner panels, and the engine itself remains in excellent fettle.

Much of the early service work was carried out by the supplying dealer, Smith Knight Fay VW. More recently in 2015 the car underwent a full service to include a brake fluid change and repairs to the gearbox. Unsurprisingly the five-speed ‘box feels smooth and precise to operate.

WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES

The Golf sits on its original set of 15-inch BBS RA wheels, all of which present in excellent order having been refurbished to a high standard. They are complete with the correct BBS centre caps and also feature locking wheel nuts. The alloys are shod in a matching set of Toyo Proxes tyres that have seen little use since fitting. In 2015 the car also received new front brake pads and discs, replacement rear brake pipes, and fresh brake fluid.

HISTORY FILE
Mr Talbot took delivery of his brand new GTi on 1st August 1990. He went on to own the car until 2011, driving it sparingly but making sure to keep it regularly maintained. It was SORN’d between the years 2005 and 2009, and changed hands for the first time in 2011. The service history is as follows:

07/08/1991 at 3,299 miles
21/07/1992 at 6,103 miles
29/07/1993 at 9,445 miles
29/07/1994 at 12,455 miles
18/07/1995 at 16,150 miles
25/06/1996 at 20,191 miles
18/05/1998 at 27,077 miles
26/06/2000 at 32,067 miles
25/06/2001 at 33,757 miles
29/07/2002 at 35,449 miles
07/06/2011 at 46,586 miles
24/04/2015 at 56,269 miles

Present in the history file is the VW document pack complete with all the original manuals to include the stamped service booklet. The paperwork is packed full of invoices, MOT certificates, and includes the original New Vehicle Order Form as well as other period documentation from when the car was new.

I am one of those who is probably in the minority who likes the Mk2 version of the GTI better than the Mk1. There’s certainly nothing wrong with the Mk1, it’s just that I prefer the slightly larger size and rounder edges of the car we see here. While right-hand drive may be off-putting for a lot of people, this car’s condition is such that I could overlook this factor. One thing I can not overlook is the price. At almost $20,000 USD, this GTI is priced way outside of the normal range, to a point where clean Porsche 944s and non M versions of the BMW E30 are residing. If this GTI were a 16V, maybe I could see it, but it’s just too dear for the lesser engined GTI of the era.

-Paul

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