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1991 Volkswagen GTI 16V

Without a doubt, for me the best change ever to the GTI lineup was the revision in mid-1990 of the GTI 16V. The DOHC screamer was already a pretty potent performer, but Volkswagen pushed the desirability over the top for the end of the run. The result was what many – this author included – consider the best of the breed. The original may have been more pure, and subsequent models are a lot faster and more dependable. But none of them got it quite as right as the 2.0 16V.

Outside the GTI built on its legend with wider European-market flares and deep rockers. Like all of the A2s, new ‘Big Bumper’ covers integrated fog lights and brake ducting. Yes, they looked heavier than the previous slim bumpers, but they also matched the design well. Iconic round headlights returned, now with inner driving lights too. But arguably the best change was the addition of 15″ wheels – in this case, the BBS RM multi-piece units. New colors also were introduced, including the equally iconic and signature ‘Montana Green’. Inside the interior was bulked up with large bolster Recaro Trophy seats. To match the wicked looks, under the hood was improved with a new 2.0 version of the 16V motor. The 9A introduced CIS-E Motronic fuel injection, while the bore was increased from 81mm to 82.5 and the stroke from 86.4 mm to 92.8. Compression was increased slightly from 10.5:1 to 10.8:1 and the result was 134 horsepower at 5,800 RPMs and 133 lb.ft of torque at 4,400. The engine was still matched the the 2Y close ratio transmission with a 3.67 final drive. While the GTI 16V couldn’t match the Callaway Turbo GTI we saw yesterday on sheer acceleration, it was generally reviewed as the best GTI yet. Finding a clean example today is always cause for celebration, and this one looks ready to party. Does it hold up?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen GTI 16V on eBay

Year: 1991
Model: GTI 16V
Engine: 2.0 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 92,728 mi
Price: $6,500 Buy It Now

1991 VW GTI for sale, second owner, under 100K miles. Originally a 16v, the 16v was removed and replaced with a low mileage ABA for reliability. Motor swap professionally done by NLS in PA. Car sits on coilover suspension, 17″ TSW rims, new tires and brakes. Car runs perfectly and is extremely reliable. Interior is nearly perfect and the power Recaro seats are in near mint condition. No cracks or anything on the red stripe dash. AC was maintained when the motor swap was done and has been converted to R404 though it could use a recharge. There is no rust on this car, it has been stored indoors for years and does not get driven in inclement weather. The Bad: Car needs paint (see photos), the Alpine white shows its age in many spots and original owner apparently tried to remove the pinstripe effectively “ripping” the paint on one side before just painting over it on the other side. A decent paintjob and this car could be show ready in no time. This car is by no means flawless; it has holes in the front big bumper from previous front license plates, it needs a c-pillar trim piece inside and window seals are starting to show their 27 year old age. This car is adult owned. Please forward questions through Ebay. Car is located in Northeast PA.

Update –

I didn’t go into full details but the car has a ton of replaced, upgraded parts, too many to list really but here is a start:

ACT Stage 2 clutch kit and Eurospec lightened flywheel

Redline transmission fluid

FK adjustable coilovers F/R

1997 MK3 hubs for bigger brakes

Audi 5000 Girling 60 2 piston calipers

SS brake lines F/R

ATE 11” front rotors

ATE Super Blue DOT 4 brake fluid

23MM ATE master cylinder

Full SS Techtonics exhaust with Borla Muffler

New within the last 3,000 miles:

Strut Mounts

Control Arms

Wheel bearings all around

Timing Belt

All gaskets and seals done with motor swap( have receipt)

Radiator and hoses

Water Pump

While it’s not abnormal for these GTIs to lose the notoriously soft BBS RMs since new, the loss of the 9A is a bit regrettable. I totally understand the idea of installing the ABA. Rated at 114 horsepower and 122 lb.ft of torque at a much more daily-driver friendly 3,200 rpms, it produces most of the power of the 9A but really lacks the excitement of the DOHC motor. The question is can you live without two of the signature items by getting an otherwise clean GTI? I think so. This car is pretty tidy throughout and the seller has done a good job of outlining the generally good upgrades and maintenance while showing the shortcomings. The wheels, and even the engine, could be replaced more easily than fixing up a rusty chassis or a basket case. While not perfect, the Alpine White chassis shows pretty well and certainly better than most. The seller is asking $6,500 – in line with where non-perfect 2.0 16Vs hit the market but with many more miles, but more shocking is that no one has bid at the no reserve $5,000 opening price. Like yesterday’s rare Callaway, this one seems a deal if you’re ready to pull the trigger.



  1. Marc
    Marc August 29, 2018

    Originally a 16v, the 16v was removed and replaced with a low mileage ABA for reliability.

    NO 16V!! no way….

  2. Jonathan
    Jonathan August 31, 2018

    Yeah. I second that. Why take the 16V out when its one of the signature items of this model?? Would it be worth putting one back in?

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