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1991 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 16V

Volkswagen of America’s new “Fahrvergnügen” sales campaign in the early 1990s was, while a marketing ploy and a totally made up neologism, underscoring sporty changes at Volkswagen. The more serious 2.0 16V GTI I’ve already covered recently, but the same motor was available in the more fun-to-drive Passat here, too. Then there was the Corrado, which while it only had 8 valves sported a supercharger. You could that that G60 in the Passat in Europe, too.

Volkswagen’s popular smaller sedan had a healthy dose of upgrades though, too. In ’89, the Jetta GLI 16V had a special Wolfsburg Edition which had added the deeply bolstered Recaro Trophy seats and BBS RA alloys. These were color-matched to the Helios Blue Metallic paint outside. The seats and BBS wheels would carry over for the 1990 model year, but like the GTI the Jetta received the new 9A 2.0 16V and revised bumper/trim of all the A2s. 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.

Although the package was essentially quite similar to the GTI, I’ve never quite taken to the 2.0 GLI 16V in the same way. But it’s still very nice to see a clean example hit the market:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 16V on eBay

Year: 1991
Model: Jetta GLI 16V
VIN: WVWTJ21G7MW667216
Engine: 2.0 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 175,000 mi (TMU)
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Price: $9,900 Buy It Now

175k Miles TMU
16-Valve 2.0L 4-Cylinder Engine
5-Speed Manual Transmission
Black over Gray Cloth
Factory Recaro Seats
15″ BBS Basketweave Wheels
Manual Sunroof
Original window sticker, owner’s manual, spare and tools

FULL DISCLOSURE: The vehicle has a clean title with “total loss” on the Carfax history.

This 1991 Volkswagen Jetta GLI power comes from a 16 Valve 2.0L inline-four cylinder engine mated with a 5-speed manual transmission. The car is finished in Black over a gray interior, and including 15″ BBS wheels, Recaro seats and rear spoiler. The interior is trimmed in black vinyl and gray cloth over Recaro sport front seats. Additional features include air conditioning, power windows and OEM Volkswagen cassette stereo. The only modifications are sport springs and shocks. Recent service includes timing belt, water pump, valve cover gasket and shifter rebuilt.

The looks are classic, and the condition in the presentation is above average. Obviously there is a disclosed total loss along the way that is not explained, and the seller also claims the total mileage is unknown. Frankly, both of those are fairly easily explained away; these were pretty cheap cars for some time, and a smallish accident could leave the car totaled – yet be fairly easily repairable. The same goes for the odometers; frankly, you should put little trust in the reading on any mechanical German odometer built between 1975 or so and the switch to digital. They just about all break.

To me, look at this car as what it is today. It’s a clean GLI in mostly original configuration. It appears to be lowered, looks like it may have European-style headlights, and an aftermarket sound system. It was fully loaded with the convenience group, a sunroof, and air conditioning, and even still has the window sticker. Yes, there are trim items and lenses that need to be replaced, and the engine bay needs a detailing. $10k sounds like a lot, and it’d be nice to know the mechanical history and what occurred with the accident. But you could easily drop double that amount to buy a nicer one, or have this one as a driver. The 80s and early 90s VW market is still hotting up.

Thanks to our reader Wojciech for suggesting this one!



  1. Ed
    Ed October 25, 2021

    I went to look at an exact copy of this car back in the day and damn near got it but got cold feet at the last minute. Went back to a different dealership in April of ’91 and got to take a Corrado home instead for about the same price. Still love these Jettas though.

  2. Andrew
    Andrew November 15, 2021

    The Jettas handle better because of the additional weight over the rear axle. I own an 89 GLI Wolfsburg Edition and I will never sell it. It is one of ,if not the most fun to drive car I have ever driven. Mine is stock with a few simple suspension mods. These cars are way underappreciated because the GTIs always got all the attention.

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