What did you get if you wanted a reasonable German commuter that was no frills but fun to drive and got good mileage in 1997? After a long run of Audis, I was ready for something that was a little less dear to fix considering at the time I was putting around 55,000 miles a year on my cars for work. My mechanic glanced towards a faded but reasonably clean Tornado Red Golf K2 he had in the lot and said “You can have that for $1,500”. Done. I never once regretted it – it was a great little car; it would get 34 m.p.g. in a pinch, the air condition blew cold, the K2 came with heated seats, and even after 3,000 hours of polishing I restored the “Tornado Pink” to red once again. It was also fun to drive – the 8 valve has been given the nickname “2.slow” by enthusiasts, but the reality is that the ABA is more than adequate to motivate the lightweight Golf at speeds the original GTi would be envious of – plus, it had torque. Put sticky tires and a stiffer suspension on it and it was fun in the twisties, and good snow tires let you toss it around in the white stuff with no problems. But the best part of the Golf was its simplicity; it was just basic transportation, but it added character to a daily commute. I loved it, and smile every time I see a clean one like this Memory Red Pearl example with lower miles come up for sale:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Volkswagen Golf on eBay
Engine: 2.0 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 70,989 mi
Price: Reserve Auction
1997 Volkswagen Golf hatchback, 5spd with a 2.0 liter engine. It has four doors with a lift gate in the back. The rear seats fold down for added trunk space. It has cloth interior, manual windows, a/c, cd player with nice sounding speakers. The body is in great shape, no rust, only one small dent in the drivers side door the size of a golf ball. The tires are in decent shape and they are on a 14 inch rim. The car has a current inspection sticker on it good until March of 2015. It only has 70k on it and if you are familiar with VW you can put a lot of miles on these cars. It runs and drives great. I do not have the title but in NH you don’t need a title for any vehicle over 15 years old. I would need $1000 deposit within 48 hours of the sale and remaining balance due within 5 days of deposit. Certified bank check or cash in person. Buyer is responsible for picking up the car when the remaining balance is paid. This car is being sold as is as seen, no warranty.
The basic description matches the basic kit of this car, but it’s interesting to me that it was specified in a rare to see color that was extra money. The spec is very similar to my K2 minus the special heated seats, fog lights and GTi dials that came with the K2, but for most those things don’t make much of a difference. The “Golf” badge is in the wrong place on the rear which is odd and the parcel shelf is taco’d, but otherwise this car appears to be in far above average shape. Despite that, it should trade hands for less than one repair bills on most of the other cars we look at. It won’t shock you with speed or bath you in luxury, but this is just good, honest, cheap and fun transportation – the real definition of the “People’s Car”.