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Coming to America: 1991 Volkswagen Golf Country

I have often wondered why dealers, specifically those that export vehicles do not go out of their way to bring more interesting cars to our shores.  Case in point, this 1991 Volkswagen Golf Country that is currently in en route to the states from Japan.

1991 Volkswagen Golf Country:

From the seller –

“For sale is a 1991 Golf Country Syncro

Price: $11,500

First of all about this sale: The car is in the process of being imported, however is currently still in Japan. I, as the seller, assume all responsibility for importing the car and making it legal. This will be up to me, and whoever buys the car will be buying a street legal, licensed car in America. I work for a dealer in Japan who imports cars from America to Japan. Recently we have been talking about trying to start going the other direction. At my suggestion we got this Golf Country, and are sending it over as a “test car” to gauge feasibility etc. I am not some tourist over here for a brief stay claiming to bring a rare car back to make internet friends.

That being said lets get to the details

1991 Golf Coutry
I bought the car from a long time customer of ours who was the second owner. He bought it from a nother dealer who had accepted it as a trade in from the origial owner.

1.8l 8v with 131,459 km/ 81,684 original miles

OEM 5-speed syncro with ~1,000km / 621 miles on it. before I bought it we had put in a brand new transmission. We were lucky enough to be able to source one for $7,000 from Germany as there were none in Japan, and we were told there was only 1 at the dealer we bought it from in Germany.

Wheels/ Suspension/ Brakes:
Still has the original set of 5 Speedlines. 15×6 et 35. Tires are 195/65R15 Firestone FR10`s which still have good life on them. The spare has never been used. The wheels were repainted gunmetal about 1.5 years ago.
Suspension is all original as are the brakes. Front are 2-pot and rears are drum.
The car is fitted with all the original Country Golf suspention and sway bars, as well as full underbody subframe.

The have to say the interior is really nice and full of cool subtle 90`s style touches.
Everything is original and in very good shape. The only non original items are the navi/dvd player which will be removed before export (cant use a Japanese Navi in america anyway) and the sparco pedals which add a nice touch, but can be easily removed if so desired. The current DVD/ Navi I will add was installed in such a way as to not harm any of the original dash/ bezel area and will be taken out without harming anything.
The seats are in very good shape and have syncro embroidered in all four headrests (one of the subtle touches I like). The outer lower drivers side bolster is slightly worn in a quarter sized spot, but other than that everything is great. The rear seats have rarely been sat in. One of the plastic covers for the speaker in the door is cracked a bit but no pieces are missing and could be glued back together if it bothered the next owner enough. Still have the front and back original floor mats. The trunk is very nice as well. Everything is still nplace from the shelf to the original Bilstein jack and tool set.
Automatic front windows work amazingly as does the rear windshield defrost, heat, A/C etc. The rear windows are crank. Manybe this is normal but being a mk1 guy myself I was pretty impressed!

The exterior is also in very good shape. The car received a full “windows out” color coded respray 1.5 years ago (same time as the tires) and is still in great shape. At this time the fender flares, bumpers, and molding strips were smooted and painted the same gunmetal as the wheels. Being that Japanese roads are much narower than American roads there were some scuffs on the fenders so they, along with the bumpers, molding strips, front roll bar, rear bar holding the tire, skid plate, and mirrors have all been removed and are being repainted to match the body color. There is no rust on this car! The rear windows are tinted with film and can be removed easily if so desired. The car has four Bosch rally lights which are wired into an original switch in the dash. The one thing that doesnt work is the electronic antenna wont come up when you push the button for it on the dash, havent figured out why not yet.

Overall I am very happy with the car. I have driven it around and it is definitely different and fun to drive. there are a few issues I want to address however. Keep in mind the car is at our dealer now, and some if not all these issues will be repaired before the car is exported. The muffler should be replaced. It has a hole in it and is pretty loud. but very likely will be replaced in short order. Most if not all the rubber axle boots are torn and should be replaced. The rear drivers side drum break leaks fluid slowly and should probably be rebuilt. Lastly the engine/ bay in general isnt very clean and a bit oily. I plan to thouroughly clean everything and find out if there is an issue and have it taken care of before exporting. I will update with these things as I am able.

The ship across the ocean takes 2 week, and this is the main reason I am starting the post now. Our hope is to have a buyer by the time the car has reached america to cut down on time between it being legalized and sold.”

I have seen more of these cars surface in the past twelve months than I have seen in the last decade combined.  This as fine an example as I have seen.  It’s not cheap, but, it has a new ($7k!) transmission and the seller will facilitate the import and legalization process.  The latter is huge as the past couple examples that have surfaced have had questionable title issues.

The only troubling issue, and normally I could care less, how is the dealer making any money?  I am not what I would call math smart, or smart for that matter.  But, if a new transmission is $7k, shipping is $2k, what did they pay for the car?  The asking price of $11.5k does not seem to be firm either.

Not my problem, I would drive this all day over a Tiguan.  The key word being drive, assuming the seller does what they say they can do in regards to import this is a Golf that can be driven and enjoyed almost immediately.



  1. Aaron
    Aaron May 9, 2012

    Interesting that they are bringing that in as it does not meet US importation rules.

  2. Larry
    Larry May 10, 2012

    If this is actually a legit advertisement (big question), and if they are really going to bring this in legally (next big question) – if that’s even possible (another big question) – the seller is going to spend (at least) what they are asking for the car just to get it to that point.

    Are they expecting the buyer to pay up front, with no guarantee that all of those questions will have a positive outcome? That would be crazy. Regardless, it’s going to be a long and arduous process with no assurance of success at the end.

    Maybe I’m not enough of a risk taker, but I’d only consider a car like this once it’s here, federalized and titled.

    Cool example of VW niche marketing though…

Comments are closed.