Have you ever seen a familiar face and just can’t place it? Perhaps I’m getting old, but that’s what happened to me the first time I came across this Scirocco. Well, I say “first time”…but in reality I was quite sure that I’d seen it before. About a year ago a car quite similar to this one popped up for sale near my house. Now, 80s VW products are all but gone near me as cars that you see on a regular basis. Yet I recall the photos of this one being posted for sale looking as though they had been shot not but two miles down the road from me. I had not seen the car in the flesh, or metal as it were, but it had to be local. The ad claimed all sorts of goodies…then, it was gone – to me at least, until I saw it pop back up on eBay.
Now, the car in question was in West Palm Beach – where I am quite certain I do not live, so initially I thought I was just mistaken and this was a similar car to what I remembered. But there was almost no information in the ad itself, so I decided to check the VIN. Sure enough, in a flash Google proved that my memory was not false and the car had previously resided in Rhode Island. It also had quite a bit more detail than the current ad. So, let’s take a look:
Much like the S4 I posted over the weekend, the Jetta GLI 16V is a car which on paper I should like very much. After all, I’m a huge fan of the same-generation GTI 16V, and the Jetta was little more than a trunk added to that formula. Underneath, there were almost no changes between the two. You got the same high-strung 9A 2.0 16V with Motronic fuel injection pushing 134 horses through that open-diff front end. Your only choice was a 5-speed manual, of course, and it was a close-ratio one – enjoy those highway speeds! 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. The GLI also carried over BBS wheels from the pre’90 1.8 models, in this case the 15″x 6.5″ ‘RA’.
These items should have conspired to produce a deeply desirable product for me. And yet, somehow I never really took to the Jetta though many did. I suppose it’s the same as the 4000 quattro/Coupe GT fan bases. Rarely do they seem to cross over, yet there’s a mutual respect between them. I like the Jetta, and in the absence of the GTI it would probably be a great favorite of mine. It was aimed at being a more refined alternative to the racier hot hatch. But ultimately it falls second fiddle to the GTI, which always seems (and, arguably is) just that little bit more neat.
For enthusiasts, though, that means potential value. As GTI 16V prices climb steeply with no real relent in sight and few good examples hitting the market, you can get a bit of a value if you don’t mind the junk in the trunk: