A little over a week ago, I took a look at a 1992 GTI 16V. One of my absolute favorite cars, it was worth a look outside of the inherent appeal because of the survivor status and the prove-my-theory-right dirty pictures. I figured that it was about a $4,500 car, but was surprised that the bidding pushed upwards to $5,300.
Today we have another Volkswagen to consider. It, too, confirms many of my prejudices about the Volkswagen market. It, too, is a second generation water-cooled car. The asking price is right where I pegged the value of the last Mk.2 at $4,500. And it, too, has 16 valves under the hood – although in this case, it didn’t start there.
Speaking of not starting, it also doesn’t run.
Is this modded Jetta GLI worth a roll of the dice?
The hot hatch may just be the perfect have your cake and eat it too automobile. And though many argue that they weren’t the originator and didn’t produced the best example in the market, Volkswagen’s GTi has been intrinsically linked with the moniker. It always raises an interesting question of which generation is best, and while there are plenty who would contend that the model never got any better than its original configuration, fans of each iteration of the venerable model abound. Like some others that read the blog, I came of automotive age in the midst of the Mk.2 model run. A Mk.2 Golf was also my second car, and as a result I have quite a soft spot for them. In the days before the internet, my knowledge of European models like the Golf Limited was non-existent, so at the time it got no better than the late GTi 2.0 16V. Wider arches, deeper bumpers, fog lights and the signature red striped quad-round grill setup coupled with some great colors like Montana Green. The roof mounted Fuba antenna was like a remote control pickup for fun, and capped with some awesome BBS RM multi-piece wheels and slick looking Recaros, the package might as well have said “Ferrari” on the front. But if the looks of the Mk.2 GTi were the best in the line, quite a few VW souls would point out that the fantastic sounding VR6 model that followed had the performance that really backed up the hot-hatch name. As a result, swapping the VR6 into the Mk.2 has not only become popular but almost a given, and VR swaps are nearly as prevalent as the ubiquitous S50/S52 in a E30 swap. This particular one has been dialed up a few more notches with a turbo, but channels the look of the 2.0 16V with some updates and a whole lot of black paint:
I hear the same line all the time from enthusiasts; “Volkswagen/Audi, bring (enter European specification model) to the U.S. – we’ll buy it!” Well, the truth is that there are many reasons why the company doesn’t bring your long-sought after model to these shores. First, they’re not stupid, in general. They’ve done their homework and though there are inevitably many people who claim they’d rush down to their dealer to buy the car, the number of people who would actually show up with cash is quite a different story. Mostly, it seems those enthusiasts saying they so eagerly await a model really would wait until it had floated down the used-market stream a bit. Then, there are the costs associated with bringing a new model into the market; the safety tests, campaigns to launch a new model, stocking and educating dealers, parts, and training mechanics to repair them. And, when that isn’t enough, there will inevitably be some small problem and they need to recall them all. Look, I’m not saying car companies aren’t making money – but it’s money that they’re in it for, not the love of making cars (sorry, Porsche – but it’s true). On top of that, the companies – believe it or else – have sales data. And that sales data reflects period when they did import the cars that supposedly enthusiasts wanted. And while some enthusiasts did buy them, more “non-enthusiasts” bought their other models more. A great example of this is the disappearance of the wagons from North America, but more poignant to this post is the relative lack of diesels. Considering all of the major German manufacturers (even, begrudgingly, those purists at Porsche who only love to make cars, not money) offer highly efficient diesels in their model ranges, it’s a bit strange that they haven’t offered them until quite recently over here, right? Well, again, history tells us that they did in fact offer diesels in the 1980s – but loud, noisy and slow, few people bought them. They do still survive though, so it’s always nice to see one pop up like this 1985 Golf. Modified to look like a GTi, it’s a spiritual nod to the upcoming and long anticipated Golf GTD TDi that, if I’m to believe my Facebook feed, every single Volkswagen enthusiasts is going to run out and buy (right after they also run out and buy the maybe-coming Golf TDi 4Motion Sportwagon, that is):