The big problem with pay mid-teens for either the neat European Corrado 16V or the Nugget Yellow G60 I just looked at is, of course, that you’re into SLC territory. Mind, you, perhaps not the nicest SLC out there – but they’re within reach. Today’s example falls into exactly that category, as it’s priced right under the asks on the last two Corrados. Is it the one to get?
Volkswagen do Brasil’s attempt to revise the Karmann Ghia Type 14 took two very different directions. Both were based on the 1600 wagon, but they took very different directions. The Karmann Ghia TC looked like a restyled version of the original, while the SP2 looked a bit like a Type 4 and a 928 had a wild child.
‘SP’ referenced São Paulo where the SP and SP2 were produced. The early model had a 1.6 liter flat-4, while the SP2 moved up to a 75 horsepower 1.7 air-cooled flat-4 mounted in the rear. The proportions of the body styling seemed to suggest the opposite though, with the long, low hood and hatchback GT profile looking more like a traditional sports car than any VW had before. Other period designs were borrowed – the Volkswagen 411, the Porsche 924 and Audi’s 100 Coupe S all had similar angles.
Only about 11,300 of these ultra-rare, Brazil-only SP2s were produced. They’re about as legendary as air-cooled VWs get in the U.S., so when one pops up for sale it’s worth a look:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Volkswagen SP2 on eBay
The black A1 GTI sold for $11,500 on October 30, 2021.
While not the fastest or the prettiest car Volkswagen ever made, the GTI represents the ethos of VW’s 1980s philosophy of cheap, fun-to-drive, and eminently practical cars for consumers. As they did when new, the first generation GTI also represented a car which gave much faster cars a run for their money. True, the 90 horsepower under the hood won’t scare a supercar. But what this car lacks in straight-line performance it more than makes up for in value.
You see, over the past few years we’ve watched the fan-favorites and driver’s cars from the 1980s increasingly price themselves out of the range of most enthusiasts. The esoterics are also forged in unobtanium today, and while there was a period where you could snap up cheap 80s products in Europe and import them, they’re going away, too. Sure, the M3 and 911 led the charge, but today a clean 190E 2.3-16 or Quattro will set you back some serious bucks. And then when you do get one, you need to worry about collector insurance, expensive and hard-to-source parts and whether you bought in a bubble.
The solution is still the giant-killer GTI. Find a clean one, and you’ll have a car that can be driven at 10/10ths still today and generate plenty of smiles, yet is relatively cheap to buy and very cheap to run. You’ll get thumbs up just like the 911 driver will. Maybe even more, honestly, because when was the last time you saw an A1 cruising around? Today I have two possibilities, from wild to mild. Which would you choose?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen “GTI” on eBay
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
Hey, remember yesterday’s Gol LS?
I mentioned that they made a pickup version of the Gol as well, which Volkswagen do Brasil sold as the Saveiro. It effectively followed the same recipe as the Rabbit Pickup; chop the front off of the normal car and make a somewhat usable back end. In the case of the Saveiro, the result was even a bit more bizarre-looking than the Sportruck, but nevertheless it’s neat to see one – and it’s perhaps no surprise that the seller of the Gol is also shifting this one: