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Tag: VW GTI

1992 Volkswagen GTI 16V

The 1991-1992 GTI followed the same basic recipe as the 1987 model the double-overhead-cam motor was introduced in, but everything was turned up a few notches. Starting in the mid-1990 model year, all US-bound A2s received the ‘big bumper’ treatment; new smooth aerodynamic covers front and rear. To help to differentiate it a bit, the GTI’s blackened arches were widened. Filling those arches were new 15″ wheels from BBS. The multi-piece RMs were lightweight and the perfect fit for the design, echoing other contemporary class-leading sports cars such as the M3. Volkswagen color-coded the mirrors and rear spoiler to match the car, as well, and the GTI got a fresh face with more illumination; quad round lights filled the grill, and foglights were integrated into the lower bumper. Prominent GTI 16V badges still encircled the car.

Power was up to match the heightened looks. Now with 2.0 liters of twin-cam fun, the 9A in the GTI produced 134 horsepower at 5,800 RPMs and 133 lb. ft of torque at 4,400 RPMs. Coupled to the close-ratio 5-speed manual, that was good enough to drop 0-60 times below 8 seconds. That may not sound like much today, but at the time it was another league of performance compared to the typical economy car. Holding you in place were the same heavily-bolstered Recaros that special editions like the ‘Helios’ 1989 Jetta GLI Wolfsburg had enjoyed.

It was a recipe for success, but these cars were also relatively expensive in period, and fell into the global recession time frame which affected sales of nearly all European marques drastically. The general consensus is that around 5,000 of the last of these GTIs were imported, putting their rarity on the level of the M3. But because they weren’t M3s, there are far less around today to enjoy and few turn up in stock configuration for a myriad of reasons. This example is far from perfect, but its rarity means that the price…well, you’ll see.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Volkswagen GTI 16V on eBay

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2001 Volkswagen GTI GLS 1.8T

When it came to the Mk.4, as they had in the prior generations Volkswagen offered you two flavors of GTI. In 2001, this was represented as the GLS and the GLX. The GLX had the throaty 2.8L VR6, while the GLS made due with the 1.8T. It was still a punchy package, though; with 150 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque. While that was down on grunt to the VR6, you could easily chip the 1.8T and make up the deficit. That’s what a lot did, and consequently it’s pretty hard to find a car like today’s example – here we have a stock Mojave Beige Metallic GTI GLS that has under 60,000 miles. If you want one, it’s definitely one of the best out there:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Volkswagen GTI GLS 1.8T on eBay

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2002 Volkswagen GTI 1.8T

Back in July 2021 I took a look at a rare bird; a stock Mk.4 GTI 1.8T with only 75,000 miles:

2003 Volkswagen GTI 1.8T

That may not sound like a rare car on the surface, but it’s far more difficult to find one of these than…say, pretty much any 911 ever. Today’s example is pretty similar in some ways; it’s also got only 75k miles, also appears to be stock, and also is a 1.8T manual. But this one turns up the rarity a few notches; not only is it equipped with the Luxury Package (which adds a power moonroof and Monsoon audio), Cold Weather Package (heated front seats), and Leather Package (you guessed it), but it’s also Rave Green. It’s not perfect, but that’s not holding back bids – let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Volkswagen GTI 1.8T on eBay

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2003 Volkswagen GTI 1.8T

Yes, the Mk.4 GTI ushered in a more bloated body, subdued styling, increased safety, and a lot more weight. But, it also brought with it a lot more choice. While the VR6 continued over into early models largely unchanged, though a more potent 24-valve version emerged later. But the big news was the entrance of the turbocharged 1.8T into the lineup for me. More in keeping with the character of the original model, the peaky and punchy 1.8Ts grew in power over the production run, and they also offered the basis for a few special models; the European-market 25th Anniversary model, the 2002 337 Edition, and the 2003 20th Anniversary Edition.

Today’s car is none of those special models, but it carries a large amount of the same DNA in a more discrete standard package. It’s also got only 75,000 miles and is claimed to have lived with just one owner, and it’s completely stock. This might be the rarest GTI of them all.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Volkswagen GTI 1.8T on eBay

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1983 Volkswagen GTI

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?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen GTI on eBay

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