2013 Volkswagen Golf R

Following on the heels of the R32 from yesterday, one other issue I personally have with paying big money for a Mk.4 Golf is that you can get a newer, faster, and more practical model for around the same money – or much less. Take, for example, this 2013 Golf R.

In 2012 Volkswagen brought the U.S. the spiritual successor to the Golf Limited – the Mk. 6 Golf R. Gone was the VR6, replaced by the more potent and tunable 2.0T that could now be specified with a manual and all-wheel drive, and importantly in 4-door guise. Did I buy one? Nope, because this German wonder rang in at a shocking $36,000 with options. For a Golf, mind you. But once they started hitting the used market, to me they became more appealing. Unlike the R32, they dropped in price. And they still came in great colors, like today’s Rising Blue Metallic.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 Volkswagen Golf R on eBay

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1973 Volkswagen SP2

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

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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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1983 Volkswagen Gol LS

Looking a bit like an alternate universe version of the early 80s Honda Accord hatchback, the Gol model was Volkswagen do Brasil’s replacement for the Brasilia . Based on a mix of components borrowed from the Audi B1 and B2 models, it initially was quite different than the Fox variants we’d see here in the late 80s. That’s because up front was not a familiar water-cooled engine; the Gol instead received a 1.3-liter flat-four from the Beetle under the front hood. Sound crazy? It was a bit, but it worked, and it was cheap – so it sold pretty well. They also made several different versions, including a Caddy-like ‘pickup‘ – but today we’re looking at an ’83 hatchback that’s already been imported:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen Gol LS on eBay

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1988 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V 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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2003 Volkswagen Beetle GLS Turbo

Did I say I wish that Beetle Pickup was a more fun color? Well here we go. In 2002 Volkswagen launched the Color Concept editions of the New Beetle, which allowed specification of the funky Golf-based retromobile in several unique shades. Options included Snap Orange, Double Yellow, Blue Lagoon, Red, and or today’s example of Cyber Green, and you got not only the exterior shade but color-matched wheel accents and interior upholstery as well. Under the frunk hood was the 1.8T, and here it’s linked to a four-speed automatic. But we get one of the more fun shades to consider, so let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Volkswagen Beetle GLS Turbo on eBay

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1989 Volkswagen Fox GL Wagon

The Volkswagen Fox is a model which is almost entirely overlooked by us. It’s not because we don’t like the concept of the entry-level Volkswagen brought to the U.S. from Brazil, but the budget pricing coupled with legendary 1980s Volkswagen reliability and build quality (cough cough) hasn’t exactly left a plethora of examples of these small VWs left to contemplate. The Fox was offered in three configurations – two door coupe, four door sedan and two door wagon. Without a doubt, it was the wagon which gets the most enthusiast attention these days. In profile, it looks a bit like a B2 Audi if they had made a wagon, and indeed pop the hood and you’ll see the same longitudinal configuration. Some parts are even interchangeable with the B2 Audis, like the steering rack. But more of this car was shared with the Golf than any Audi product, and though the Fox resurrected the Audi B1 nameplate here the two shared only a passing resemblance. Infrequently seen, these little wagons are neat cars that march to the beat of slightly different Brazilian drummers:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen Fox GL Wagon on eBay

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2016 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

A few years before TDI-gate broke, Volkswagen did something that seemed to me to be quite strange. The MQB-based Jetta had launched in 2011 and carried over the then-popular turbodiesel. With a boatload of torque, the TDI was reasonably sporty to drive, returned around 40 mpg on the highway, would clip to 60 in about 8 seconds, and had a base price of about $24,000 in 2013. But the same year, Volkswagen introduced a new hybrid version of the Jetta. This had a turbocharged and intercooled 1.4-liter inline-four mated with an electric motor and a 1.1-kWh battery for a combined output of 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. While the TDI could be had in six-speed manual form, the hybrid only came in DSG 7-speed guise, and it was rated* at 48 mpg on the highway, would do 0-60 in 7.9 seconds, and had a base price $2k higher than the TDI.

So at first glance, the hybrid seemed to offer a reasonable return on investment; for only a small up front price, you got 20% better mileage right? Not so fast. In the real world, the TDI would return better mileage than the numbers suggested, while the hybrid returned worse….a lot worse. Real world testing suggested that on the highway, the more slippery Jetta only got about 38 mpg. Considering the technology thrown at it, that was pretty horrible. After all, my twin-turbocharged inline-six 135i, which was not designed with fuel economy in mind at all, will return over 30 mpg on the highway at 70 plus mph. On top of that, the hybrid didn’t sound as sexy as the TDI did (strangely) to a lot of people, and, in hindsight and considering the buy-back credits, the TDI was a much better purchase. How about today?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2016 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid on eBay

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2012 Volkswagen Golf R

I suppose I’m not a very fair consumer, if I’m honest. For years, I decried Volkswagen for depriving Americans of the very best offerings it had. Golf Rallye and Country? Nope, and not the Limited either. Passat G60 Syncro? Nope, we didn’t get that either. There’s a string of great TDis that didn’t come here (and still don’t), along with one of the ones that really bugged me – the 4-door GTi. It just never made sense to me how you could argue the GTi was a super practical car when they made a more practical version that just wasn’t brought here. Of course, that ended with the Mk.V, so then my annoyance turned back to the Golf Limited. Sure, we had the R32 – by all rights, a great car, that was not available in 4-door version in the first generation and then not available in either a 4-door or manual in the second generation. To me, in an effort to be gimmicky Volkswagen had really lost the bit. Apparently I wasn’t alone in that thought, because Volkswagen finally made my GTi wishes come true in 2012 with the U.S. introduction of the spiritual successor to the Golf Limited – the Mk. 6 Golf R. Gone was the VR6, replaced by the more potent and tunable 2.0T which could now be specified with a manual and all-wheel drive, and importantly in 4-door guise. Did I buy one? Nope, because this German wonder priced in at a shocking $36,000 with options. For a Golf, mind you.

Today, though, the first generation of Golf Rs has become in some cases cheaper than the car it replaced, the Mk.5 R32 , which as I just explained only came in two-door DSG. This Golf R, though, has four doors and 1.5 manual gears per a door:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 Volkswagen Golf R on eBay

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