SOTW: Volkswagen Jetta GTI


Saloon variants of hatches have never been a great success in the UK if you think about it. The Vauxhall Belmont & Nova Saloon, the Ford Focus and Megane 'classic'; all have been left standing in the showrooms like the last kid to be picked for the footy team during PE at school (like me, sniff).

Volkswagen doesn't seem to care, though, and has been punting out small saloons for ages, with the Jetta being the one most will think of first. I'm sure I remember the boot being huge on these cars, and I have a vague memory of travelling somewhere in the boot of one when I was a kid with a mate. I must stress that we weren't abducted, this was the way us young 'uns liked to travel when out in our parents' cars with our mates in the days before health and safety. I even remember dad allowing me to poke my head out the sunroof at 70mph once to 'see what it felt like to be on a motorbike'. Good times, but I digress.....


Much like anything unfashionable, the out-of-favour is usually cheaper to come by than their more glamorous counterparts (ask Riggers, have you seen his wardrobe?) and the Jetta was no different, at least on the used market, but like most fashions what was once an outcast usually makes a strong return (hope for Riggers yet) and the Jetta doesn't look too bad in old age.

Back in the 80s , the more 'thrusting' type drove around in a Golf GTI hatch (trying to stop their girlfriend's earrings from squeaking - only for them to steal the car when they later split up) while other, less brash, individuals were choosing the Jetta GTI instead (maybe they needed to carry more children?). The Jetta was powered by the same 1.8, 8-valve engine as the Golf, and that meant a rather heady 110bhp, 0-60 in just over 8 seconds and a top speed of 118 mph.


Discretion was the key here, and most wouldn't recognise the Jetta GTI over their neighbour's 1.6 GL, but perhaps that's all part of the charm? After all, it was still a true GTI underneath and with some subtle de-badging most would have been none the wiser as to its sporting prowess.

While most Jettas have been molested by 'modifiers', or those who are fans of 'Euro look', this week's Shed has managed to pass through three owners and 96,000 miles without any changes whatsoever, and is as standard as the day it left the showroom right down to the (lovely) steel wheels. The condition looks great, it has some MOT and the advert seems genuine enough. If you can live with the boxy looks, the asking price of £895 seems rudely reasonable, and if this was a Golf you would probably have to add another grand to get one in this condition.


Buy it, you know it makes sense. Just add a Mel & Kim cassette to the tape deck, roll up your suit jacket sleeves, talk loudly into a large mobile phone...and make sure you don't date Paula Hamilton.

Not a fan of the 80s? Just buy it knowing you are driving a true classic - that must surely be enough for any PHer?

 

Advert says: 1988 Volkswagen Jetta GTI For Sale. JETTA GTI 1.8 8V VERY RARE COMPLETELY STANDARD SMALL BUMPER VERSION. 96000 MILES 3 OWNERS FROM NEW, MOT TILL OCTOBER 2011 NO TAX. ELECTRIC WINDOWS FRONT AND REAR, ELECTRIC MIRRORS.THIS IS A VERY GOOD CONDITION STANDARD MODEL. RUNS AND DRIVES VERY WELL. £895

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (133) Join the discussion on the forum

  • IceBoy 18 Apr 2011

    Interesting reading from you all.

    I agree and disagree with what has been said, maily because there seems to be such a split.

    I have owned many mk1's mk2's and even 1 mk3 vr6.....

    ....I have to say both the mk1 and mk2 in any GTI disguise, were and still are (if you find a good strong example) the most fun you can have on the UK roads.

    I know 112bhp doesn't sound much fun but jeez, everything else makes up for it. To be fair the balance of power and real-world drive-ability is excellent.

    "Lame", someone said lame ! Lame.... the figure VAG put out to press were very pessimistic (sp?) What I mean is the performance figures. Even today my mk2 8v (big bummper - 1990 model) Which puts out 120bhp, will see off most much more powerful cars with up to 200bhp....Over 100 leptons it is more difficult though.

    Drive one and see for yourself. Great cars.

    IceBoy
    Mk1 GTI sportline cabrio - 8v k-jetronic
    Mk2 GTI big bumper - 8v digi

  • Ganzales 18 Apr 2011

    .

  • hora 18 Mar 2011

    Hideous, standard old Jetta CL = Nice.

    Jetta GTI = Frankenstein 'I'm trying too hard'.

  • Liquid Knight 18 Mar 2011

    When I was a Superteen we shared Snetterton with the Vento VR6 challenge and ever since liked them. This one's a bargain. smile

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1993-VOLKSWAGEN-VENTO-VR6-MA...

  • dinkel 18 Mar 2011

    Stippolyte said:
    Takes me way back. I used to have an 8v gti on an E plate. Had a BBR 2.0 ltr passat engine conversion @ 37k, ran it for several years and sold it @156k. Apart from service stuff, the heater recall and the fuel pump replaced, nothing broke, failed or fell off. Was much better track day car than the Golf gti it replaced even before it was upgraded. Many happy memories......
    The great thing about 80s and early 90s cars is: they are so simple there's nothing that can fail.

    The electrics spoil it nowadays . . .

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