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

  • attym3 25 Feb 2011

    If its as good as it sounds, thats a great shed. Quite sleeperish as well.

    Mark

  • 172ff 25 Feb 2011

    Heap of st.... it will be soon.

    I foresee stretched tyres, a load of rust and a smashed oil sump coming to this car in the near future.

  • UncleRic 25 Feb 2011

    That really tickles my fancy.. and my fancy likes to be tickled.
    Top shed. clap

  • Martin 480 Turbo 25 Feb 2011

    Garlick,

    you are the man. Admitting to having been the last kid to be picked up for footy
    takes some balls. (honest)

    On a different note: Have you ever driven the Jetta yourself. It is pretty lame.
    110 Bhp for a car like that was not much, even back then. This example is a nice survivor
    nevertheless... till now.

    Martin

    Edited by Martin 480 Turbo on Friday 25th February 08:19

  • Baked_bean 25 Feb 2011

    I had a red 1.8gl one of these for a few months last year. Completely standard other than having he big bumper kit fitted from some gti. I quite liked it, wasnt amazing to drive but was smooth and comfortable.

    Yes the boot was huge, i took my whole life home from uni in that car pretty much (which means big boot or no life!).


    Good shed, i happen to think they look quite cool really.

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