VW Golf GTI Mk2: PH Carpool

Name:  Christopher Donovan
Car: 1991 Volkswagen Golf GTI 16v
Owned since: February 2017
Previously owned: 43 cars.  Mk2 Golfs (GTIs and G60s), BMW E46 Cabrios and other BMWs feature heavily.  Currently a 2017 Audi A6 Avant V6 TDI Black company car.

Why I bought it:
"To be honest, I bought it as a bit of a joke... 

"I had just sold my 'fun' car in Italy, an E46 330Ci Cabrio that went to a very nice young German family and was browsing PistonHeads one night when I spotted the car and recognized the registration number.  Yup, it was the GTI 16v my mother bought new and sold the week after my 25th birthday so I couldn't drive it - you had to be 25 to be insured on this hot hatch at the time.

"Given that 'Eddie' (think Ab Fab) is now, er, um, more mature, I thought it would be amusing to turn up in the car and tell her she was too old to drive it.  And I figured it impossible to lose too much money on a Mk2 GTI 16v."

What I wish I'd known:
"That good classic car restoration is not something that can be hurried. That parts are now a problem both in terms of availability and cost.  The car has a full history file (including  all my father's receipts) and was incredibly well maintained over the years, but the cost and time of getting it returned to standard raised both my eyebrows and my bank manager's blood pressure - she is getting fed up with doing GBP transfers to the garage restoring it.  It has turned into a quite an expensive joke that I only saw six months after I bought it - I live in Italy, the car in the UK."

Things I love:
"I bought it to finally get one over a mother who refused to lend it to me when I was young, so just the fact that I own the thing is pretty good.  I love the look of it - this is the big bumper, BBS and stripy seat run-out version in metallic black, so what's not to like?  I am quite looking forward to taking it for a spin when I am back in the UK, and might see if I can find an old girlfriend for the full retro evening..."

Things I hate:
"Hate is quite a big word (though because I am going through a divorce at the moment, it is also one I am getting used to), but I am concerned at the lack of airbags and ABS.  I am not overly keen on rust or lowered suspension parts that cannot be adjusted to standard (hence the complete new suspension) or even the Chinese-made pattern parts that appear great online but are then completely useless or inappropriate in reality - VW sourced from Europe in the 80s and 90s."

"Um, new suspension all round, new exhaust, steering wheel, repaired sunroof, brake lines, refurbished wheels, new tyres... I'm not even sure where the list stops.  All for a 147K, 26 year-old Golf.  The 147K refers to the mileage rather than the final bill, though frankly there are occasions..."

Where I've been:
"Me or the car?  Together?  Oh right.  Well I drove it around the garage car park three weeks ago.  But given that only three quarters of the new suspension has been supplied and fitted, it's not much of a driver or even a looker.  Oh, and it is missing an MOT.  I do have big plans to drive it the seven miles to the pub and back over Christmas (sorry for the delay Chris, hope it was fun! - MB).  My father is a retired accountant, so he can help me with the cost per mile calculation on that trip.  My 17 year-old daughter also has delusions of use, so I suspect that history may repeat itself in 21 years time..."

What next:
"Well I think my (future) ex-wife may use this article to have me sectioned, but apart from that, I plan that the car be delivered to my parents next week.  After that and once they realise the reality of a 26 year-old Golf over the two new Teutons they already own, I suspect it will end up in the corner of a barn for a while.  After that I will see.  I'd like to keep it for a few years as a toy for when I am over in the UK, however impending university fees (for the children) and a settlement with an angry Italian (future) ex-wife may mean a sale sooner rather than later.  I do hope not though, I rather like this old friend now I've found it again."


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Comments (35) Join the discussion on the forum

  • A common lawyer 08 Jan 2018

    Money well spent, I'd say!

  • theholygrail 08 Jan 2018

    A common lawyer said:
    Money well spent, I'd say!
    On the angry Italian wife or the car?

  • sim16v 08 Jan 2018

    Can't go wrong with a mk2 GTi, everyone should own one at some point cool

    Same spec as my old one.

    Again, bought with lots of modified bits, took a while to get back to standard.

  • Google [bot] 08 Jan 2018

    Brilliant car, great article thumbup

  • Tim16V 08 Jan 2018

    Great article.

    It does however highlight the 'real dangers' of browsing the PH or other classifieds regularly...

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