Shed of the Week: VW Scirocco

1974 was a big year for Volkswagen. Not just because it marked the debut of the Golf as successor to the horribly dated Beetle, but also because it was the first year of the Scirocco.

Like the Golf, the Scirocco coupé was delicately drawn by styling superstar Giorgetto Giugiaro (still going strong at 80). It was about as far removed from the nasty little Beetle as you could imagine, and the Scirocco represented an equally huge swerve for this highly conservative carmaker. Up to that point, 'Volkswagen' and 'coupé' had only appeared in the same sentence once before in the very un-Volkswagenish shape of the Karmann Ghia, a swoopy 50s creation that owed more to American design cues than German ones.

The Karmann Ghia did pretty well despite being twice the price of the Beetle from which it had sprung. VW's decision to launch a sharp-suited Golf-based coupé may well have been influenced by the Ghia's success. One thing you can be sure of, though: the Scirocco didn't take many stylistic leads from the only other VW to have sported a rear windscreen angle of less than 80 degrees, the ghastly Pininfarina-penned Type 4. Seeing a 'fastback' 411 LE in the flesh was like accidentally seeing your auntie in a translucent nightie. You just didn't know where to look.

Now, before you young 'uns put your Lambast-o-Matic keyboards into full phaser mode, you need to understand the seismic impact that this three-door 2+2 had at launch. In 1974, Britain was reeling under the three-day week, Lada was infiltrating the UK market with its £999 Fiat 124-based 1200, Bagpuss was making his hairy debut on the telly, and Mrs Shed was thinking long and hard whenever she saw her husband-to-be. It were right grim.

The all-new and very fresh Mk1 Scirocco cheered us up. It got the public cautiously interested in the idea of cool VWs, but the in-house designed and considerably more refined 1982-on Mk2 cars like our Shed really rang the cash tills, with nearly 300,000 cars sold.

The ad gives our carburetted 1.6 eight-valve Shed just 55hp, but what it actually means is 55kw. Okay, that's still only 74hp. The idea of a 74hp GT seems ludicrous now, and to be honest it wasn't that impressive at the time (the GT actually started out as the cooking CL), but remember that cars were a lot lighter then. As usual, coming up with a definitive weight is about as easy as photographing Bigfoot, but 875kg seems to be a reasonable ballpark average.

That lightness helped it do well against more powerful contemporary opposition. In one 1985 test, the fuel-injected 112hp GTX 1.8 duffed up two 130hp-plus turbocharged cars - Renault's £9,645 Fuego Turbo and the £9,545 Nissan Silvia Turbo - in the 0-60mph dash. The Renault beat the VW on handling, and both were criticised for their ride quality, but not as much as the confused Nissan. The Scirocco clawed back some ground on refinement and seat comfort, but lost some on headroom, steering wheel adjustability and the mean specification for which VW became famous. Overall though, the Scirocco won the test.

Getting back to our Shed, it's an honest-looking ad for an interesting project. How Many Left doesn't go back far enough to tell us exactly how rare Mk2 Sciroccos are nowadays, but if there are more than a couple of hundred scudding about the place it would be a surprise. Six owners and 180,000 miles over 31 years is not that much, and the MOT history from last November throws up no major fears. Advisories included some steering column play (a replacement column needle bearing brace comes in at under £50) and a minor blow from the front exhaust (which has since been sorted by the current owner).

It may be a trick of the light, but Shed is wondering if the slightly redder passenger door is perhaps not this car's first. A quick look on t'internet shows us that serviceable replacements are still available, though. We found a solid looking one on a well known auction website for £75. The Scirocco section of the VWOC or the Scirocco Register are both useful venues for info and bits.

After that, a quick machine polish and wheel refurb and you're away. Maybe. The wheelarch and sill covers are good at concealing corrosion. Rust can pop up in the tank filler neck and hatch lip too. Worn top mounts are a straightforward fix. Bush kits for the suspension will spruce things up nicely, ditto for the gear change. If the cambelt is more than 60,000 miles old it needs binning. If this car has still got its original Pierburg carb and it's still working OK that will be a pleasant bonus. Sure, £1,500 may seem like stiff money in 2018, but five years from now you might be kicking yourself for not investing.

Here's the ad.

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Comments (92) Join the discussion on the forum

  • HardMiles 10 Aug 2018

    Decent looks and a retro vibe for shed money, but 74 horses from the factory is woeful! Good find shed and as usual, st job Volkswagen! In the wise words of dick TV; “They don’t do good ones!” :-)

  • eggbod 10 Aug 2018

    ive owned 2 of these, an early 1.6 and a later red scala (1.8i). the later 1.8 was fine

    the older 1.6 wasn't; the fuel filler pipe rusted through, and then the cam shaft snapped , when i finally got the head off it was full of swarf from when it was made which was partially blocking the oil way to the cam shaft bearing

    i still loved it.

    they all have crap brakes.

    they dont handle as well as a golf of similar age, but i still prefer them.

  • oilit 10 Aug 2018

    i always liked these - had forgotten all about them tbh

    looks like pass door and tailgate have corrosion as a minimum, bonnet leading edge looks like it may be on the way...

    But given it's got a dash cam now - it makes it a 'no brainer' for me ......getmecoat

    Seriously though - good find shed !

  • 2smoke 10 Aug 2018

    Wow, that's done well to survive on the Isle of Arran. Only an 8.5hr car journey (each way) from here!
    Nice car though, fond memories of driving my friends GTX.

    Edited by 2smoke on Friday 10th August 07:20

  • Turbobanana 10 Aug 2018

    I was passing a 3 hour train journey on Wednesday by browsing the Classifieds and trying to guess what SOTW would be.

    I was right.

    Good Shed. smile

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