Tuesday, April 16, 2013

5k: Original Hot Hatch...Redux: 1991 Volkswagen Golf GTI MkII

The Volkswagen Golf was a huge sales success for Volkswagen in the 1980s/1990s and combined family car capabilities with a light and nimble chassis.  The hopped up GTI version was the one to get, with a powerful engine, Recaro seats and some GTI-specific suspension tuning.  The MkII version isn't as iconic as the original, but like every new generation of Golf it was just a bit nicer and more liveable for daily commuting.  Find this 1991 Volkswagen Golf GTI MkII for sale in Foster City, CA for $4850 via craigslist.  Thanks to tip from Kaibeezy!

This GTI isn't the nicest example you can find, but it is interesting because of the low miles on the odometer and the fair asking price.  The car appears to be mostly stock with decent red paint and a small red-flag note that the odometer 'recently' stopped working.

Inside the cabin we see all of the classic parts that makes the GTI special - Recaro seats, red accent striping, a sporty steering wheel and GTI-embossed floor mats.  Under the hood you should find a 2.0 liter 8 valve 4-cylinder engine putting out 110 horsepower.  The GTI was also available with an upgraded 16V engine that would have put out 134 hp from the factory- but the 8V engine will probably live forever.

The biggest complaints from Vee-Dub fanboys is that the MkII GTI was too soft and lost the hard edge of the MkI variant...but neither car would be considered quick on the road today and would be obliterated in the 1/4 mile by modern minivans.  So why would you buy this car?  Because it is a relatively rare and cool time machine to a simpler time - for a fair price. Not to mention it's light and nimble...and don't forget: it's more fun to drive a slow car fast than it is to drive a fast car slow.

See a better hot hatch for less? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. Unfortunately, this isn't the far more entertaining 16V version. But it's still really nice for a '91 GTI, and it's *relatively* low mileage. Well, maybe.

    "94,XXX miles"

    "The odometer recently stopped working, stuck at 96,863 miles."

    OK, so there's some question about the actual miles on the car. And possibly the accuracy of the seller's statements. (Note to seller: craigslist does in fact allow you to update/correct ad titles, so you don't look like a liar or an idiot.)

    "Car is quite dirty in pictures."

    Is this an indication of how well this owner cares for this car, or how he can't be bothered to wash the thing before trying to sell it? (Note to seller: craigslist does in fact allow you to update photos in your ad once you wash the car, so we don't have to take your word for it that "Washed it looks better in person.")

    "This is a very rare car in the states"

    Well, no, not really. Maybe the 8V is more rare, but that's because most people realize how much better the 16V was.

    Seriously though, DT is right - the 8V MkII might not be the most exciting GTI out there, but it's still a lot of fun to drive.

  2. I test drove this car about a month ago.

    Cosmetically the car is in great condition, interior and exterior, very presentable for a daily driver. The transmission needs some serious attention though, it wont shift into first, and the shifting feels very loose and vague.

    Fun and nimble car, but a bit underpowered for my tastes. Looks super cool and would be a very practical daily driver, tons of interior and cargo space for a small car.

    I think the car's a bit overpriced, but for someone who wanted to add some go fast mods and short shifter it could be the perfect project.


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