At $4,500, Could You Make This 2004 VW Golf TDI Your War Wagon?

The TDI is among the numerous wear-and-tear items replaced on this expressive hatchback.

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One of the receipts pictured in the ad for today’s Nice Price or No Dice TDI Golf is for pink coolant and “Airhead Xtremes Bites candies.” With a bunch of other replacement parts as well, let’s see if this TDI might itself be a sweet deal.

Okay, look. I know that at $185,000, last Friday’s 1958 Facel Vega Excellence was hella expensive. For that much someone could buy a whole year’s worth of every streaming service out there and still have a good bit left over to have pizza delivered two or three times a week. That scenario, however, isn’t going to impress anyone except the pizza delivery person who can now drive the route with their eyes closed.

No, to really impress people a visual representation of conspicuous consumption is needed and that Excellence was a pretty talisman for such fiscal imprudence. Unfortunately for the dealer offering the classic French beauty, too few of you were willing to go that route—eyes open or closed. Ultimately, that meant a not-so-excellent 53 percent No Dice loss for the Facel.

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Perhaps last Friday’s Facel Vega was too ostentatious for you. Maybe you’re all more into frugal rides these days, especially considering the current economic climate. In that case, let’s have a look at this 2004 Volkswagen Golf TDI. As we’ll see, it costs a mere fraction of what the Facel Vega did—a rounding error if you will—and has even more frugality in-store down the road with an advertised 50 mpg.

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Now, a couple of things going on with this Golf should be pointed out at the start of our discussion. The first is that the pictures show the car wearing black-painted Corvette C6 Z06-style wheels. I’m sure you prbably noticed that, but I point it out in case that slipped by you.

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Obviously, those are comically large for the car and require spacers and plastic arch extenders to even fit without rub-a-dub-dubbing the tires on wheel wells. The seller says purchasing the car in this state will take an additional $500 over the asking price. If demurred, the car will come with VW’s standard alloys, as shown. I vote to go with the stock wheels and no spacers.

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Another expression of the present owner’s personal stake in the car’s appearance is the addition of what’s described as a Mazda 3 spoiler atop the hatch and, even more oddly, an Audi TT spoiler at knee height on top of the rear bumper. I guess they thought access to the load area in the back was a bit too easy and sought more of a challenge. Hopefully, both of those aero “aides” can be easily removed without damage to the car.

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Not all of the additions and updates to the car are quite so individualistic and of questionably universal appeal. The seller notes a ton of mechanical updates to the car including a replacement TDI engine that was dropped into the car in 2019. That had 140,000 miles on it when the swap was made. The car now is reported to have 165,000 on the clock. Other new bits include most of the front suspension components, the fuel pump, and the radiator among others. Per the ad, a number of those parts were purchased from AutoZone. Some of those came with some tasty snacks too.

The seller says it now “runs perfect” and “rides smooth.”

Aesthetically, it does look the part of a war wagon, what with those too-big wheels and fender flares. There are also a good number of chips in the paint on the nose as well as some minor but obvious dents in the hood and fenders.

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Other than that, the silver paint seems to have held up admirably and the car overall seems to be reasonably rust-free. I’m reserving my opinion on the interior because the seller only offers one blurry shot through the driver’s door and, * leans in * I’m not 100 percent certain that’s the same car. If it is, well then it looks to be in great shape.

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On the plus side, the seller says they have the clear title in hand, and touts the turbo diesel/five-speed stick-equipped car will do 50 mpg on the highway. YMMV.

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To find out just how much YMMV, a new owner will need to bring to the table $4,500. Again, we’re excluding the extra $500 for the Corvette wheel since we have reasonably good aesthetics and don’t want to be bothered with having to flip them.

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What’s your take on this TDI and that $4,500 asking? Does that seem like a deal considering all the new parts? Or, are the weird add-ons just too off-putting to pay that much?

You decide!

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Facebook Marketplace out of Kennewick, Washington, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Bill Lyons for the hookup!

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