For $14,000, Is This 1992 VW Jetta TDI A Great Car And Not Just A Great Cause?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Jetta is offered reluctantly by its present owner in support of his wife who has some health issues. It looks to be a great car and an even greater cause, but let’s see if its price is cause for alarm.

A great debate was had yesterday over the value in buying our candidate custom 1994 Jeep Cherokee pickup over a factory Comanche. In the end fully 60% of you voted to get in Bed with the Cherokee, as it took home a righteous Nice Price win. Take that Comanche!


The seller of today’s 1992 VW Jetta TDI is actually selling both it and a near pristine gas-engined automatic coupe as part of a financial girding of the loins. We’re focusing just on the diesel as it’s actually the more interesting of the two.

His specific reason for clearing out the garage is that both he and his wife will be out of work for a while as she undergoes stem cell treatment for what he says is a rare blood disease. If you want to support them without actually buying one of their cars, he has a gofundme site set up too. And I would like to point out that this kind of shit doesn’t really happen in places where there’s nationalized health care. Just sayin.’


Adversity has a way of bringing out the best in people and I’d say this guy’s doing husbanding right. He is also seemingly a pretty adventurous wrencher, having done a ton of things to this Jetta, not the least of which is the installation of a 1998 AHU 1.9-litre intercooled Turbo Diesel four. Backing that up is a five-speed stick so he’s kind of hit a home run here.


Along with the high MPG drivetrain, this Jetta has also received a Recaro interior, MKIII wide track front suspension, Corrado brakes, Corrado springs… well, let’s just say there’s a lot of different Vee-Dub stuff in there that makes the Frankenbuilt windshield decal wholly appropriate. Check out the Vortex forum ad for the whole list.


There’s 164K on the TDI and 162 on the chassis. The Alpine White paint presents well in the pics, as does most of the black plastic trim. A round headlamp grille smartens up the front, and the only seeming issues are some bumps in the bumper and the fading of the B pillar trim where years of hands closing the doors has taken its toll. Borbets underpin the car and serve as a reminder that wheels don’t have to be huge to be cool.

Inside, the Recaros look serviceable and about as tidy as you could want. The gauge cluster has been swapped with a MKIII unit and everything is manual in here so get ready to work for your window action or shifting duties. The dash is cracked, and hence wears a grey toupee. Also, you might want to get a new snood for the E-brake as the current one is presently self-circumcising.


The history of the car, according to the seller, is that it was owned by a woman who wanted to go diesel, but half-way through the conversion decided what she really wanted was a 4X4 truck.


The current seller then bought the car from her and completed its transformation, adding a bunch of other updates along the way. Now, he’s choosing his wife and life over this and his other Jetta. An easy choice to make no doubt.


Let’s help him out. The asking price for this clean diesel (i.e. in bodywork, sorry Volkswagen) is $14,000. That’s a chunk of change, but honestly this is a unique car that seems to have been well sorted in most of its updates. It also dynos at 100whp and 200wtq in case you like those kinds of numbers.

What’s your take on this reimagined Jetta and its $14,000 price? Does that seem like a worthy cause? Or, should we all just hit up the gofundme page and move on?


You decide!


VW Vortex Classifieds out of California, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Straightsix9904 for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a fixed-price tip, and remember to include your Kinja handle.

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.