For $4,850, Could This 1987 VW GTI Hot Hatch Bring The Heat?

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

What is it they say, the second time’s a charm? Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe GTI is a MkII and with its seemingly solid body and 16V engine it seems all kinds of charming. Let’s just see if its price makes you do a double take.

Hey party people, guess what! The Mid Engine Corvette is here! The MID ENGINE CORVETTE IS HERE! Well, sorta-kinda. Yesterday’s 2008 Factory Five Racing GTM was the mid-engined Corvette sports car we’ve long been promised… in kit-car form. That kit is based on a C5 ‘Vette and seeing as it was not built by Chevy don’t expect such corporate niceties as OnStar or window switches shared with a Spark.


You might at least expect a reasonably sorted car, seeing as it was claimed in the ad to have had $100K invested in its build. Obviously not much of that cash went into the cooling system as the seller claims it overheats and that he’s not touching it, nuh-uh. Fully 63% of you wouldn’t touch it at its asking price for that revelation and a couple of other reasons, giving the car a Crack Pipe loss.


Today’s 1987 VW GTI is cheaper by a factor of 10, is less intimidating to own, and comes with a far more venerable three-letter name. In fact, it’s quaint to think of the badging on this almost 30-year old car promoting features that are today standard on even the lowliest Kia Rio.

GTI is short for Gran Turismo Injection. Yep, the answer to the question “what was a big deal on cars back in the ‘80s?” is fuel injection. This one is also badged with the subscript 16 V which meant that its engine also featured four valves for each of its four cylinders. Don’t worry about doing the math, that adds up to sixteen valves in total. Again, that’s pretty much par for the course in many, if not most, four pot cars today. At the time this GTI was sold however, it was the new hotness.


Speaking of hot, that’s just what this car represents, in hatchback form. The GTI wasn’t the first hot hatch, that honor is generally considered to go the A112 Abarth from Autobianchi. Volkswagen’s take on the genre however is thought to be the gold standard, and has been for decades and multiple generations since its 1976 introduction.


This MkII GTI is pretty much a prima facie example of the breed. It features the iconic red trim wrapping around it and the funny tear drop wheels that go one-way on the left and the other-way on the right. OCD me hates that. Inside, there’s a pair of high-bolstered sport seats with UPC scanner upholstery, matched by the bench in back.

This one does not have the dimpled Golf ball shifter, but it does have a bunch of cassette tape slots in the center stack. Those, like the toll booth coin holders that car makers like to add to their cars have probably been used once and then never again.


The ad details that this 158,000-mile GTI is a two-owner car and that it is in very nice shape. The seller says that he has re-habbed the CVs and installed new output shaft seals not too long ago. It also benefits from fresh brakes, cam belt (interference engine), and a new O2 sensor. The body seems to be solid, although the ad does note the battery box and right-rear rocker joint as areas where some road rot has taken hold. Mechanically, it appears unalloyed, although having been in storage for the better part of eight years initial drives in it might need to be limited to your AAA towing radius until you’re sure it’s all sorted out.


The interior is in amazing shape for its age, with no apparent cracking in the dash nor tears in the upholstery. The seller says it was always garage stored and that even the rudimentary dash computer still works. He also says that the interior is free of “roach burns or cum stains” so you know it’s a class act all the way.


Selling price for this 16V GTI (isn’t that cute?) is $4,850. Now, that’s above the what-the-hell limit of two-grand we normally like, but then this is a fairly rare car these days (and yes that seemingly makes me a moron according to the seller). He also says won’t sell it locally because he apparently holds his neighbors in even lower esteem than he does me. For those of us outside the boundaries of Minneapolis however, let’s consider that price.

What do you think about $4,850 for this seemingly sweet GTI? Can you feel the deal? Or, is that too much cold cash for this old hot hatch?


You decide!


Minneapolis Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Fuhrman16 on Hooniverse for the hookup!

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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.