For $5,500, Is This 1984 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 16V A Gentle Breeze?

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

For a while VW named a lot of their cars after winds—Passat, Bora, Scirocco, etc. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe custom classic Jetta is in fact named for the Jet Stream, but will its price have you thinking the seller is just blowing up your skirt?

I must say, I was quite surprised at the response to Friday’s 1999 Ford Mustang GT pretending to be an Aston Martin Vanquish. It wasn’t the 67% Crack Pipe loss that surprised me, after all I figured that was a predestined outcome. No, I was more impressed with the numbers of folks who wanted to take a swing at the car. Good work, friends.


You know, I’ve been doing these NPOCP posts for neigh-on seven years now and I’m sure along the way you all must have asked yourselves just what the hell kind of cars does Graverobber himself buy? Well, I’ll tell ya’ they are all over the board.

The countries with the greatest contingents in my driveway are Great Britain, Japan, and Germany, presented as sort of my own personal Marshall Plan. Sweden also represents, but they’re outnumbered two to one. This year, for the first time in over a decade, I have no domestics in my ragtag collection of drivers and projects. I am sadly not making America great again.

Considering the fact that I already have a pair of Germans, and one of those happens to be a Jetta sedan, I have to say that I am still jonesing for this 1984 VW Jetta GLI because I just can’t get enough of these sweet A1 machines. Luckily for my marriage, this car is on the extreme opposite end of these United States and hence logistically out of my reach.


Someone in Rhode Island however, might just want to take a look.


There’s been perhaps no better iteration of a “hatch with a trunk” than the MK1 Jetta which grew out of the Giugiaro-designed MK1 Golf. This one, in white and rocking Corrado steelies, still looks exceptionally cool today. The crisp white paint, a recent edition, and the Euro lights and bumpers probably help. This is also claimed to be a rare factory GLI. That was the hot edition of the Jetta, the model’s equivalent to the Golf (Rabbit here) GTI.

This car goes the GLI name one better by having a 1.8 16V from a later Scirocco under its hood. That engine swap, along with its partner in crime Scir-rocking the house five speed, is said to have been done by a previous to the previous owner and to have only about 80K on the clock. It looks all pretty in there, polished up and whatnot. The seller notes a large number of recent maintenance measures taken too. Supporting that work, the car exhibits only surface rust underneath, at least according to the ad.


Inside there’s a clean dash, GLI sport seats up front and a mis-matched bench in the back. Missing are a headliner (out for re-flocking or something) and the parcel tray. There’s also a Royal wheel, some missing switch blanks, and an AWOL radio, but none of those are that big a deal.


What might be however, is the issue noted in the ad regarding the gauges lying like a rug. The seller says that the mix of MK1 gauges and MK2 motor mean mayhem on the dashboard and a temp gauge that pegs like an angry dominatrix.


That seller says that it’s misreading the sender, and that the 16V isn’t really getting all hot and bothered. Still, the previous owner did plug in a big aluminum radiator and switch-controlled fan all the same. The heater apparently only works on full-blast but the seller says that’s an easy fix too. He also says that the wheel bearings need attention, but that they’re not a “pressing” need. Ha, Ha, I see what he did there.

So, it’s a project car, but one that’s 80% there. Also, the seller notes that you get a ton of additional parts including Golf and sealed beam grilles, doors and kibbles and bits if you want them. He’s selling the car due to lack of space and the need for a winter car. Living in Southern California that concept is foreign to me.


The car needn’t be foreign to you, all you need is $5,500, which seems to be the new hotness for used car prices around here. Let’s have a gander at the car as it’s presented in its ad and decide if it seems worth that. What do you think, is this seemingly sweet GLI project worth $5,500? Or, for that much does this Jetta blow?


You decide!


Providence, RI Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

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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.