17 Years Owned: 1988 VW Scirocco 16V

Volkswagen’s MK2 generation is perhaps one of its most popular and revered today, with vehicles like this clean 1988 Scirocco 16 valve among the top picks for any VW collectors and connoisseurs. Said to be with only its second owner for the last 17 years, the Scirocco is currently near Buffalo but hails from Texas, and has been kept out of the snow and salt during that time. Find it here on eBay with a $3,450 Buy-It-Now.

Among VW’s US vehicle lineup, the eight valve four-cylinders are the most common, finding its way into lower spec GTIs and Sciroccos, as well as doing duty in commuter vehicles like the Golf and Jetta. The Scirocco seen here benefits not only from more power but also the other features associated with a 16V: factory body kit, rear spoiler, sport seats, and teardrop-style alloy wheels. The latter is missing from this example, replaced with wheels from a third-generation Jetta or Golf.

The seller seemingly downplays this car’s condition, as the leather buckets appear to be in great shape along with the rest of the interior. Despite the potential for damage from the harsh Texas sun, this car clearly escaped its dry, southern home in time and thankfully, was spared the fate of the salt-soaked northern roads. The seller notes that the A/C still works, along with the factory sunroof. Numerous repairs have been made, including a replacement transmission, new clutch/flywheel, and a timing belt service performed by a local VW dealer.

While the seller notes that the body could use some improvements, we’re not seeing much to criticize based on the photos. Black cars are typically full of swirls in the paint by this juncture, so there may be issues that appear up-close. The Scirocco 16V will always be the one to get if you’re hunting for a MK2, but it’s a tough decision between choosing one of these or waiting for a GTI with the same motor. The seller’s asking price seems quite reasonable for a car we don’t see all that often, especially in unmolested condition like this.

Fast Finds


  1. Carter

    Scirocco II, not Mk.II :-). Looks like a nice one! The GTIs drive better and because they’re more rare at this juncture I’d wager they’ll retain more vale long term, but these have steadily been on the rise.

  2. Carter

    Scirocco II, not Mk.II :-). Looks like a nice one! The GTIs drive better and because they’re more rare at this juncture I’d wager they’ll retain more value long term, but these have steadily been on the rise.

  3. Carter

    That comment was so good it was worth two. Sorry about that!

  4. Mike

    I absolutely love these. Hopefully one day I’ll have another one. My first car was an 85 Wolfsburg Edition. The car handled like it was on rails. The only thing I hated was the clown shoe bumpers. The European ones look much better.

    PS: I’ve heard plenty of people and VW enthusiasts refer to the 2nd gen Scirocco as a MK2. The “Mark” isn’t just limited to GTI’s.

    Like 2
  5. DanaPointJohn

    Nice and such fun cars! But those New York plates (regardless of what the seller says) mean the car needs to be put on a lift and every inch inspected.

  6. Joe Howell

    Great price IMHO for a decent car. The stock Teardrops look much better than whatever VW wheels those are. My wife and I had 3 Scirrocos. We traded our 76 for a new 84 Wolfsburg Edition and then traded it for a new 1987 16V like this but in Silver Flash Metallic. We kept and babied it for 17 years. Sold in 2004 and have regretted it ever since. I have 2 Porsches now but still miss my Scirroco.

  7. BiggYinn

    MK II SCIRROCO ….the previous was a MK I …. as based of the equivilent MK I & II Golf the only exception was the golf cabriolet / convertable which where Mk1 golf based even though newer Marks numbers had came to market
    Later versions had better engine choices

  8. Paul

    A replacement transmission is very unusual. Never seen that before in Scirocco or Golf. But does look like a very nice car and leather rare in the UK.. don’t know about the States.
    A nice one to tuck away ..

  9. EJB

    A friend of mine bought one of these a year or so after we got out of HS. I remember thinking how smooth the acceleration and handling was.

    He drove it like he stole it though.

  10. Pa Tina

    I have owned a 1979 and a 1987. I have always wanted a 16V Scirocco. I live an hour from this car. Advice? Thoughts? Wise Remarks?

  11. michael

    I always loved these cars :) this looks nice , needs some TLC though

    Like 1
  12. Tom Hall

    Had two of these myself – neither a 16V. The first one was the car deal of my lifetime. An ’84 that a 70 some year old bought new and drove for two months/1400 miles before he passed on . It was less than a year old when I got it the following spring after sitting in a garage all winter – and I got it for about half the price of the sticker.

    Replacing the trans is NOT uncommon in these and other 5 speed VWs of this vintage. As I recall, one had to make sure they were full of oil at all times. If it was run even a little low, fifth gear would be lost.

    DanaPointJohn is right. The second one (an ’83) had never seen a winter when I bought it. Two winters later, it looked like it never missed one. I’m in the same part of the rust belt that this car is in now – about 80 miles south.

    Almost bought a 16V for a daily driver until a VW guy told me that 16V’s were a bit too hi-po/high maintenance to use as a daily driver. Wish I wouldn’t have listened to him now. But that one would have likely been another rust belt victim anyway.

    • Paul

      Can only speak of experience on the transmission … I have had 5 or 6 over the years and close friends another 20 between us and never had a sniff of an issue. Linkages yes, but not the transmission themselves. They were made in Germany back then I assume and not US plants? (I am in UK)
      This has pretty low mileage for age also ..

    • CarNut from Winnipeg Member

      That’s how 5th was lost on my 86 Prelude.

  13. Fran

    Looks nice, my brother had one, lots of problems. At least the guy didn’t put a finger up in the picture so you cannot see the plate! That’s a upstate NY thing on craigslist!

  14. Wayne

    I Pro-Rallied and Ice Raced a Mark I with some success. I never had transmission, CV joint or front wheel bearing issues. But my customers had CV joint and wheel bearing issues. I could never imagine what they did to their cars. That I didn’t do to mine times ten!

  15. Jody

    at first glance from the email, looks great. The good pix tell it all, sorry its a BEATER! The very last 88 alpine white 16v scirocco imported to the states is sitting in my garage, and I can tell you that black one is rough. But a excellent example of one will run you 7-10k now. These are a million times rarer than a Golf GTi 16v. There was 3500 alpine white ones made in 88, so imagine how many are left total. This is the 2nd Gen Scirocco, NOT a mk2 scirocco. Its build on a golf mk1 chassis just like the Gen 1 rocco! Good day!

    • ken

      i have 87 alpine white in good condition

  16. Finas

    Could this be the one that I had way back then (1987 to 1991) in Houston Tx? Mine was always driven like I stole it. Fun times.
    The timing belt broke sometime in 1990, resulting in bent valves. The younger, dumber me tried to perform diy repair. 2 sets of replacement valves later I gave up. Ordered a replacement cylinder head, installed it myself, and the car was as good as new. I drove the car to LA and back to Houston via route 66. No problem whatsoever.

    Sometime in 1991, during a very cold, freezing morning, the car wouldn’t start. The resourceful younger me then attempted to push the car backward then jumped in and pop the clutch. This had always worked like a charm before. Not this time though.
    A loud crack was heard from the engine bay. The transaxle casing was cracked wide open, gears protuding out of itand the trans oil spewed all over the bottom of the car.

    A fruitless search for the exact transmission for it resulted in the installation of a trans from a golf gti. Not the 16v gti mind you, it was from an 8v gti. Worked like a champ, although the gear ratios were slightly off.

    I still miss this car. It carried me through college. Had so much fun with it.

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