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1981 VW Scirocco S: Honest MK1


Barn Finds reader Jim S. must have ESP: I just started looking for a new potential project car, and MK1 and MK2 Volkswagens have been on my radar screen. This early-model VW Scirocco here on eBay is an extremely clean survivor-grade example wearing original paint. 


If you’ve ever spent any time looking at this generation of VWs, you’ll begin to notice a trend: these cars get modified relentlessly. They are prime candidates for engine swaps, according to some owners, so models not equipped with the desirable 16V or VR6 tend to immediately lose their original powerplants in search of more power. Thankfully, this one is still numbers matching.


The same goes for the interiors. Listen, I get that select MK2s came with Recaro seats and you want to upgrade, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice originality in pursuit of a modest increase in comfort! This Scirocco remains highly original inside, right down to the OEM goftball shift knob. The seller claims he rescued the car after sitting for ten years, so it’s nice to see he attempted to clean it up a bit.


Among the MK1 and MK2 lineup, the Scirocco was easily the most sensuous car Volkswagen offered. I think they’re all generally attractive, since I like boxy cars, but the ‘Rocco was a breath of fresh air when new. Although I prefer its corporate twin, the Isuzu Impulse, those are even harder to find not to mention near impossible to track down parts for. Bidding is active with no reserve – will you jump in on it?


  1. Avatar photo Blindmarc

    3k would be tops to me. Seems like a lot of bids in a short time.

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  2. Avatar photo randy

    I have always liked these car, a neighbor in my apts years ago had an orange one.

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    • Avatar photo pursang

      It wasn’t orange, it was Brasil Bronze Metallic. I had a 79 bought new and it was a great ride for such low HP.

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      • Avatar photo randy

        Forgive me, that was 30 or so years ago.

        I recall that the Rabbits and Scirocco’s were much feistier than their US counterparts.

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  3. Avatar photo Mark E

    I very nearly bought a new Scirocco back in 1976. Metallic green with plaid green interior. It still kind of blows my mind to realize how early Mk1 models are so impossibly rare… o_0

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  4. Avatar photo NOZOOM4U

    More interested in the other MK1 bits in that garage. Had a diamond silver over blue 83 GTi as one of my first cars. Motor swapped, full coilover suspension, daily driven car, UNREAL fast. Still gets talked about today (this was 98-99). Great cars, should have kept it.

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  5. Avatar photo Sofakingfast

    Corporate twin. What’s the Isuzu VW link? Same designer pen the shape?
    Just interested in that possibly obscure detail

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  6. Avatar photo Bob in Bexley Member

    At less than 2000lb & 70+ hp you won’t find more chuckable fun than a Scirocco with Recaro seats except a German Rabbit. Putting these things on 3 wheels was a daily adventure !

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  7. Avatar photo Dennis M

    My little brother had a new Scirocco back in the day. A seriously fun ride!

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  8. Avatar photo Darrell

    I had a 1978 Scirocco way back when. I loved that car. It was my first real car and I drove it all over the place. It ran like a watch.

    I took it in for a tune up and the mechanic wanted to buy it from me for $1500. (probably twice as much as it was worth at the time)

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  9. Avatar photo Steve

    Notice the position of the distributor in relation to that upper radiator hose? Strategically positioned so that a leak directs all water directly into the distributor. In 79’s there was a convenient cup-like shroud around the distro ensuring a good long soak. Seems that was fixed by this time.

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  10. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    The single windshield wiper always looked odd to me.( not that 3 on my MGB looked any better, which I removed the center one) These were pretty popular for the time. Kind of a Rabbit on steroids. Wonder what happened to all those?

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    • Avatar photo Darrell

      The single windshield wiper worked well in regular rain but in a storm it could lift off of the windshield completely. I finally added some sort of spoiler attachment to it to help push it down but it didn’t help much.

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    • Avatar photo Bob in Bexley Member

      The single wiper worked just fine Howard & the performance difference between a stock rabbit & scirocco was nil.

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  11. Avatar photo Benjamin

    My brother had a Mars red ’80 Scirocco and it was a blast to drive. He eventually traded it for a Golf. We’ve had a slew of VWs over the years.

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  12. Avatar photo Aleks

    I currently own 2 Scirocco’s, both mk2 (87), one an all original 8v with 355k and a VERY clean 16v with 380k.

    They’re fantastic cars, but be prepared to deal with the joyous nightmare of CIS fuel distribution. If stable idle, obedient throttle, and reliable cold (-25C) starting are what you lust after this isn’t the car for you. I’ve had my 8v for 5 years and I still haven’t figured out why it will run great one day and act like an idiot the next day.

    They’re loads of fun, and you’ll pick the inside rear wheel off the ground in hard cornering but they require love and money.

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    • Avatar photo ksis

      Grounding straps…always the grounding straps…

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      • Avatar photo Aleks

        If only it were that easy. I’ve checked and cleaned every last one.

        I have a feeling it’s my cold start air bypass valve or one of the dozen vacuum hoses.

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      • Avatar photo Dfjrep1

        Not grounding straps! You need a fuel pressure gauge and the fittings Vito plum into the various components of the csi system to identify the problem

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  13. Avatar photo SunbeamerStu

    Nice survivor. Looks complete, tho shame dash is all cracked. Give it a good cleaning and freshening and run the heck out of it. These were fun to drive back in the day, and still are.

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  14. Avatar photo Darrell

    For a while (in the late 80s and early 90s) the Scirocos were being raced in the SCAA amatuer class. I was told that they had to add sandbags to keep the car on 4 wheels.

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  15. Avatar photo randy

    SOLD for $7604.00

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    • Avatar photo Bob in Bexley Member

      My ’78 new sold for $7k + taxes.

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  16. Avatar photo Joe Howell

    I had 3 Scirrocos, a 76 purchased used in 1977, a new 84 and a new 16V in 87. Great cars, I kept the 87 for 17 years, was like new when sold in 2004 with 132,000 miles. I have moved on to Porsches now but still miss the that 87 16V :(

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