23 Years Owned: 1988 VW GTI 16V

In general, the second generation of Volkswagen’s U.S. lineup has all but disappeared from U.S. roads. They’re not showing up in junkyards, either, and the hot versions of the standard Golf and Jetta – the GTI and GLI – are virtually extinct. Yes, there are many that have been heavily modified or abused, but stock survivors like this 1988 GTI 16V here on eBay just don’t show up all that often. Bidding is approaching $5K with the reserve unmet.

There’s a lot to like about this car. First, the long-term ownership history: the seller has owned this car for 23 years and is the second owner. The GTI has resided exclusively in California and Nevada, which means the body remains in mint condition. And finally, the seller is clearly the super fastidious type, with tons of expensive maintenance work done despite only driving the car a handful of times annually.

The potent DOHC 16V engine is a favorite among enthusiasts, both in stock cars like these and for swapping into under-powered 8V models. The seller notes the engine in his car has been showered with expensive affection, including a valve job, clutch / pressure plate, and throw-out bearing in the past 20,000 miles. Rod bearings and rings were also replaced, and yes, the A/C still blows cold.

The one detraction from stock is the replacement upholstery, which is a bummer – I love the stock patterns in these cars. The interior overall shows incredibly well, and curiously, the seller has retrofitted power windows. There’s also a functioning period alarm system, too. Overall, there’s a lot to like here, and given how rarely second-generation 16Vs pop up, I suspect this one will fetch a good number.


  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    Ewww, The aftermarket AR wheels and interior are hideous. With almost 200K on the clock, this is a $2500 car at most.

    Like 3
  2. asdja

    lmao why would you put power windows in this car???

    Like 1
    • CanuckCarGuy

      Short arms?

      Like 1
  3. Wayne

    This is a very desirable car. If not for several current projects I would be making the 7 hour trip down to investigate and most likely purchase. The strongest Golf body and the most fun when calculating also having to do maintenance and driving. (My daughter’s VR6 was fun to drive, but NO fun repairing/maintaining.)
    Not crazy about the wheels, but that is an easy fix.

    Like 2
  4. Bakyrdhero

    I miss seeing these on the roads. Those wheels were everywhere back in the day. I wouldn’t say they are hideous, more like period correct aftermarket rims. I’d prefer the stock rims however. The interior looks fine to me also.

    Like 1

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