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GTI Alternative: 1991 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Starting with the Golf GTI, Volkswagen has an extensive history making modern, engaging, front-wheel-drive sports cars. The Jetta GLI takes the spirit of the fun-to-drive go-kart Golf GTI and puts it in a package that can take your friends and family along for the ride. This 1991 model is understated in black with the only modifications being an upgraded suspension system. You can find it here on eBay.

Under the hood is a double-overhead-cam 16 valve 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, driving the front wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. It’s not going to win any drag races, but it’s undoubtedly fun on the twisties. The added practicality of four doors and a usable trunk means you can actually use it, too, unlike many sports cars. I’m curious to know more about that not-stock suspension, but that’s a question for the potential buyer.

Inside you’re bolstered by Recaro seats, and are provided with ample amenities. One of the benefits of German sports cars is they’re over-engineered to deal with life on the Autobahn, and a common review of just about any and every fast German car is that it will feel stable and solid even at full tilt. Worth noting: the seller states that there’s a “total loss” on the Carfax, but doesn’t give any more information on that. If you’re buying a thirty-year-old car, any blemish on its record is worth looking into deeply, especially a “total loss,” though the car itself looks clean and composed.

Having said all of that, everything looks clean and well-taken-care-of. It’s said to have had recent service on the water pump, timing belt, valve cover gasket, and shifting linkage. There is no rust visible, and the seller states that there is none on the car. Everything on this listing looks good…except for that Carfax. As always, do your due diligence and research common problems with Jetta GLIs of this vintage. A cursory Google search says that electrical gremlins might be common, but mechanically, hopefully, you should be fine. That combination of BBS wheels, manual gearbox, and Recaro seats is tempting just for the fun factor.


  1. alphasud Member

    I wished I could have the same Recaro seats in my Golf 16V cars. The VW seats were comfortable but I loved how the GLI seats felt. The 2 liter makes these strong runners. Also noted was the GLI was a German made VW whereas the ark 2 GTI’s were Westmorland and Mexico made.

    Like 1
    • Oilyhands

      Not sure if I should be happy or sad, I bought a 1983 Rabbit GTI that had the original seats replaced with these Recaros….. not original but comfortable.

      Like 0
  2. DRV

    Are local road course has a veteran driver who has the exact vehicle. It’s his stock driver and race car with 350k on it. He has a few class track records and has always been competitive. I had the hatch Mexican version and loved it.

    Like 2
  3. Adam Wright

    I use one of these seats as a desk chair, Recaro all day!

    Like 2
  4. Troy

    Man I need to get back into the car flipping business seller is asking $9500 for a car with a TOTAL LOSS history and 175k miles but the odometer doesn’t work its a $500 – $600 dollar car at best. If the seller can pull that kind of money from this thing that’s amazing.

    Like 3
    • Graham Line

      My ’89 Jetta GLI Wolfsburg was totalled in ’91 when it was stolen and stripped of its Recaro interior and BBS wheels. Replacement originals were non-existent. Only damage to the car came from a CoPart forklift jockey.

      Like 4
  5. t-bone BOB

    Ended: Dec 12, 2021 , 8:50AM
    Price: US $9,500.00

    Located in:Fort Lauderdale, Florida,


    Like 0

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