Nice Wheels: 1988 Volkswagen Polo

It’s always interesting to see what happens to cars after they’re listed on Barn Finds; in the case of this 1988 Volkswagen Polo, it doesn’t look like a whole lot has changed! Since it was previously written up here back in 2015, this Polo has only added about a few thousand miles to the odometer and a snazzy new set of wheels. This ’88 Polo is a UK import now located in Hummelstown, PA and can be found listed here on eBay. The auction is just over $3k at the time of this writing and the reserve has not yet been met.

Back when our own Jamie Palmer wrote this one up back in ’15, he remarked on how perfectly preserved (and “perfectly ordinary”) this little Polo is. Well, it appears that the two owners since then have done a superb job of maintaining its immaculate condition. When it was previously listed the car was located in Florida, which certainly helped with maintaining its rust free condition. While it’s now up in PA, it doesn’t appear to have been subjected to any salty roads, or much of any roads at all since the odometer has only racked up an additional 4k miles since it was last featured to a total of 42,000. Interior is just as clean as it was 3 years ago, or for that matter, probably about as clean as it was 30 years ago as well!

The Polo sports a 1043cc gas engine powering a 4-speed manual transmission. It has received a bit of recent maintenance including oil, muffler, brakes, shocks and an alignment and wears new tires. According to the seller, the replacement wheels are rare Borbet ATIWE alloys; I rather like the factory wheels on this car but these do have a nice look as well. It will be interesting to see what kind of value they add to the closing price of the listing. The photos of the undercarriage also look excellent with no indication of rust.

While the Polo may be considered mundane back in Europe, I think there’s an appeal on this side of the pond, if only for the novelty of a rare model coupled with such excellent condition – and RHD to boot!  VW folks are a pretty fanatical bunch, and I could easily see these gaining some collector status here in the US as an alternative to the more ubiquitous Mk1’s and 2’s. Have any of you ever had the pleasure of driving one of these uncommon-in-the-US VW’s?

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  1. Scott Tait

    Personally I wouldn’t call the wheels snazzy theres far better that suit this car

  2. CanuckCarGuy

    Very cool looking interior, VW nailed the pattern in a funky, yet tasteful way. The square hatch styling gives it a sporty vibe, but I’d look at a VR6 swap to perk things up a bit under the hood.

  3. Sam61

    Like it…looks like fun, although it looks like spawn from a shotgun corporate marriage between VW and Renault.

  4. Miguel

    I assume this car is from England.

    Can anyone confirm that?

    • UK Paul 🇬🇧

      Yes, first registered in Ipswich, Suffolk, England.

      In 2013 it had its last inspection here and needed a new CV joint and had an oil leak.

  5. Tom Justice

    I think the diesel version of this car got 80+ mpg, could use that minus the scandal here.

  6. RattlingLikeNuggets

    That’s made me all nostalgic! In the early 90s my sister had the saloon version of this, in the same colour, with the same asthmatic engine. It was a lovely car until the timing belt snapped and caused a lot of damage. Still, I’d definitely buy it if it was still in the UK

  7. Chinga-Trailer

    I don’t mean to be overly critical, but sometimes the Barnfinds writers exhibit incredible ignorance or stupidity, and the statement that the Florida location has helped preserve the rust free condition is a prime example. Much of Florida is humid to the extreme with heavily salt laden air that rots cars from the inside out!

    • Jason

      Yeah, it’s like they don’t know where Florida is. Sounds moronic!

      “When it was previously listed the car was located in Florida, which certainly helped with maintaining its rust free condition.”

  8. gene

    Friend bought one to import new thinking to beat VW to US and then convert to grey market…but VW went with Fox instead. Before Customs came calling, it was shipped back to Germany and sold after 6 months and 10,000 miles of US driving. He broke even as the exchange rate and used market was favorable. Great driving, fun to drive, economical car. Only wish someone sold a small US legal 2 door wagon today.

  9. Paul Grumsha

    I would repower with a 1400 hyabusa

  10. JoeNYWF64

    Kewl that it’s a 2 door!
    Many people disliked when GM introduced astroventilation in ’68 & did away with the OPENING vent windows on some of its cars, tho the a/v system worked well in non a/c cars on not too hot days when the car was moving.
    Imagine the reaction & outrage of owners if GM, etc. did what was done above, instead, in the late ’60s! lol
    Here VW has put a HUGE phony vent window, like on many foreign cars of the era that does not open. I’m guessing that either it was easier to tool up a much smaller LIGHTER in weight opening window, & possibly also to be able to use PLASTIC parts inside for the roll down mechanicals.
    I know of a ’68 chevy always outside that still has no problem with its original NON CABLE driven non power window regulators. While it is not uncommon to go through several window regulators over the years on, for ex., a 3000 gt(even on the rare non power window versions) because of a plastic wheel that breaks that guides the window regulator cable inside the door. Good for the service depts to make money on – u gotta replace the whole regulator including the motor which is still good! – bad for the driver if the window can’t be raised if you get stuck in non moving traffic in a snowstorm!! Could freeze to death!
    I would feel “choked” driving with such a small opening window.

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