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No Shifting Survivor: 1987 VW Scirocco


We featured a VW Scirocco not too long ago, which arguably was more desirable than this 1987 example here on eBay. It was a “S” model with a manual transmission, and was an early example which are quite a bit harder to find. But this survivor-quality car in Colorado is pleasing in another way, even with the automatic – and I’ll get into that below. 


You see, I am on the hunt for a vehicle that came equipped from the factory with a standard automatic transmission. It took me a while to get my head around that, since the cars I like to buy almost always had the manual option. What struck me is that as I’ve gotten older, there’s at least one day a week where I wish I didn’t have to slog my way through traffic with three pedals on the floor – let me just throw it in drive and make my way home, slowly. This Scirocco may not be sporting but it appears to be in immaculate condition.


Sometimes, I think the cars typically associated with performance and speed often suffer because of their manual transmissions. They attract the boy racer set, who are bent on driving every last ounce of performance out of a vehicle, even if it inevitably pushes the car past the brink of restoration. Heck, I’ll admit that my E36 M3 often drives me to travel more quickly, simply because the car begs for it. With the lower-spec 8V engine and automatic transmission, I’m not surprised in the least that this Scirocco has had an easy life.


Of course, even cars with a sheltered lifestyle can be rusty. Fortunately, this car’s body appears completely straight with original paint. Even the plastic trim and OEM mudflaps are still lustrous, which are common areas for sun-fade on most 80s German vehicles. The seller is asking for $3,800 with the option to make an offer; I think $3,200 would be a great dealer for buyer and seller. And if I ever find my next project vehicle, I’ll be sure to share my treasure with the Barn Finds community…but I have a feeling it’s going to take a while.


  1. Avatar photo RayT

    I love early Sciroccos, Jeff, and this one looks to be a true bargain!

    But for once I’d have to ditch my “originality” tendencies and start looking for the bits needed to convert it to manual transmission and, perhaps, a 16V engine. The 16V Sciroccos, and the similarly equipped Golfs and Jettas, were just too much fun to hare around in to accept the milder motor and slushbox.

    Now if I happened to find one that came that way from the factory and looked this pristine and hadn’t been flogged like mad by someone like me, I’d leave this one as-is for someone like you!

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    • Avatar photo Jeff Staff

      Ray, I totally get it. I would say if someone bought this to convert, it would be OK by me if the original engine and trans stayed safely stored in the garage or basement so it could always be returned to its preserved state.

      I have never driven a 16V but I’ve heard they are a hoot.

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      • Avatar photo RayT

        Of course, Jeff! Whenever possible, modification should be reversible, and I think this one would be a bolt-in proposition.

        Some of my fondest driving stints have been behind the wheel of 16V VWs. They were rev-happy little beasts, to say the least, and solidified my appreciation for the marque.

        Have never owned an automatic-transmission car — except for my Kaisers, which had four-speed Hydros — and, despite my years of crawling through L.A. traffic, have no intention of ever doing so.

        Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Nessy

    If this bubble was the 16V, it would be alright, otherwise, nah. The first gen Scirocco, 75 to 81 was a much better looking car and handled like it was on rails. If I had to pick a Scirocco, make mine a black 80/81 S model with red trim.

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  3. Avatar photo jim s

    i think this is a great deal. i too would convert to manual transmission but use this motor. i would sell not keep the automatic trans and parts from the conversion as i would never be going back. might be an issue if you had to pass a smog check after the conversion. what fun it would be to daily drive this. great find.

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  4. Avatar photo OA5599

    A buddy of mine had a couple 8V ‘roccos. He would rev them up like a chain saw and we’d blast down the freeways. I love the idea of giving this a manual makeover with a 16V.

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  5. Avatar photo Audifan

    I love this car especially with the automatic transmission. It’s almost impossible to find one in this condition. I think the A/T saved it from being lowered, “upgraded” with performance options, wheels, muffler etc…….and then rode hard and put away wet.
    Hopefully the new buyer will not change ANYTHING. There are enough Sciroccos with manual transmission around. I own one of them too, a completely bone stock
    1985 in black metallic with a stick. My ex-wife and I ordered it new and took tourist delivery in Mannheim, Germany. She wanted a manual transmission, I wanted an automatic transmission because driving on LA’s freeways is otherwise no fun. I had the A/T in a 1986 Golf and 1988 Jetta and it does the job just fine. After all a Scirocco with 85 HP is not a race car anyway.

    The odometer problem seems to be common, since ours had it changed in 1988 but I still have the dealer’s documentation about it.

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  6. Avatar photo Mark-A

    Would HAVE to modify it with the European style Bumpers as those Safety Bumpers are about 5-6inches deeper than they need to be & just look so wrong! Also its an easily removable modification before selling it on again. Would also fit a Set of 15″ ATS Classic rims & I’d be happy.

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  7. Avatar photo David M Member

    We see a few older GTIs at our shop and love the hell out of their simplicity and sheer spunk. I ended up with an ’87 GTI for a couple of years and LOVED it.
    Cool find.

    Like 0

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