Stuck 16 Valve: 1988 VW Scirocco

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

VW’s Scirocco 16 valve is the one to buy if you’re hunting for the ultimate 80s hot hatch from Wolfsburg, and this one is dirt cheap. However, there’s a catch: the seller admits that the motor doesn’t spin freely, and whether it’s a quick fix will be up to the next owner to gamble on. Find it here on eBay with a $100 opening bid and no reserve. 

These 16V MK2 VWs are interference motors, so a snapped timing belt could render this powerplant into a boat anchor in short order. Which is really too bad, because the body looks super straight and the car is almost entirely stock. The factory body kit is intact, along with the proper 16V badging, whip antenna and teardrop alloy wheels.

If the car sells for anything close to the opening bid, there’s easily way more value in parts – especially if the motor is shot. Those factory sport seats are worth a mint in good shape, and given the condition of the door cards and dash, those bits could likely help out another Scirocco owner. The soundness of the body means the panels themselves could also assist other owners.

The valve cover and intake runners could also find homes in other Sciroccos, but really, we hope this one gets rebuilt (or an engine transplant) if it turns out to be terminal. There’s always a chance the engine isn’t past the point of rescue, but the next owner will have to take that chance since the seller isn’t willing to go much further than their initial diagnosis. Is this Scirocco 16V worth a bid?

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  1. UK Paul

    So different to EU models from the time. Interesting to see

  2. Mike

    Isn’t the left quarter panel damaged? It could be a shadow I guess, but it looks like a dent to me.

  3. Shane

    Yep, that’s a dent on the left quarter panel (mentioned in description). Also mentioned in the description is that the prior owner thought it stopped running because the fuel pump had gone out. He says the engine cranks over and feels like it has compression. It sounds like the seller is saying “doesn’t spin freely” as a GOOD thing (as opposed to an engine that would spin easily because it has no compression). Back in college, many friends and relatives had Golfs. On that 8v VW engine, it was easy to tell if the timing belt was broken because the oil filler cap was on top of the rocker cover, so you could just open the oil filler, have someone crank the engine over and see if the camshaft is turning. I can’t see where the oil filler cap is on this 16v engine.

  4. DrinkinGasoline

    There are those who love them and there are those who hate them….I’m indifferent…..have at it.

  5. Adam Wright

    OMG, I could re-live my youth, my first car!

  6. Christopher Wenz

    2.0 TDI transplant?

    • Nova Scotian

      That would be a mistake. Polluting diesel would destroy any value left in this runner. Rebuild or replace engine… But that’s if it’s terminal.

      • audifan

        I’m with you, but a modern Diesel polutes more than a 30 year old gas engine? Not really.

      • Nrg8


  7. Nrg8

    Timing belt inspection cover is off. Probably skipped a tooth or lost some teeth.

  8. Karl

    The same seller has a few other interesting cars for sale I’d have any one of them.

  9. Jeff

    I have a 16V engine that would be a direct replacement sitting in my garage that I would love to find a new home for.

  10. Donek

    Lots of interesting ‘projects’ in that yard e.g. two 2 Citroëns SM 🙂

  11. djkenny

    If it is seized, timing belt snapped, then I would opt for a 2 liter 16v engine out of the Jetta GLI or GTI 16v 91-92, or Passat in the 1st generation.
    More torque.

    It will likely be a project, but not terribly complicated. It would be best if it lacks power windows. One of the benefits of this generation VW was the great grippy comfy seats, manual sunroof, manual windows, manual everything..

    then you can put your energy into the wheel bearings, CV Joints, electrical gremlins, door leaks, Bosch alternators that give out every 40k, and needing to change the timing belt at 45k, cooling system work that seems to be needed every 60k or sooner, Idle problems (idle stabilizer valves especially), fuel pump
    failures.. I have had a later one, still do.. and have done all these things…

    Anyway, once you get these things Sorted, they are actually pretty incredible cars to drive and reasonable cost to own.

    The paint looks good. I would see if a dentless repair place could deal with the dent. Then just buff and wax.

    The bumpers look pretty oxidized. I am researching how to improve the finish on my 92 GTI 16v. On You Tube a guy swears by carefully using a heat gun to replenish old car black trim and plastic bumpers, or automatic transmission fluid. Anyone have ideas? I mean, when it is beyond using Back to Black? Truck Bedliner or other paint?

    Keep it looking stock but add some side markers, some covered Hella foglamps, and a nice set of KW coil overs with Neuspeed Sway bars, front and rear Stress Bar.. make it the car you wanted new, when you could never afford to buy it.


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