Volkswagen Golf Mk2 GTI and GTI 16V (1983 – 1992) Review

Volkswagen Golf Mk2 GTI and GTI 16V (1983 – 1992) At A Glance


+Excellent performance from 16V, all models have a good performance/economy balance, drives brilliantly out of town, great build quality, longevity and reliability

-Heavy steering in cars without PAS, getting a bit faddish, so many cars have been modified - check they've been done properly.

Volkswagen's update of the Giugiaro-penned original was an improvement over the 1974 original in every way, except perhaps in terms of styling. It was roomier, easier to service, more rust resistant and generally faster.

The 1983 GTI 1.8 used carry-over engine, but lacked a little fizz of the original because of the additional weight of the body. That was restored by the arrival of the 16V in 1986, which pushed power to 136bhp and dropped the 0-60mph time to under 8 seconds. It might not have been the fastestm or even had the sharpest handling, but in the UK especially, it was the favourite hot hatch - for those who could afford it.

The classiest and most complete hot hatch of its era, and that's reflected by its huge popularity today. And probably the only 1980s hot hatch that could get away with wearing steel wheels. Classless.

Ask Honest John

How do I obtain a V5C for a car that's a Cat S write off?

"I am buying a Mk2 Volkswagen Golf GTI 16 valve from a friend which has light structural damage and has been written off as Category S. But is very repairable according to a local repair specialist. The writing-off insurance company has asked the registered keeper for the V5C. Will it be reissued to the registered keeper amended to the write-off Category S? Or will I have to apply for one when the vehicle is repaired and inspected?"
A Category S can be repaired following structural damage and you can use the vehicle again if it’s repaired to a roadworthy condition. If you want to keep a vehicle in category C, D, N or S, the insurance company will give you an insurance payout and sell the vehicle back to you. To keep a category C or S vehicle, you also need to send the complete logbook to your insurance company and apply for a free duplicate logbook using form V62. DVLA will record the vehicle’s category in the logbook. Be aware that insurance can be harder to find for written-off cars and can be more expensive. Written-off cars are also worth less than their undamaged counterparts and can be hard to sell on. The car will have the 'Cat S' on its logbook as a permanent record.
Answered by Keith Moody

Can you recommend a garage to restore my 1988 Volkswagen Golf Mk2 GTi?

"I have a 1988 Volkswagen Golf Mk2 GTi, owned from new and untouched. I'm now looking to have it renovated. Can you recommend any restorers either in the South East or in the Midlands?"
Volkswagen specialists like Oxfordshire-based Crazy Quiffs or Deutche Doktors in Stoke-on-Trent know the cars inside and out and should have most of the bits in stock, but they may be too far away for you. Garages like the Classic Coachwork Company in Broxted, Essex, are more local but don't necessarily specialise in GTIs. So you'll need to decide what's most important to you. Before you do that, though, decide how deep you want to with the restoration. Are you going to go full nut and bolt, stripping back to bare metal and rebuilding the engine - or do you just want to touch up the paintwork and have brakes and suspension refreshed? While Mk2 Golf GTIs have certainly appreciated in value over the past five years, a full restoration could easily run to more than the value of the car. And, to borrow a famous quote, 'there are things you don't know you don't know'. So, for example, you may decide to have the wheelarch touched up and find that there is more rust than you realised, which needs dealing with. Or you may have decided to treat the car to new brake pads, only to find the callipers need rebuilding and the brake lines replacing. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you see examples of a garage's previous work and speak to owners of cars they've worked on to find out about their experiences.
Answered by Keith Moody

I have a 1995 Volkswagen Golf that needs £1000 of repair work - should I keep or scrap it?

"I have a 1995 Golf GTI 16V, which I've owned from new. It has failed its MoT due to under body corrosion. The estimated repair is likely to be around £1000, although the garage say this will depend on the extent of the corrosion. They say that they'll only know how bad it is when all the covers are removed. I think there is also a drain on the battery, which is undiagnosed. The current MoT expires in mid-April. The car has done 106,000 miles, but I'm a senior and do very little now."
Golf are always desirable cars, especially in GTi form. Over the past decade, we've seen a domino effect. For example, when prices for a Mk1 GTi got too high, people started going after the Mk2 GTi. Prices for these are now high, but we're not necessarily seeing a shift towards the Mk3 GTi. Perhaps because in the 1990s, the GTi wasn't actually the quickest car in the range - that honour went to the VR6. Only you can decide if it's worth spending the money to keep the car going - do you like driving it? Does it mean a lot to you? To give you a rough idea of Mk3 GTi values, projects tend to be about £400 while the very best seem to go for about £2000-£2500.
Answered by Keith Moody

Does my 1998 Volkswagen Golf GTI have an electrical fault?

"I have an R-reg 1998 Volkswagen Golf GTI. For a while now it has been cutting out a few times a week whilst stationary or going at speed, whether the car is hot or cold. Then it won't start for a few minutes, but will always start after this. I have been to loads of garages and lots say that it's a fuel issue, but today, whilst the ignition was on but the engine not running, the rev counter went up a bit and then back down again. Then the car wouldn't start for a few minutes. What's causing this? "
See the car-by-car breakdown on this site.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Volkswagen Golf Mk2 GTI and GTI 16V (1983 – 1992) cost?