Guide Price: £7,000 - £10,000
∙Absolutely beautiful Mk2 GTI
∙Restored to original condition
∙Low ownership and mileage
∙Engine fully rebuilt and high quality respray
The softer, rounder VW Golf Mk 2 made its debut at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show, designed in-house under the supervision of VW's design director Herbert Schäfer, as an evolution of the Giugiaro original.
It was a well-engineered and handsome car, bigger and more solid than most of its rivals, yet also surprisingly agile. It’s no surprise, then, that in 1984 a second generation of GTI appeared, building on the success of Volkswagen’s original hot hatch.
It had a 112bhp eight-valve 1.8-litre engine, which sounds modest by today’s performance standards but was lively enough, with a 139bhp 16v version of the engine appearing in August of 1986, the two being sold side-by-side for the rest of the Mk 2’s production.
In 1989, the Mk 2 was given a facelift, with a massively improved and updated cabin and the addition of ‘big bumpers’ on the GTI and supercharged G60, along with chunky wheel arch trims and full-length sill covers. A new range of metallic paint finished were offered, too, which were brighter and more varied than the GTI’s previously sober colour palette.
The later MK2 GTIs also had an improved fuel injection system, greater refinement and marginally better performance than the early ones, along with a new-found following among affluent, upwardly mobile young owners – a market in which the current GTI still thrives today.
For much of its life, the MK 2 GTI was the UK’s best-selling hot hatch, which also made it extremely popular with the modifying community. And that means that an unmodified, unmolested GTI is a very rare car indeed.
But that’s what we have here. H805 ASL is a late 8v GTI that – aside from a more modern radio and a stainless steel exhaust system – is exactly as it left the factory in 1991. It’s also in a marvellous colour. Capri Green was only offered in 1991 and 1992, making it one of the rarer Mk2 GTI shades and also one of the most vibrant.
The car has recently been partially restored and is an absolute joy to behold – a lovely example of an unspoilt, unmolested Mk 2.
H805 ASL was first registered in Stirling in February 1991 and spent most of its life in Scotland, with three previous keepers before the current owner acquired it in 2017. He brought the car to the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire borders and decided to get it ‘tidied up a bit’ before planning to use it – a strategy that didn’t necessarily go according to plan, but that’s a bonus for this car’s next owner.
The engine was tired, so the vendor asked a local engineer to rebuild it while entrusting some body repairs to a coachwork specialist in a neighbouring business unit. What started out as a ‘tidy up’ became a full rebuild, as the owner decided that if he was going to get parts of the body repainted, he may as well get the whole thing done, with new wings, floors, sills, and a complete respray in the original Capri Green. After all, having committed to a full engine rebuild, it made sense to get the bodywork done before putting it all back together, right? Car enthusiast logic right there. If you’re reading this, you’ll probably understand.
And here’s the really tough part – having spent a small fortune on the car the owner has since barely used it, keeping it locked in a heated garage and only using it sparingly. He loves it, but he doesn’t believe he uses it enough and is reluctantly selling it to put funds towards an upcoming house extension.
While it can’t lay claim to a comprehensive service history, the Golf does come with lots of bills and receipts pertaining to the engine rebuild and body restoration, as well as a pile of old MOT certificates and an HPI report that verify the mileage of just over 90,000, or around 3,000 miles a year in the car’s 30-year life.
There’s also a current MOT valid until June this year, a V5 in the name of the current owner, a handbook pack, a Haynes manual and some books and magazine articles included along with a printed HPI report.
Make no mistake – this car is absolutely stunning. Not only does the colour really set it off, but the quality of the recent paint restoration is excellent with a deep and lustrous shine and no noticeable blemishes. It’s immaculately presented.
During the rebuild, there were repairs carried out to the sills and floors and the underside was cleaned back to bare metal and undersealed, while the bodywork repairs included new front wings, wheel arch repair sections and repairs to the door bottoms. The craftsmanship on display is brilliant – the panel fit is superb, the finish of the paint and the trim easily as good as when it left the factory.
The car sits smartly on its original optional extra BBS alloy wheels, which really suit it. These weren’t refurbished at the time of the restoration and are original, so do have a few very minor blemishes if you look really closely – but only if you’re being picky. All four tyres are brand new, while a full stainless steel exhaust system is both a smart and a practical touch.
It’s typically Germanic inside the GTI’s cabin – simple, uncluttered and quite basic for what was essentially an upmarket car in its day.
The grey cloth sports seats are in excellent order with none of the bolster wear often seen on Mk2s, while the same can be said of the dash. They’re often prone to warping or cracking in the heat, but this one is excellent. It also has a pretty cool period accessory in the form of a Fischer C-BOX – a real Nineties fad for storing your cassette tapes. Indeed, it’s crying out for a period tape deck in place of the modern CD/MP3 player that sits in the dash, but that’s the next owner’s choice. A tape deck as a show car, yes, but maybe something a bit more up to date if the car’s going to see a lot of use.
As you’d expect from an engine that has been recently professionally rebuilt, there’s nothing to worry about under the bonnet. It starts and runs like clockwork, holding a steady temperature and with no excess smoke.
The under bonnet presentation is lovely, too. It’s all beautifully clean, with the inner wings as clean and shiny as the outer body, a new radiator, new hoses and a nearly new battery. The vendor reports that the car drives really well, with good steering, suspension and brakes.
There’s a very strong following for Mk 2 GTIs these days and in particular for unmolested examples that haven’t seen any modifications. The ‘big bumper’ models in particular have a following, as the later look is more coveted by VW enthusiasts.
It may not be a 16-valve, but that shouldn’t detract from this car as it’s a truly, truly lovely example and is only a few very small details away from being in concours condition. It has to be one of the best unmodified Mk 2s on the market right now, fresh from some fairly extensive renovations that have taken what was essentially a good and sound example and have turned it into a show car. It’s lovely – and fans of iconic 80s/90s hot hatchbacks will have to look very hard to find better.
Delightful doesn’t even begin to describe it.
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