1982 Volkswagen Golf GTI 1.8 from UK and Ireland


This car has serious GRIN factor. How much more can it take!


Various small electrical problems. Steering rack attachment cracked at 155,00 miles and a little bit of rust here and there.

General Comments:

The punishment that this car has taken is not normal - like tearing up a beach for 3 hours - it used a lot of petrol - towing trailers - the car has traveled at least 70,000 miles with a trailer, with at least three motocross bikes on board and also one load which one of which weighed 1.5 tons. Since reaching 300,000 miles things have become easier - the car now no longer goes out in winter and other than regular servicing has had no other parts than a thermostat. This car has never had the head removed nor any internal engine part replaced yet still gets a good trashing every time it goes out (the rev limiter is very regularly tested). All of this must be a testament to fully synthetic engine oil which has been used in the car since I got it. Overall, I am amazed at how much punishment a car can take and still come back with a very big smile looking for some more, which is a good description of how I feel when I step out of it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th December, 2003

1982 Volkswagen Golf GTi 1.8 petrol injection from UK and Ireland


High performance, classic looks, low costs!


Neglect and 'boy-racer' damage from previous owner (s), resulting in:

New rear axle beam (2nd hand, from a Scirocco)

New shock absorbers all round and standard springs to replace lowering units.

I also had to renew the following:

Speedometer / odometer unit (odometer failed)

Driver's seat (usual wear and tear to bolster)

Ignition amplifier unit (the only time the car broke down)

Renovation kit for gear linkage.

The car also needed some welding for the annual test, but nothing major given its age.

Despite repeated attempts to get the tracking right, it was always slightly upset by road camber - probably as a result of crash damage.

The paintwork had not been looked after, resulting in small amounts of surface rust on the roof and under the front bumper.

General Comments:

I bought this car cheaply, as a rolling restoration project.

The first job was to put the car back to standard. It had been lowered and was fitted with large alloy wheels and wide tyres.

Standard specification suspension and the original alloys worked wonders, as did a new rear axle - I think that the nearside back wheel had hit a kerb at speed in the past.

The engine was fine and only needed an oil and filter change.

The only other problems which I encountered were reasonable wear issues, given the car's age.

The failure of the ignition amplifier module was the only actual breakdown which I had. The unit was replaced at the roadside and the car was fine. It looked like the failed unit was the original, so no complaints!

Overall, the car was very cheap to run. I sourced parts from specialists and scrapyards (only when absolutely necessary). I never needed the main dealer.

Although the renovation of the car meant that the sale price was less than the cost to me, it was worth it. The car was never perfect, but still handled brilliantly.

The car inspired confidence like few others which I have driven. There is a significant amount of grip and the vehicle can be positioned with great accuracy through corners.

The engine is superbly well matched to the light weight of the vehicle and there is always enough torque available.

I would certainly consider buying another Mk1 GTI, but would spend more on the purchase and be very attentive to possible crash damage. They are huge fun!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th November, 2003

1982 Volkswagen Golf GTi 1.8 petrol from UK and Ireland


Excellent, excellent, excellent


Driver's side interior door-pull "came off in my hand" -- this was my fault as I was in a mood at the time. Easily fixed.

The ashtray-surround mounting clip deformed slightly, resulting in the ashtray mounting becoming slightly loose. Fixed at home in less than a minute!

Passenger side window seal has shrunk slightly -- some water ingress occurs during heavy rain (or jet-washing!). Should be a very cheap fix.

Runs hot in traffic.

General Comments:

This car is superb. I am fortunate to have one of the later Mark 1 Golfs that seem to be better protected against rust, and generally better sealed against the elements. If you are considering a Golf GTi of this era, I would recommend against buying an early one: they seem to suffer more from rust-related issues.

The handling of this car is truly astonishing. Its low weight (840kg) and low centre of gravity result in an exhilarating ride along any twisty road. The suspension can become crashy on particularly poorly-surfaced roads, but the chassis very rarely loses composure under these (or indeed any) circumstances. The car is also extremely good in town. I commute into London most days and the small size and agility of the car are major advantages. Things can get a bit noisy on the motorway; this car is certainly able to do long trips, but it's not an ideal motorway car in terms of comfort.

Bottom-end pull is very good in all gears. The torque curve seems smoothly distributed across the rev range of the engine and the power band is usefully situated. It's very good up to about 90mph, but acceleration falls off fairly rapidly above this speed.

If you look after a Mark 1 Golf GTi then it will look after you. It's important to have it regularly serviced -- this seems to be amazingly cheap, probably because the car uses the same parts as a lot of other Volkswagens.

Overall, this is an eager and playful car -- it is a hoot to drive. I get about 35mpg on average; this includes some fast driving and some commuting. I'd thoroughly recommend it as a cheap introduction to performance motoring.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th January, 2002

1982 Volkswagen Golf Mk1 GTi 1.8 8V from Singapore


Reliable, cheap high performance car


Since owning it, I had to change the steering rack and CV joints (at 200,000). Normal 5000 - 7500 km servicing. Probably need to change brake discs and pads at 240,000km.

General Comments:

The car is an absolute delight to drive. Handles like a go kart and with the high power to weight ratio, the car can take on a BMW 320 & a Honda Vtec with ease. Next acquisition; a Mk3 VR6 or a Mk4 1.8T (but a little too expensive).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th May, 2000