1989 Volkswagen Golf Manhattan 1.3 from Spain
Okay, it is high mileage, but after 1 month of owning it, the head gasket gives up, oil and water mixture, huge Formula-1 style smoking trail. Rubbish.
Despite fairly muscular looks and fat tyres, the handling is vague and sloppy.
Brakes are dire.
A pretty old car with good looks and good body work for the year, but the engine...
... is a waste of time. Way too small (and they even made a smaller one???!!!) to cart its body around.
Despite the fact that basically this car is rubbish, I couldn't help feeling a little affection for it when it looked at you with its little round headlights, like a kitten wanting some milk. But then... Then the oil went where the water should go, and the water where the oil should go, and then both where the exhaust should go... dog.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 13th July, 2007
17th Aug 2009, 12:08
An update on this... firstly July 2007 was when I did this entry. I'm guessing by the tone of my review this cannot have been long after the engine went bang and let go all over the place. Well here I am 2 years and 1 month later (bloody hell, embarrassing actually) and I still have the car. It's even moved house with me. In all that time I have managed to remove the head and replace it again (last weekend finally got around to starting to put it back together).
Now it needs new dizzy cap and rotor arm, plugs, leads, manifold gaskets, jubilee clips, carb cleaned - think that's about it! Then it'll be the big day when it gets started again - then I'll realise the block is cracked or something instead of it being the head gasket!!
More to follow...
16th Nov 2009, 02:58
Okay, the car is now working again. Tip for anyone mending the head gasket in one of these: expect it to be smokey for a bit afterwards, especially if the carb and engine have ingested loads of oil from the breather. Water and oil now remaining separate. Bit of smoke under the bonnet at the moment due to drip-drip leak from fuel filter hose dripping petrol on the head causing a stream of old oily gunk to run onto exhaust. I will get this fixed asap as petrol and hot exhaust don't really go together well!! Otherwise, it's a bit rattly, suspect one tappet is playing up a bit. I will change the water for proper antifreeze this weekend and drop the oil for a final decent fill now its been run for a while.
Drove it for about 10 miles yesterday and I have to say it's an endearing little thing. Low revving engine and surprisingly low torque for such a small power unit. I found myself gathering speed at a decent pace and changing gears at fairly low RPM (I think, it has no tacho). The gearbox is lovely - notchy and light. Brakes need some work. All in all I really enjoyed driving it. It reminds me of the simple love of driving - my fleet is topped at the moment by a 2006 BMW M6 with no clutch (SMG) and paddle shift gears - dare I say this is as much fun to drive, even if not as fast!!