1988 Volkswagen Polo Coupe S 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland
Indestructible little goer
Blown head gasket at around 57,000 miles.
Windscreen wiper stalk replaced - effects both wipers and lights.
One front suspension top mount replaced at about 90,000 miles.
Driver's door now leaks slightly, needs a membrane replacing I think.
That's it really.
This was the first car I ever owned after a string of very fast motorcycles. With standard, tired suspension it tried to kill me on a regular basis, but fitting Koni dampers and H&R springs transformed the thing's handling - no more wallowing, more like a go-kart. A bit bouncy and light, but very confidence inspiring now.
Brakes are terrible even with Mk 1 Golg GTi ventilated discs fitted.
Engine is willing and can shock supposedly quicker cars. Flat out around 95mph, but getting slowly slower. Acceleration is nippy up to about 60, mainly because it's so light, I think.
Economy okay and servicing costs are low, cabin is tough and the S comes with a sun roof, sports seats, rev counter and other not particularly lavish extras.
Some rust spots now, but terrible neglect over the past five years makes that inevitable.
Also, the rocker cover gasket leaks unless replaced regularly.
Decent storage with the rear seats folded down, though not a huge boot otherwise.
I thrash it, change the oil regularly and it just seems to be indestructible.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th April, 2001
21st May 2001, 12:50
Agreed, fantattic little car, my wiper stalk went on the blink too, but after changing everything from the washer pump to the relays, I saw smoke coming from the switch, which I replaced and then it was fine, peculiar one that.
Had trouble with the cylinder head, but I picked up a good one from the scrapper, with valves and cam shaft for £25.
Watch for leaky master cylinders and rear cylinders, can get very scary.
18th Sep 2004, 07:13
I own a 1989 Coupe S and scarily have had the same problem with the windscreen wiper stalk, and it too turned out to be a switch. I also encountered rather a terrifying problem with the horn one night; it sounded every time I indicated right. The problem grew until it sounded randomly, independently of anything else which put me in some dangerous situations that night. So I disconnected it and was hornless for a month or too; until I discovered the fault to be a loose screw in the horn circuit.
I have also just had to replace a CV joint for the near side wheel, costing £140. This car has been quite problematic for me, but it IS good fun.
Before this I owned a 1984 Polo Coupe from Germany, left hand drive. It was not the equivalent S spec, but because it was built for Germany it had the 1272cc engine and featured servo assisted brakes and was a very very solid car indeed. So there you have it.. buy the German version!