The Scirocco was a stylish hit in the 1970's. Italian design with German economical manufacturing. Very cool in the 1970's and 1980's. Now Cool again in retro style. This is a extremely light car. It can out handle most cars on the road in stock form. With aftermarket suspension and bigger tires, it corners like a racecar.
The Scirocco uses many of the same parts as other VW models. Rabbit, GTI, Golf, Jetta, and older Passat parts bolt right on. Parts are still commonly available and very inexpensive. This car makes a great car for building a "tuner", and SCCA race car, or Mini-stock oval track racer. By far the VW Scirocco is the best value for handling. Cars can be found for under $1000us.
The Scirocco is cheap economy car. Today they are prone to rust. Inside door panels and under fenders rust will eat itself from the inside out. The rubber parts will be rotted. Replacing them will be hard because window trim is no longer manufactured. I combatted this by cleaning and clear coating over them. This gives it a wet look. Rubberised undercoating car be sprayed on to prevent further rust.
The seating postion is low, and sporty. Like a Ferrari. Gauges are analog dials, also simalar style to a European sportscar. The dashboard is designed for very easy maintainance. The interior can be removed with a phillips screwdriver.
The engine is an exciting fast revving 1.6L. If you like vintage sportscars like Lotus, Alfa, or 1960's Ferrari the Scirocco has the spirit without the cost. Stock they are about 70hp. The 1988 1.8L is a common and easy swap. These engines are under $500 and double the horsepower. 1990's 2.0L Golf engines aren't quite as sporty, but offer street usable power and long engine life.
The 1970's (MKI or type 56) had a 4 speed transmission. I recommend installing a 5speed. The one in my car is from a diesel and keeps the engine at low RPMs at legal speeds.
I've owned two Sciroccos. My 1978 was owned by a Mechanic. The motor blew a head gasket in the first week. I was 21, and drove it hard. It had over 125,000 miles on it. I paid $500 for it in 1998. We had it loaded with camping and snowboarding gear for three people. It was WAY over loaded. I never got around to replacing it and disassembled the car completely in hopes to build a "tuner". I ended up giving it away to a member of my VW club.
The head gasket is something you can get to. All parts, including new engines are very common and cheap. Rabbit, late model Scirocco, and some Passat motors can be swapped out to make a VERY fast sports car. Ebay has parts for these cars as well as 100's of specialty parts manufacturers that still exist. On MSN and yahoo there are clubs and mailing lists. A VW club annual drive or BBQ are always fun. The people are laid back, fun, good people.
My Second VW was a 1977. I found it in one of my buddies teachers barns. He had perfectly maintained the car. It had always been garaged. It was Painted Pearl Coral, but sunbleached to a alley vomit color. In 2003 we painted it with 2003 Audi "Thundercloud Metallic Pearl". From a distance it appears to be the same color as duct tape. I put all the performance parts from the 1978 on the 1977. The only difference on the two is the front turn signals. I found a Zender full body kit on ebay for $500. Brakes from 1980's Scirocco's 16 valve motors fit. These brakes stop like a racecar. My brakes are painted red to give a performance look. Honda, Nissan, and Toyota 4x100mm rims fit.
With All accessories and parts put into this car it cost my under $2000. It feels like a true performance machine. The early Scirocco and VW GTI offer the best value for performance for the money.