The GTI gets most of the love when it comes to 80's 16 valvers (or at least most of our love). The GLI has long been overshadowed by its cheaper, brasher, little brother but after 30 years, this GLI looks shows that maybe the competition between siblings is closer than we thought.
The 1988 GLI was the top of the line Jetta in the showroom at the time with a 123 HP 1.8 liter 16 valve motor, upgraded suspension, teardrop wheels, and Recaro seats. All that, along with a sunroof, AC, and four wheel ABS brought the cost up to nearly $19,000 which sent many buyers back down to the GTI for their thrills.
This example has only 125,000 (approximate) miles on it and currently resides in Winnipeg after spending most of its life in Southern California. Paint has polished up nicely and the black moulding looks to have survived better than most 30 year old cars.
The current owner put 5,000 miles on it care of just 2 big road trips and picked up the remaining 15k between 2011 and 2013. The car has only seen about 500 summer miles since then and has been stored inside.
The previous owner did a good deal of work including “front struts (and upper bearings), rear shocks (and bumpstops), fuel pump (and pre-pump), fan switch, O2 sensor, fuel filter, brake and upper rad hoses”. The current owner added new tires, brakes all around, CV boots, and a timing belt.
The interior looks great with the Recaro Trophy seats and the seller calls out a few flaws like a cracked dash, a sagging headliner, some coffee stains, and some tint on the windows. A period aftermarket headunit is present along with a modified package tray. A stock package tray and Blaupunkt Heidelberg are included for those trying to get closer to stock.
Other issues include a low idle, slow odometer, and a period car alarm that is draining the battery. All told, not too bad for a 30 year old VW.
This GLI is on offer in Winnipeg, Manitoba for $5,800 care of eBay. The GTI may be the cult car, but for $5,800 we wouldn't mind having its more refined older brother in the garage.
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