By on July 23, 2014

07 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese days, most of the older water-cooled VWs you see in American pull-yer-part wrecking yards are Golf Cabrios and the occasional ancient Malaisewagen. I see a second-gen Scirocco every now and then (the first-gens have long since disappeared from the junkyard ecosystem), and today’s Junkyard Find caught my attention with its distinctively early-80s paint color.
12 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Robert ArmstrongWhen I see a Scirocco of this era, I always think of it as the car that genius cartoonist Robert Armstrong gave his lovable-dirtbag Mickey Rat character when The Man brainwashed him into becoming a solid citizen; a very yuppie machine in its time.
10 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMechanically speaking, the Scirocco didn’t differ much from the Golf. 74 horsepower in 1982 for US-market Sciroccos (which were more fun to drive than that figure suggests).
01 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars aren’t worth much in rough condition, so once one falls into the hands of a city tow-yard or an insurance auction, the junkyard is the likeliest next stop.

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47 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco...”


  • avatar
    Timothy

    Absolutely love those old school VW gauges. So simple and easy to read. Big round clearly marked dials. le sigh.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Very similar to the ones in my previous 5000.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      That is one of the things I liked about my MKV GTI (any MKV Jetta/Golf for that matter). The look of the guages was almost exactly the same as my 86 Audi that I had as my first car.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      And the single turn-signal light.

      “Yes, you are indicating a turn, in one direction or the other.”

      I inherited an ’82 Rabbit, and quite liked its center-stack, particularly that the stereo was at the top and easy to see. It also had a fair bit of pep, though unfortunately it was an auto.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        I had an ’88 Scirocco GT in Germany years back and it had the big light toggle switch that lit red when the headlights were on. Really liked that. Also loved the West German gages with the perfectly fonted Westphalia in teeny lettering in each. Race red with the whale tail and a 75 HP four with four speed manual, lowered 3cms with racing Sommerreifen and tuned suspension for the ‘Ring. Laughable you bet, but it would corner like no other car I have ever driven and would run at 6200 rpms at 160kph for hours quite happily.

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      I miss the look of the VDO gauges from my Mk1 Scirocco and Mk2 Golf.

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        I agree. There was something just so… German… about them. The VDOs in contemporary Porsches looked very similar, and seem right at home in those cars, too. One thing I also really miss is the gas gauge’s accuracy. Most cars, especially today, pander to people’s psychology, where they’re happy to see the gauge stay at near-full forever after they fill up, and then past the halfway mark the level decreases very rapidly. And then it cries wolf about being empty long before it actually is. You know this is done intentionally, because with today’s electronic senders and gauges, it would be easy to make the whole thing linear. This era of VAG gauges – or at least the one in my Jetta – was no-nonsense; half-full was half-full. When the needle touched the red zone, you knew you had precisely an eighth of a tank left. And if you let it touch Empty, there was a good chance you’d be walking soon. No sissy buzzer, chime or “low fuel” light, either. You were just expected to look at the gauge once in awhile and you’d know where you stood.

        I appreciated the useful water temp gauge, too, which featured a white band that represented the zone in which the engine was still warming up. Once out of the white band, according to the owner’s manual, it was go-time to beat on the engine. Again, you knew where you stood.

        And yeah, I enjoyed the “your turn signal is on” single LED, as well.

        • 0 avatar
          mankyman

          Yup. My Passat’s gas gauge is nice and accurate in comparison to every other US car I’ve owned. On the other hand, the Passat reads about 5mph too high on the speedo at 70 mph.

          The Scirocco’s gages all look a lot like my late 1970’s rabbits. Miss those cars. For a kid in the late 1980s they were so much more fun to drive than the post-malaise US cars.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          Interesting note about the fuel gauge. My 350Z’s is spot on, it mirrors the odometer, I get exactly 100 miles per 1/4 tank regardless of which end its on. However my Dakota suffers from the 1/2 to E free fall probelm. Its very annoying trying to figure out fuel stops on long trips because 1/2 a tank will not allow you to double your distance since fill up.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          Yes, the guages in my 85 Jetta were very German…in that they were usually indicating something was wrong with the car.

        • 0 avatar
          PunksloveTrumpys

          Agree 110%.

          In regards to fuel gauges I much prefer the ones which don’t fluctuate as opposed to the others that seem to have hypersensitive fuel senders. Usually the fuel light mimics the gauge’s behavior and flickers/fades on and off depending on very slight changes in your vehicles inclination. Drives me absolutely insane!

          My ’77 Triumph sedan has a fuel gauge which always takes about 20 seconds after turning the ignition on to show the accurate reading, once done it does not fluctuate. The ’80 Mercedes I used to have wasted no time in flinging the gauge to it’s appropriate level (usually somewhere close to ‘E’), but would subsequently flutter about 2mm either way as I drove around. One of the only things I didn’t like about that car come to think…

    • 0 avatar

      Honestly, I don’t think the new ones are any harder to read.

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy

        VW / Audi do a great job with gauges, Chrysler isn’t half bad either. I just really enjoy it when the gauges are “out in the open” and not crammed down a long tunnel making the gauges difficult to see. The gauge faces in the ST are actually easy to read, they are just buried deep within the dash.

        I also loved the gauges in mid 90’s Honda accords. Big round dials in perfect symmetry and very clear markings.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        My 2001 Audi A6 has much better gauges. The Fuel and Temp gauge on that Scirocco don’t blend well to me. They just seem to be forced together. I think even the mongo-sized speedo in my LeSabre works better. And, it looks like something I’ve seen in The Rockford Files!

        I’ll take these any day: http://images.gtcarlot.com/customgallery/interior/51555819.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      VDO gauges, yes. The odometer portion of my ’83 Rabbit GTI quit at 56,993 miles, which made things interesting come annual inspection time as it was the same reading year after year. Also note the headlight switch, which was changed from traditional German rotary knob to the traditional American pull switch. I guess VWoA didn’t trust Americans to figure out such a complicated arrangement. Sigh…

      • 0 avatar
        I_Like_Pie

        Mine stuck at 59,993.

        Funny story that I noticed around 59,900 when I was driving towards Nashville it was about to hit 60k. Which back then was a pretty big deal. It meant that the car was officially over the hill. Once we got to D-10 miles we did a countdown.

        10…..9……8……7……7…..7..7..7
        Damn thing broke while we were watching it count down.

    • 0 avatar
      mikedt

      I remember Consumer Reports dinging VW regularly for only having a single dash indicator that your turn signal was on. They felt it absolutely necessary that you be informed as to whether the right or the left blinker was activated. I could never understand that – and I had 3 VWs with that setup. I just turned the indicator on, do I need the dash to remind me which direction I was turning?

      • 0 avatar
        Brian P

        Lots of motorcycles only have a single indicator, too – “a turn signal is on”. In a car, you should easily be able to tell by the position of the stalk. On a bike, often the front indicators are visible when sitting on the bike.

  • avatar
    MK

    I had a ’78 that I had bought from a friend after he tweaked the right front suspension sliding into a curb in the snow/ice.
    I put it back together with some parts from a 77 rabbit we had in the back field and it was a great college car for a year or two. (Even hooning it up in muddy fields and dirt roads due its relatively high ground clearance with high profile tires).

    Strangely it had some of the most comfortable and supportive seats I’ve sat in.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    A friend had the Wolfsburg edition – probably an 85. it was comfortable – but not much headroom. Also, it felt a lot faster than its horsepower numbers would suggest.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I like that paint color! It looks nice and metallic, and much newer than 1982 – and I’m not generally a fan of green paint colors. The 90s and the Grand Cherokee ruined green for me.

  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    Doesn’t the pink paint on the engine indicate it was a cash for clunkers victim?

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    I never could adjust to the styling of these; compared to the 1st generation they always appeared to be suffering from hydrocephalus.

    Though the writing was on the wall for stamped steelies in the 80s, there were still a few good looking designs being created as evinced by the wheels on this one.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    The 16V and the Callaway turbo seem to be the only 2nd gen Sciroccos of interest. Without the extra power the sharper 1st gen styling wins out.
    I can see the yuppie image since in the late 80s my cousins had a pair of 16V Sciroccos as company cars, replacing their old E21 BMWs. The noteworthy bit, besides their liking the VWs a l ot was that one had a sunroof and one didn’t since one was over 6′ tall and one wasn’t. As a poor college kid, I drove 1st gen Sciroccos at the time, although I did test drive an 82 but blaked at the price and bought an 81 with a 16V conversion instead.

  • avatar

    And this must have been the extent of Volkswagen’s foray into the wedge-shaped culture of the ’80s. I believe my great aunt had one of these at some point, possibly in the early nineties. She’s always driven Volkswagens and currently has a Mk4 Jetta that she plans to keep until the wheels fall off of it…

  • avatar

    We need more cars with plaid interiors.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    Interesting, junked exactly 2 miles short of 120K. I wonder if there is any significance to that.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Yea, the last owner was broke a-s and the car got towed after he drunkenly left it in a no parking zone in some city somewhere, or something like that. If he was intoxicated enough or was a total Neanderthal who knows what this poor car went through before that.

    Undignified end to a once great vehicle. I remember when these were new back in ’82. They were sparkling and pretty, and good cars for the day. Cheaper than a Supra, 280ZX or Z28/TA. Way better than the Honda Qualude, which was still in its old boxy Gen I style in ’82.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They were cheaper than the Supra, 280ZX, or Z28 because it was a class down, FWD, with a much smaller engine, and entirely less sporty. The Scirocco was not competing with those vehicles. Only the Prelude.

      • 0 avatar
        seanx37

        That is funny to me. My father had 2 Scirocco’s. A 76, that was great until the paint fell off. In great sheets. Just fell off. Then he had an 81, which looked great. But was a steaming pile of crap. Then he had 3 Preludes in a row. 83,87, and 90s. I got the 87 when he was done with it. It replaced the 82 Prelude that I had. Although I kept the 82 around as a backup car for 20 years.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Depends on how you define down. These may have been FWD but their purity, simplicity and light weight made them in many ways better than those bigger and heavier three, which I’d call “GT” cars (even though in ’82 they weren’t the bloated monstrosities they eventually became).

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Is that the original steering wheel?

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      I can tell you that is the wheel from 85 vintage VW’s so it is possible.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      It sure is. VW of the era, Jetta, Golf also used this wheel.

      Back in the early 90’s I looked at a 1st generation Scirocco for sale. It was decent but I was leery about the reliability. Found a 1st generation Prelude instead which was reliable and fun. It suited me fairly well but my 6’2″ frame found it to be a bit tight so I sold it for a profit, no less. 1st car I every made money on.
      Went for a 87 T-Bird and had no regrets for several years of reliable use.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    The Scirocco is forever etched into my automotive DNA. The first experience I had as a kid at a new car dealer was when my mother traded in the 76 Corolla for an 85 Jetta. There was a Scirocco on the showroom floor that I thought was the coolest car I had ever seen (I was like 9 at the time). The place was also a Mazda dealer and on the many follow up trips to that dealership for all manners of service I was introduced to the RX-7 and eventually the Miata but I always retain a soft spot dor that red, 85 Scirocco which would have looked much cooler coming off the tow truck than the Jetta ever did.

  • avatar
    KevinC

    Here’s what a clean 16v looks like.. I owned this car for 10 years, selling it shortly after this was snapped in ’08…

    http://www.kcphotodump.net/Cars/Scirocco-16V/i-rPHhfZh/0/X2/DSCN1893-X2.jpg

    These are great cars will all kinds of character. Very few clean examples left nowadays.

  • avatar
    John

    In real life Mickey rode a knucklehead.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    In the 1990s I bought a guy’s show-quality ’82 (first year of the big wedge) – my childhood dream car. Gloss black with black leather interior, and manual steering for actual road feel. Dude had given it limo tint and dead-sexy Rial 5-spokes…which rubbed every time the car hit a bump, due to their width and the fact dude had lowered the car by cutting the stock springs. Car erupted in black smoke soon after. “Not vurth doing rings,” said my German car mechanic. So I gave it a new GTI motor instead. And Techtonics exhaust from downpipe to tip. And a set of H & R springs (and Boge Turbo TS shocks) that ended the bottoming-out and corrected the nose- up stance the wedge Scirocco had in the US (due to bumper height regs). And a Euro grille with giant H4 headlights. And a great stereo. And power remote locks. Everyone assumed it was new, and expensive. It was a sweetheart – but even the GTI motor didn’t make it fast.

  • avatar
    bufguy

    I prefer the Mk1, I own the last year, an 81 Scirocco S…mint


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