By on September 28, 2012

The MkII Scirocco never was considered as mainstream cool in North America as it was in Europe, but a fair number of the things still made it to these shores. Nowadays, of course, many months can go by between MkII Scirocco street sightings. In California junkyards, however, it’s still possible to find Sciroccos in high-turnover wrecking yards. Here’s one that I spotted in the San Francisco Bay Area a few weeks ago.
By 1986, VW was having a tough time competing with the Japanese for the hearts of West Coast buyers of sport compacts, and Chrysler was siphoning away a lot of the remaining shoppers with their inexpensive turbocharged machinery.
This one is a run-of-the-mill 8-valve model, no doubt used as a gas-sipping commuter.
Not quite 200,000 miles, but respectable for a 1980s car.

The Scirocco was one of the better-looking machines of its era, which explains this zero-information advertisement for the ’86.

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37 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1986 Volkswagen Scirocco...”

  • avatar

    I hate to embarrass myself by asking a naive question but here goes…

    Why are all the junkyard cars lifted up on old steel wheels?

    Is it because the original wheels are removed and sold immediately or stocked separately? Is it to make it easier to scavenge parts from underneath? (I’m not sure I’d crawl under one of those cars to do any work.) And where do all the old steel wheels come from? I guess no one buys those and they are only good for recycling.

    • 0 avatar

      A you-pickit junkyard will typically not allow you to bring or use your own jack and jackstands for liability reasons; instead they’ll roll a forklift over and set the car on a stack of used tires or what have you. At least in my experience; this might be a regional thing.

      And, yeah, the OEM alloy wheels get sold quickly.

      edit: also this was how I learned that a car jack is called a “gato” (cat) in Spanish: all the signs saying “NO JACKS/NO GATOS”

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      Here in the southeast the junk yards use old rims as jack stands just like the yards in Murilee’s photos. The cars do look rather precarious perched atop these old rims, but if the rims are positioned properly under the cars this arrangement is very stable and quite safe.

    • 0 avatar

      I asked myself that exact same question the other day. Thanks for the info.

    • 0 avatar

      Murilee Martin I have a couple questions on the scirocco and about the cadillac if you could contact me via e-mail [email protected] i would appreciate it
      Thank You, Dan

  • avatar

    I always liked the way the Scirocco had such a strong resemblance to the Rabbit/Golf of the same generation, yet had a completely coherent design.

  • avatar

    It’s doubtful that the odometer was still working when the car died for whatever reason. I’ve had three 80’s VWs and my mom has had one and every one of them either had a broken odometer or it broke during ownership.

    Oh and go look up one of these things in silver. It looks very much like a DeLorean from the front 1/4 shot.
    The Mk1s were better looking cars IMO.

    • 0 avatar

      I usually DD a Mk1 Scirocco (’81 Scirocco S), and I can attest to the ododmeter issue. My car shows 259k miles, but sometimes it only racks up 2 miles on my 20 mile drive to work. It really makes me wonder how many true miles are on the car.

    • 0 avatar
      Watch Carefully

      I owned 3 Mk Is back in the day (or shortly thereafter)…such balanced machines! My ’78 4-spd was a screamer but the frame rusted (mid-Atlantic states), so I got a ’79 with the 5-spd, which lost 5th gear on a cross-country trek (12k miles in 4 weeks) in ’89. Don’t ever put yourself in the position of NEEDING a replacement transmission for a 10-year old German car in La Jolla, CA. It would have been cheaper to buy a used car for the drive back to the East Coast, but I couldn’t abandon my little VW.

      After falling for the Mk I (upon seeing the TV ads ca. 1975), I could never truly love the Mk II’s due to its lack of round headlamps. Otherwise, with the 16v, it was probably a wonderful car to own.

      VW, please bring the new Scirocco to the USA…including a diesel one.

  • avatar

    Actually , 90 % of all the wheels in junkyards get recycled .

    I’m one of those few who’s always ‘ On The Hunt ‘ for some oddball stock wheel , be it alloy or steelie .

    The cars are supported thusly so folks can get underneath them and remove parts but not get squashed , of course , they don’t hire anyone who can think so I often have to push the vehicle off the damn stands to access some chassis part they set it down on .

    These cars , although a sister to the sturdy & well designed Rabbit , were derided as ” girls cars” back when new , I imagine it was the styling , few ever came near my VW Shop .

    I dated a Lady from Jamaica who’d found a Diesel Sirocco , she was in love with it and kept it until she died , it never missed a beat and gave close to 40 MPG in her daily commute .


    • 0 avatar

      They may have been called girls cars but they weren’t marketed that way:

      (starts at the 4:12 mark)

      Perhaps Herr Schmidt can described the Scirocco marketing strategy.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve known dozens of girls with VW Cabrios or Jettas. I’ve known plenty of people that had first generation Sciroccos, often multiples after wrecking the first few. All of them were men. I looked at a 16V Scirocco when my girlfriend totaled my Jetta. She hated it and didn’t want me to buy it, not that I was in a mood to listen to her.

      • 0 avatar

        Ditto on that, most of the girls around here (North County San Diego/Temecula)drive Jettas (from ’99 up)though the GLI’s are driven by dudes, also younger girls drive the 1st gen Scion TC and the Corolla ‘S’ model.

  • avatar

    The second gen Scirocco was one of the few affordable cars I lusted after as a kid, but never managed to get my hands on. But Murilee is bang on–following a stream of Japanese sport compacts, in 1986 I was driving a 2.2 Turbo Chrysler G-body.

  • avatar

    While on tour in Germany, I bought an ’88 Scirocco GT 4spd from a local mechanic in Friedberg. Being a proper German motor it came with 16″ mag wheels with summer meat on them and a set of VW rims with winter tires. It was already 13 years old, but had only 75K Km on the odo; Ferrari red with the dual whale tail spoiler across the rear hatch and aftermarket chin spoiler in the front. As it only had four gears, I could do 160 KmH on the Autobahn for hours at 6200 rpm and still get about 30 mpg. Absolutely the most fun to drive; the engine wasn’t much, 57 Kw is what the manual said, but it was so low and wide that it was extremely tossable and utterly planted.

    Love this car. Absolutely would line up at the dealership like a 45 year nerd waiting for the next Star Wars movie to buy a Scirocco if VeeDub finally figures out there’s a market in North America for it.

  • avatar

    I’m a fan of the Corrado which replaced the Scirocco in the US during the late 80s and into the mid 90s. With its VR6 and pop-up rear spoiler it was amazing car at the time. A buddy had one in yellow and at the time is was damn quick for a FWD hatchback.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, the Corrado SLC VR6 was a great car and pretty much blew everything away in it’s class. Alas it was too expensive so most people bought Preludes or Celicas instead.

      • 0 avatar

        They bought a lot of Diamond-Stars and Probes too. The Corrado had serious quality issues and mouse-operated seat belts. AutoWeek long term tested an SLC and said it was coming apart at the seams after a year. I was paying attention because I wanted one until reading that review.

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        Yeah I remember looking at a VR6 Corrado in, I think, the late 80s. Really liked it but thought it was too expensive.

  • avatar

    Between the famous German quality of the 80’s and being from the land where potholes and rust were invented, Cleveland Ohio. I have never actually seen one on the road.

  • avatar

    I had an ’87. Not a lot of power but extremely reliable. I replaced a lot of parts at 150k simply because I didn’t think they could possibly last that long, probably threw a lot of perfectly good parts away. Only issues were I had a hard time finding a quality clutch cable that wouldn’t saw through its jacket and the shift linkage had an awful lot of fiddly bushings & washers that could wear and make shifting difficult. Also you had to close the center dash vents if you wanted any air to come out the defrosters.

  • avatar

    I had two friends in college who owned one of these and they were really fun to drive around.

    It’s a shame that this one is in the JY – one Maaco paint job and a tuneup (plus maybe a clutch & some half-shafts) and it would be out on the road for another ten years.

  • avatar

    When I was a little, I remember our neighbors having a red MkII Scirocco along with a similar vintage GTI. To a car obsessed 5 year old, they were about the coolest people ever. Can’t remember the last time I saw one on the road, has to be about a decade now.

  • avatar

    I had a ’77 model that I bought used and dearly loved and always lusted after the S model but could never find a clean used one. Much later I ended up buying a 16V model new and, while it certainly didn’t have the looks of the 1st generation cars, it was a sweet runner. I always imagined it was my discount version of a 944.

    Good times….

  • avatar

    My brother had a ’78 Scirocco, his first car, bought second-hand. Had a non-functioning aftermarket A/C unit, and custom exhaust tip so the car made a vroom-vroom sound. Not a lot of power, you had to rev it a bit to get some acceleration, but fun to drive and tossable. Had that funky front single winshield wiper.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Back in the late 80’s I looked at a Mk 1 Scirocco. Nice ride, reasonably priced, basically a sporty Golf with Italian styling but reliability made me leery especially since my dad had a bad experience with a mid-70’s Dasher. I went for a 1st generation Prelude instead and had few regrets.

    But the MkII for some reason they were popular with the female demographic along with the Cabrio and the Eos.

  • avatar

    This one appears to be an 85 judging by the rear spoiler that wraps around the hatch. The engine would have been the same as the GTI a 1.8L 90 hp 8 valve. The 82 and 83 came with the 1.7L 74 hp.
    In 86 VW would come out with the outstanding 1.8L 16V with an impressive for the time 123hp

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Even then, I and several others in the local group were bitching about updated automobiles becoming heavier than their predecessors. Most of the island faithful remained with their Mark I Sciroccos, although one of them eventually ordered the twincam and one of everything from the Oettinger catalog.

  • avatar

    This might be my old car. Makes me sad to see it in this kind of shape! It’s definitely a 1986–you can tell by the fact that it has the third brake light at the top of the back window (a feature that wasn’t included on the CA model ’85s). I donated mine to Father Joe’s Villages in San Diego back in 1999, when it had just over 100K miles on it. Wish I had never gotten rid of it, now. Morbidly curious which junkyard this one is in if you’re able to say. Thanks!

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