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    Thread: Ten Years Ago I left a note on a Mk2 Golf...

    1. Member Jettaboy1884's Avatar
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      03-08-2019 06:42 PM #1
      I'm not a great story teller but here goes:

      Ten years ago I was a field sales rep for a small company in NJ. I was recently married and bought a house, and had been into Mk1/Mk2 VW's for a while. While visiting a customer I spotted a rough-looking Mk2 Golf in the parking lot, so as any enthusiast would I left a note on it offering to buy. Oddly enough, I mentioned in the note to contact me even if it were many years later, or if the car got damaged (I envisioned parting it out)...

      Life went on, and I now have two kids, a different job, different house, but luckily the same cell phone and email address!

      I get a voicemail & email a few weeks ago from the owner, calling me on my note to see if I'm still interested. I went to check it the next day completely unsure what to expect, and found a rather neglected looking Golf. I met the owner who is a very nice lady and happens to be the owner of the business as well. The car has a lot of sentimental value to her as it was given to her ~ 20 years ago by a patient. I spent some time poking around and it was in surprisingly good shape underneath. I found a couple of rust holes, with the most concerning one on the driver side rocker...

      After checking it over we talked and I explained that the car was worth maybe $500, but solid enough and definitely worth fixing to an enthusiast. Unfortunately I have a Cabriolet project and other responsibilities and couldn't take it on. I offered to help find someone who would fix it up, and she was keen on it not going to a scrap yard or get parted out...

      Fast-forward a couple of weeks, I stayed in touch by email and was about to connect her with a potential buyer when she offered to give me the car if I were to fix it up myself and not scrap it !

      Needless to say, I accepted her offer and picked it up yesterday.

      It's a 1985 Golf and appears to be a base model: 5-speed, no power steering, no sunroof, 13" steel wheels, and no front door speakers... It does have AC though. It came from Texas, but spent the last ~20 years in NJ and had a paintjob at some point.

      For now, I'll call it "Old Blue" unless my daughters decide on something else...

      Here's how I found it, quite dirty but the body looks straight with only a few dings:









      The dash is cracked and the headliner crumbles a little every time I touch it:



      Here's the worst I have found so-far. The rest of the rocker seems pretty solid though:



      There's some rust on the rear arch, which is typical. I bet it would be much worse if this car had the plastic flares:

      Last edited by Jettaboy1884; 03-08-2019 at 06:58 PM.

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    3. Member vwpiloto's Avatar
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      03-08-2019 07:36 PM #2
      That's a great story! I love how she trusts you to not part the car out. Hopefully you can find the time to get it back into good shape.

      I know the feeling of having a car be given to you by someone out of goodwill and trust that you'll do right by it. In my case it was in much much better condition, but over the 19 years I've had it, I've sunk thousands into it and can't part with it due to sentimental value.

    4. Geriatric Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      03-08-2019 09:42 PM #3
      That’s a great story and yeah, I’d love one just like it.

      Do you have a game plan yet? GTI light? Period correct mods? Bone stock restoration? Stop the rust and preserve it as is?


      Good luck with the project!
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
      Proletariat, Bourgeoise - Everybody smellin' my potpourri...

    5. Planters (fasciitis) peanuts. Dang dogg Sold Over Sticker's Avatar
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      03-08-2019 10:21 PM #4
      Awesome story!
      Driving While Awesome Podcast. Give it a listen.
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    6. Member Lifelong Obsession's Avatar
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      03-08-2019 10:26 PM #5
      Awesome!

    7. Junior Member Pulaski53's Avatar
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      03-08-2019 11:51 PM #6
      Glad to see one of these still around. I had a similar car 20 years ago (4-door, silver over grey, no A/C). I miss its fun and simplicity.

    8. Senior Member UncleJB's Avatar
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      03-09-2019 06:41 AM #7
      Very cool. Rust doesn't look horrible from the pics. The worst rust I always found on MK2 cars was under the factory undercoating on the bottom of the car. Make sure you check out the bottom, maybe take out the interior for cleaning and give a good look at the floor pans.

      In for progress updates!

    9. Member Jettaboy1884's Avatar
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      03-09-2019 10:30 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by vwpiloto View Post
      That's a great story! I love how she trusts you to not part the car out. Hopefully you can find the time to get it back into good shape.

      I know the feeling of having a car be given to you by someone out of goodwill and trust that you'll do right by it. In my case it was in much much better condition, but over the 19 years I've had it, I've sunk thousands into it and can't part with it due to sentimental value.

      Thanks! Yes, it's going to be a project but I'm committed to bringing it back. Thankfully, I do have time and space for it. As I've gotten older and busy with work & family, I have learned the benefit of having more time to plan and research. When I was younger I had a habit of tearing into cars too far and losing interest. It's better that I got this car now, and not ten years ago.


      Quote Originally Posted by Air and water do mix View Post
      That’s a great story and yeah, I’d love one just like it.

      Do you have a game plan yet? GTI light? Period correct mods? Bone stock restoration? Stop the rust and preserve it as is?

      Good luck with the project!
      Thanks! Here's the priorities:

      1. Get the engine running. I'm told it ran well when parked in the Fall. It cranks over and has spark, but I am not getting fuel to the distributor. I hear the fuel pumps, and am hoping the issue is frozen fuel lines as the weather has barely gotten above freezing recently and the car was sitting for several months.

      2. Once the weather breaks, I'll do a deep clean on the interior & exterior to see what I'm working with and ID missing trim pieces, etc. to buy. I peeled back the driver seat cover and see it's trashed underneath, so I'll be on the lookout for seats.

      3. Tune up engine, change oil, trans fluid, Seafoam, new filters, etc. Evaluate whether I'm keeping the CIS or using a bike carb setup that I built for my Cabriolet.

      4. Dig into the rust spots, clean them out and figure out what I can repair, or shop out to a professional. Ideally, I'd like to make the car look nice enough to drive around this summer and not look so rough. I might do a quick rattlecan paintjob.

      I do want to go with a "GTI Light" on performance and upgrades, I'm not into slamming these cars. Suspension, brakes, wheels/tires, exhaust, will all get upgraded as funds permit. I've always been a naturally aspirated 8v guy and have a couple of ABA motors laying around.


      Quote Originally Posted by UncleJB View Post
      Very cool. Rust doesn't look horrible from the pics. The worst rust I always found on MK2 cars was under the factory undercoating on the bottom of the car. Make sure you check out the bottom, maybe take out the interior for cleaning and give a good look at the floor pans.

      In for progress updates!
      On initial inspection it seems the floors and seams are pretty solid. But yes, I know that pulling back the carpet on any Mk2 can be very revealing. I’m a little nervous to do so, but will have to check it out. I was happy to see that the strut towers and suspension mounting points all seem to be in good shape.

      Looking at a few other Mk2 threads, it seems the floor pans are available, which is reassuring. I don’t want to have to do a lot of rust repair, but will do what it takes to make the car solid.

    10. Member Jettaboy1884's Avatar
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      03-09-2019 10:55 AM #9
      Part of getting my Wife on board with this was letting go of my Cabriolet project. I'm selling it to a friend as a rolling shell, and I'll be keeping the engine which has a bike carb setup that's almost running...


    11. Senior Member UncleJB's Avatar
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      03-09-2019 11:09 AM #10
      Sounds like you have a good plan. Also love that I am not the only one storing stuff on my Cabbys soft top.

    12. 03-09-2019 11:18 AM #11
      From one recent free car recipient to another, congratulations! I look forward to following your progress with this new family member.

      Dempsey Bowling
      Sales Consultant at Doug Smith Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep/Ram/Subaru/Kia/used
      My fleet: 91 Miata (5.0L swap project), 98 Wrangler Sport, 01 Suburban 2500 8.1L, 80 Grand Prix LJ 454, 97 Metro, 86 GLHS #75

    13. Geriatric Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      03-09-2019 02:16 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by TurboMinivan View Post
      From one recent free car recipient to another, congratulations! I look forward to following your progress with this new family member.

      Ha! I was thinking of your project when I read about this one, too!

      I’m looking forward to the progress on both.


      I like the Golf plan. I’m looking forward to videos with sound to hear the glorious carb intake noise.
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
      Proletariat, Bourgeoise - Everybody smellin' my potpourri...

    14. Senior Member Iroczgirl's Avatar
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      03-09-2019 03:26 PM #13
      Nice story. That should fix up rather well.
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    15. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      03-09-2019 03:45 PM #14
      nice that should clean up really well

    16. Member wb4yye's Avatar
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      03-09-2019 05:45 PM #15
      I love mark 2 Golfs. I had one until a cell phone user in a huge Buick rear-ended me.

      Question. As I recall the standard engines on the '85 Golfs were diesel. I worked at an Audi dealership at the time. Is this a senior moment or was that the case?

    17. Member Jettaboy1884's Avatar
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      03-11-2019 07:25 AM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by TurboMinivan View Post
      From one recent free car recipient to another, congratulations! I look forward to following your progress with this new family member.

      Thanks, I saw your thread recently and that's an amazing story! Very cool car, and glad to see it's with the right person.


      Quote Originally Posted by wb4yye View Post
      I love mark 2 Golfs. I had one until a cell phone user in a huge Buick rear-ended me.

      Question. As I recall the standard engines on the '85 Golfs were diesel. I worked at an Audi dealership at the time. Is this a senior moment or was that the case?
      I don't think the standard base engine was ever a diesel, though they were common. Mine has the Gas 1.8L 8v. I haven't cleaned off the code yet, but not being a GTI it will likely be a low compression version with the smaller intake/exhaust valves.

    18. Member Chockomon's Avatar
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      03-11-2019 07:43 AM #17
      Nice save!

      If you want to replace the beat up wheels, I've got a set of 13" steel wheels in my garage you can have!
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    19. Junior Member Zembla's Avatar
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      03-11-2019 08:19 AM #18
      I'm looking forward to seeing how the restoration goes. I learned to drive in one of these and spent a few years using it after. Great little car. Ours was a 1.6 NA diesel, didn't have a lot of torque, but wasn't too thirsty and reliably got us around. Built like a tank. Quite amused to learn AC was an option on these. Ours was a 1985 model.
      Last edited by Zembla; 03-11-2019 at 11:58 AM. Reason: Apparently it was a 1.6 not a 1.7 diesel.
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    20. Member KingUnderpants's Avatar
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      03-11-2019 09:05 AM #19
      That is awesome, looks like a fun project.

    21. Senior Member
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      03-11-2019 09:10 AM #20
      Nice! Great score!

      13s? My Mk. I 1983 Rabbit L came with 13-inch wheels that look like those. 155/80R-13 tires. It was $100 out-the-door with a great set of all-season Gislaved tires in the 1980s.

      The damn little clips that go on the wheels to pop the center caps on keep breaking.

    22. Senior Member
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      03-11-2019 09:12 AM #21
      I'll be darned …

      https://www.classicmotormuseum.org/

      Expected that it was some museum that closed 30 years ago.

    23. Member Surf Green's Avatar
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      03-11-2019 09:26 AM #22
      That brings back memories. 1985 Golf. No Trim Level Edition. Bomb proof Brazilian steel wheels. The 13's were 175/70R13. 205/60R13's did fit.



      Mine had no place for door speakers either, but a jigsaw, glue and wrinkle paint took care of that.
      I keep up with traffic with only 90 hp. What's your superpower?
      2002 Golf Wagon TDI, 195k - 2007 Fuji Heavy Industries WRB WRX Wagon, 115k
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      Grammatical and spelling errors may be intentional

    24. Senior Member
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      03-11-2019 09:50 AM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Surf Green View Post
      That brings back memories. 1985 Golf. No Trim Level Edition. Bomb proof Brazilian steel wheels …
      Loved my '83 Rabbit L. No options. 4 speed, 1.7-L engine. Roll-up windows. Rear windows didn't open. No sunroof. No A/C.

      Had a carb. That comment usually gets folks on here saying I'm wrong.

      The 13" steelies above are different form mine ...

      https://forums.vwvortex.com/showthre...-1983-Rabbit-L

      Quote Originally Posted by Surf Green View Post
      … Bomb proof Brazilian steel wheels. The 13's were 175/70R13. 205/60R13's did fit …
      My '87 GTI 16v came with 205/55-14s. Couldn't get those for my last set, so had to go to 185/60-14.
      Last edited by Cooper; 03-11-2019 at 09:52 AM.

    25. Member Surf Green's Avatar
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      2 Manuel Turbo Wagons... One is incredibly slow.
      03-11-2019 09:56 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Cooper View Post
      The 13" steelies above are different form mine ...
      They were different than most of the 13's you'll find from that era. I have a side shot of mine with the same wheels as the OP, but I can't find it.
      6 slots, and the steel was extremely thick. Same stupid hub covers that fall off if you fart tho.
      I keep up with traffic with only 90 hp. What's your superpower?
      2002 Golf Wagon TDI, 195k - 2007 Fuji Heavy Industries WRB WRX Wagon, 115k
      Past: 1996 Surf Green GTI VR6 - 1985 Golf 1.8L - No Trim Level Edition

      Grammatical and spelling errors may be intentional

    26. Geriatric Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      03-11-2019 09:57 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by Cooper View Post
      Loved my '83 Rabbit L. No options. 4 speed, 1.7-L engine. Roll-up windows. Rear windows didn't open. No sunroof. No A/C.

      Had a carb. That comment usually gets folks on here saying I'm wrong.
      You're not wrong, and it was a Holley!
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
      Proletariat, Bourgeoise - Everybody smellin' my potpourri...

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