What to look for

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

in­SiDE LinE

In­te­rior trim is gen­er­ally hard-wear­ing, but prob­lems arise from wa­ter ingress into the cabin; com­mon cul­prits in­clude bulk­head grom­mets, sun­roof drain tubes and the seals for the rear lights, hatch and boot lock. The leaks lead to damp carpets and wa­ter stains on the door cards. If left, con­den­sa­tion will get ev­ery­where, wreak­ing havoc. Re­place­ment pan­els and seats are scarce for the GL, GTi and GTX, but the tar­tan chairs of later cars are plen­ti­ful. If you do find some, ex­pect to pay £200 for a de­cent in­te­rior or £40 for a good par­cel shelf. Al­ter­na­tively you could buy a tatty used in­te­rior and can­ni­balise it for re­pair pan­els; a trim­mer will charge around £60 to splice in a seat bol­ster panel.

hOLE in OnE

The newer the car, the less rusty it’s likely to be. Scru­ti­nise the sills, whee­larches, front valances and lead­ing edge of the bon­net for holes, along with the mount­ings for the rear axle and sus­pen­sion. Most Sciroc­cos have a body kit which can hide cor­ro­sion, so look for ev­i­dence of rust be­hind the plas­tic. Some­times cars are jacked up us­ing the sills rather than the cor­rect jack­ing points, so check for panel dam­age. Most pan­els are avail­able new, now that Volk­swa­gen is pro­duc­ing them again.

bRAK­ing POint

The Scirocco’s brakes are usu­ally fine as long as they are prop­erly and reg­u­larly main­tained, which means fresh fluid ev­ery two years and prop­erly ad­justed rear drums. How­ever, there’s a link­age be­tween the brake pedal and the servo on right-hand drive Sciroc­cos, be­cause it was orig­i­nally en­gi­neered for left-hand drive. The var­i­ous joints can loosen or wear over time, so it all needs to be kept prop­erly ad­justed and lu­bri­cated, oth­er­wise the brakes will feel gen­er­ally rub­bish.

by thE LEFt

The bulk­head can crack through con­stant flex­ing where the clutch ca­ble passes through. A stick-on re­pair panel is avail­able for around £10, but it’s prefer­able to use a cut-down Golf MkI item in­stead be­cause it’s a con­sid­er­ably bet­ter fit.

hAn­DLing ChARgE

Woolly steer­ing is usu­ally down to worn top mounts in the front sus­pen­sion; re­place­ments are £32 per pair. A worn steer­ing rack and tired sus­pen­sion bushes also lead to vague steer­ing; re­place­ment racks are £64 and a com­plete set of Pow­er­flex bushes is around £300. Per­ished rear axle lo­ca­tion bushes, which form the pivot point for the rear sus­pen­sion, cause a rear-wheel steer­ing ef­fect and a knock­ing noise. Ex­pect to pay £50 for re­place­ment bushes; it’s best to have more durable Pow­er­flex polyurethane items fit­ted while you’re at it.


Electrics are gen­er­ally re­li­able if the cabin hasn’t got damp, the sole ex­cep­tion be­ing the elec­tric win­dow switches – al­though most cars have man­ual winders any­way. The fuse­box sits be­low the glove­box; if wa­ter gets in it’ll wreak havoc with ev­ery­thing. New and used ones are avail­able.


Most Sciroc­cos have a four- or fivespeed man­ual trans­mis­sion, in­clud­ing a ‘4+E’ item with an over­drive top gear. All are tough, but sec­ond-gear syn­chros wear. A gear­box re­build is £300-350, but de­cent used trans­mis­sions are closer to £50 – all man­u­als are in­ter­change­able. Oil seep­ing from the gear­box means that a re­build is due. The first sign of prob­lems will be a very noisy top gear or pop­ping out of fifth, be­cause this is the first ra­tio to run dry.


UK buy­ers could choose from 1457cc, 1588cc (then 1595cc) or 1781cc en­gines. UK en­gines are all part of the same VW ‘big-block’ fam­ily used in the Golf and Jetta, so they’re in­ter­change­able, though an­cil­lar­ies vary be­tween units. Few 1.5-litre cars are left, while 1.6s are out­num­bered by 1.8-litre cars. All are tough but valve guides wear af­ter 100,000 miles, lead­ing to oil be­ing burned. Bank on pay­ing a spe­cial­ist £350 to re­build the head, or £100 for a DIY job. In­jected cars idle un­evenly if there’s an air leak in the rub­ber in­take boot, which per­ishes and cracks. New

ones cost £40.

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