What to look for
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
ALL THE GEAR
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.