I was broke during my early 20s and transportation options were pretty limited. My Honda Prelude was starting a downward spiral and to keep it running was going to exceed its value. Due to my income from Blockbuster Video, close to minimum wage, my car budget was low and I opted for reliability, as opposed to speed, style and comfort.
A friend was selling his 1987 Volkswagen Jetta at a solid price and I took out a loan from Redwood Credit Union, car payment was $95.00 a month, to buy it. It was in good shape, the owner was meticulous, but had nil amenities. Manual transmission, base engine, no power steering, and no A/C. A truly spartan car, but it had a great stereo and ran better than the Prelude.
It was my daily driver for the next five-years. Never flashy; it was solid, reliable and never left me stranded. It was dreadfully slow, I had a few instances of going up hill in first-gear, but it always got me where I needed to go. But time eventually caught up to my Jetta. The window seals went first and I have some foul memories of a leaky windshield that led me to drive with a towel handy. The engine seemed more anemic as the mileage added up, and I probably cut the clutch’s life short after learning to drive stick with the VW.
Eventually it was time to put the Jetta out to pasture with unknown mileage, the odometer went on strike during my ownership, but I estimated it had approximately 200,000 miles.
It served me well and I still dig Volkswagens because of it. Nostalgia is a strong emotion and I have a soft place in my heart for Jettas, especially from the 1980s.
The Pick of the Day reminded me of an old friend that I hadn’t seen since 2005; a 1984 Volkswagen Jetta coupe listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealer in Cadillac, Michigan, but the car is at the client’s home. (Click the link to view the listing)
Under the hood is a four-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed manual transmission. It’s not a robust drivetrain, but reliable with good gas mileage and served me well in Reno. The stance is a bit sportier with H&R lowering springs and the aftermarket BBS wheels adds some flavor.
Based on the pictures from the listing the exterior appears to be in good shape and the Jetta has the small European bumpers that gives it a smoother look, as opposed to the somewhat cumbersome stock units.
The gray and black interior, with a white headliner, is clean and solid. It features air conditioning and an aftermarket three-spoke steering wheel.
Feelings of nostalgia came to me when I saw this Jetta. Yes it’s a different model year than my former VW, but has the same rectangular profile. As I type this article I’m having a flashback of being passed by most cars on the highway while I slowly broiled from Reno’s summer heat.
Oddly enough these aren’t bad memories, I have rose tinted bifocals on when I remember my former cars.