Rubbish Cars We Love: Volkswagen Scirocco MK 2 – Little Cracker!

Take a ticket and get in line for the amount of cars we’ve covered in this section that aren’t really rubbish at all.

No exception here, then.

Open Your Mind:

To get your brain in first picture the Volkswagen Scirocco as a retro Smart Roadster – only with the VW you can actually break the speed limit before your legs get DVT. The old Volkswagen Scirocco does look a touch yesteryear, even if you can find a pristine one parked in a lay-by somewhere. Its very 80s styling gives off an impression of preemptive disappointment. This is great fun for you (the driver) at traffic lights, being as every suped-up Corsa owning whippersnapper in your sights is sure to come a cropper.

The basic model Mark 2 Volkswagen Scirocco came equipped with a willing 1.3 litre engine. If you spent more you got more – namely a meaty, grabbing, visceral 16v 1.8. If you think we are overselling here, you’ve clearly never even seen the 16v close up, let alone driven it. Imagine the first sip of an ice-cold beer during the height of summer and you’re skating close. It genuinely is that satisfying.

Forget about buying a used 16v though. They cost a bomb and most have been thrashed to shit. If you own a 16v and disagree with this statement you are waiting on the biggest garage bill in history – you just don’t know it yet.

Karmann Ghia:

If you remember that car first time round you really are old.

The Mark 1 Scirocco replaced the Karmann Ghia back in 1974. Volkswagen – ever keen to listen to the wants of the market – felt four seats were infinitely better than two. European buyers balk at squashed four-seaters even now; claiming it’s ‘all done for the American market’. We do not pretend to understand what they mean. Americans have more friends? They’re shorter? Their kids refuse to stay at home without stealing the batteries out of the smoke alarm? Fact is that those two extra seats do a great job of keeping your social life intact.

‘55 mph in a 1984 Volkswagen Scirocco is faster then 55 mph in a mere car’:

…so said a magazine advertisement of the time. Safe stuff for the eighties. Though nowadays that ad would be even more uninspiring. Try arranging ‘emissions’, ‘mpg’ and ‘catalytic converter’ into some kind of sexy order and you might pity the poor copywriter for ten minutes.

What’s great about piloting a Mark 2 on today’s tarmac is the sensation of being intrinsically linked to the inner workings of precipitation. In other words, the Scirocco does what you want when you tell it to. It doesn’t get out of hand. Corners grab you like a child grabs e-numbers. Every now and then you will lose it slightly, but not enough to fear the reaper. You’re not a scared driver in a Mark 2, although you do remain cautious. It’s what traction control and eight billion Mercedes driver aids can never teach you – anticipation. You second-guess the road because you have to, though it is bloody good fun at the same time.


You should definitely think about it. Extra spending money on Stephen and the Twins or something to escape a family argument in? Actual fun or another broken iPod? Are you positive your granddad really needs that new wheelchair?

If you have any means to get the cash, buy a Mark 2 Volkswagen Scirocco. Visit any number of worthwhile fan sites dotted around the net for help on sorting the lovable from the deadly. They are all search engine friendly…

We have located a potential Mark 2 on Take a look for educational purposes if you’re still deliberating. Learn the lines and the rust spots and – just for the sake of common sense – find out what a dry sump is, too.

Since 1934, Volkswagen have been making Cars for the People. The Mark 2 Scirocco is certainly one of their best. If not the best. Too much? Yeah, maybe, but it’s a better choice the Mark 2 Golf. It’s cooler, faster, more comfortable, and even cheaper in some cases.

The Volkswagen Scirocco might just be the best (rubbish) car you’ll ever own.

[story by Chris Laverty]


  1. Kevin says

    As an American with more (shorter) friends than the average European, I bought my Mk II in 1991, back when a good number of my friends could actually fit in the back seat. No more. I still love driving around w/ one lucky friend in the passenger seat though.

  2. Bicas says

    Well what can I say,
    the review above reads exactly as you describe it!

    >> “felt four seats were infinitely better than two.”
    A shorter accomplice found the rear seats of the Mk2 very comfortable last Sunday (- this is my every-day motor, not just for Sunday kicks;).

    And this could not be further from the truth –
    “sensation of being intrinsically linked to the inner workings of precipitation.”

    The link you posted above for the Rocco on Ebay (-, I managed to purchasse the exact same1 at the end of January. I’ve had various types of 4-wheeled craft including a 78 fully loaded Hi-ace camper, couple of cosi replicas & a lowered volvo 340 turbo (abit bumpy;), but the Sciroc more than holds its own, even with the a 1.6 with pipercross aifilter, hitting 3½k rpm’s, the grumple from below sounds surrweet!

    Anyway, enough waffle! Just wanted to comment on your life like well written review. I’m even thinking of opening a bar inspired by the rocco, since every urbanite is going retro’metro! Right..

    Cheers & Big Respex!

  3. Jason Adams says

    I will agree that the MKII Scirocco 16v was THE best VW ever produced. I just picked up my second one. The first one I drove into the ground. I was rocco less for a couple years, in that time I bought a Porsche 944 turbo, now I’ve bought the scirocco to drive on days I can’t don’t want to drive the p-car. That should give you an indication of how good the MKII actually is. Also for comparison I just test drove a MK5 GTI, what a disapointment… VW just doesn’t get it anymore. What happened to Fahrvergnugen? It died with the MKII.

  4. says

    Hey all!! Gotta say Chris’s description fits the bill!!, 2 a tee!! had my gal for 5 years, an ’87’ series 2,8v, 1.6 gt… ok she aint the best looker,the odd little ding from the supermarket carpark etc.. but hey she’s near 20,and at that age we all had a few spots!!,if you catch my drift,and there still aint a spot of rust!!ANYWHERE!!!. she still turns my head and I’d still do anything to keep her running sweet!!!! she never gives me a moments grief,has a mere 130k on the clock and I know she’ll do it all again, she’s flown thru every m.o.t,1st time,every time!!! so glad they dont make em’ like her no more,otherwise we would’nt be driving, wat I consider to be, an ICON..

  5. Brad says

    Bought my second rocco in 92. Was only 12months old and turned out to be the last Scala 18.i imported into the UK. Fitted TSR big discs to the front as the VW ones are a bit iffy, and the 16V wishbone support brace. No other mods. Great car – my wife and young children love it as its so retro. Got recent value as £3.5K – wow, only paid 6K in 92 ! See if you can find one for a bit of fun driving.

  6. Corrado owner says

    What are you on about with the vw 16v being crap if its been thrashed? You clearly arent that clued up!! I know for a fact these engines in stock form can be taken up to 7200rpm all day long and still purr like a kitten the next morning, cylinder heads need roconditioning at about 150,000 miles but the bottom ends are bullit proof, i’v personally seen these engines do 250,000 miles easy….as long as oil and filter is changed at least every 10k. just ask anyone who knows what they are talking about… get your facts straight

  7. love your rocco says

    well i have read some rubbish in my time but this clearly says it all i own 2 scirocco’s 1.6gt and a 1.8 webber carb gt2 and they are both fantastic cars everywhere you go people say “what a cool car that is” or “i used to have one of those best car i ever had” and as for being disappointed…i have never been disappointed with my 2 roccos and as for putting it up agains a ‘suped-up corsa’ dont make me laugh i would not been seen dead in one of those modern cheep cars. put it this way you wont see a scabby corsa in 20 odd years time getting the compliments that i do
    get it right before you put a story like this up!!!

  8. roccobabe says

    Rubbish car eh?
    So please tell me why my 25 year old Gti Scirocco still turns heads and whoops the ass of the souped-up corsas (in fact, can leave many more modern cars standing)?
    Why would such a “rubbish” car have the cult following it does. Owners clubs, dedicated forums….nuff said!
    Having an initial story that was factually correct might have proved the poster actually knew anything about this car

  9. says

    Come on !.If these so called motoring journalists actually got off their @ss and bothered to drive the cars they write about instead of cobbling together as many snippets of information as they could find on the www then publishing them as their own work, maybe then we would get articles that bear some semblance of truth and accuracy !
    I have owned 4 Scirocco’s,3 Passats,Vento’s,Jettas,Golfs etc, and (hand on heart) i can honestly say that the roc’s have been the most reliable,fun to drive and rewarding cars i have ever owned.No ABS,No Airbags,No Cats,No Aircon…no problem !.Proper motor :-)

  10. pcpSteele says

    Learn how to read guys, the author was saying it would p**s all over the Corsa and looks better to boot.

    I take delivery of mine in 7 days, can’t wait :o) if everything you guys have said is true then i’m not going to be able to sleep for the next week, it’s like christmas all over again!

  11. buzz says

    can wait im 18 and going to buy a b.e.a.utiful looking gt tomoro. whilst all other mates are now buying corsas, saxos, 306s. they have no class taste or appreication for driving.
    p.s. does anybody know a good place other that volts parts to get bits and bobs for them?? thanks

  12. says

    guys, i haven’t read this peace of crap to tell me that my car is crap, that guy who wrote this has no clue about cars and i ill show him my Scirocco GT 16v mk2 wich is fully in original condition only have five spoke OZ 14 inch rims. Car now has little less than 400000 kilometers, and it’s my daily driven car, it’s in pretty condition.. here’s the link for the photo on photobucket.



    i think this is the only one 16v rocco that left here in croatia…
    peace, and you know what?… VW fahrer 4 life…

  13. Turbogirlie says

    I like this – Rubbish Cars You Should Own – very tongue in cheek! Have owned my GTX for 12yrs now & still loving it – as the Mk3 has been launched, it’s brought the MKI & MKII’s back into the limelight & into classic status. Even getting admiring comments about my car! 12 years ago no-one really knew what they were and weren’t interested. Hope to keep my 24yr old gal going for a good number of years to come.

  14. Andy Sharp says

    Hi all. I’ve owned 4 Scirocco Mk2’s up to now – 3 GTs and one CL pre body kit model. Let’s be fair, out and out performance was always an issue, but this was VW’s fault because the Golf GTI was the ‘halo’ car. There was always the GTX and the GTX16v but these were hard to find and f###ing expensive. I’ve just picked up a Scala (run out model) injection for my 80’s classic business and it’s the way forward – Scirocco looks, nice interior, great handling (better than my 16v Golf!) and the 8v Golf GTI engine, and for how much?

  15. Robert says

    Thanks for the review. I’ve got my eyes set on one that I want to buy for my first car. While my friends will most probably settle for a Toyota or Nissan, I’d love to have something different, preferably German just to show them up. haha.