1992 VW Golf GTi (Mk1) Convertible SportlineView vehicle description
Following on from the commercial success of the rag-top Beetle, VW commissioned Karmann to produce its sequel – based on the new Golf. Though the popularity of the Beetle – especially in open-top form – ensured its production would overlap the Golf’s for the first 11 months.
The world got its first look at what would later become a smash hit at the Geneva Motor Show on February 27, 1979. By the end of production in 1993, an astonishing 388,522 Golf cabriolets had been sold. During the 1980s, especially in the US, the little open-top ‘Rabbit’ was a common sight in many a sunshine state. Its global popularity meant that it even outlasted its hard-top sibling and VW’s second-generation Golf. Fans of wind-in-the-hair dub motoring would have to wait for the Mk3 Golf for their next fix. Just before that though, the Mk1 Cabriolet was sent out in style.
The Sportline GTI Cabriolet. Just 499 are thought to have been made and along with their more luxurious Rivage cousins, they are the final Mk1-based Golf cabriolets to be produced. Sportlines came in either Black or Flash Red with pretty extensive upgrades over the stock GTI cabriolet – although it’s worth pointing out that since 1988 all Mk1 Cabs had the updated ‘Clipper’ bodykit and since 1991 all hoods were electro-hydraulically operated. Despite the generous level of standard kit (by VW standards), the Sportline went further still. These limited-edition models got blacked-out BBS RA alloy wheels, bespoke dials with orange needles, Recaro seats and a heat-insulating, tinted windscreen.
This very smart example of VW’s runout MK1 Convertible has been in the ownership of Will Addy since 2018. “The car has always been garaged during that time and only used during the summer months,” he explains. “Overall, it’s in great shape; it drives as it should with no unwanted noises. The gearchange is smooth and the brakes work well.
“I’ve just replaced the cambelt, radiator and given it an oil service. In my four years of ownership, I have regularly serviced it even though it’s only covered a little over 1000 miles in that time. I’ve also replaced the water pump in the last couple of years and as far as I’m aware everything works without fault at the moment.”
That final statement, combined with the other recent works, should give prospective bidders confidence that this Sportline is ready for a summer of cool, top-down action.
The car’s V5c document indicates 7 owners from new and the odometer currently reads 140,749 miles. It received a fresh MOT ticket in April of this year (with no advisories) and that runs until the 18th of April 2023.
On the Outside
“The paint presents well but isn’t concours,” says Will. He’s right, it does look decent, with a deep gloss to the finish. It has had a bit of paint here and there, as the leading edge of the bonnet has some orange peel and the driver’s side of the car is a bit more orange peely than the passenger side – that’s only really discernible up very close and if you’re looking for it, as we were during our initial inspection. Panel gaps are great, with all the doors, the boot and the bonnet closing with Germanic precision and a quality timbre to their respective thuds. There’s the odd stone-chip on the front end and the front bumper has a couple of spidery stress marks, but it’s generally sharp as are the Sportline decals.
“I had the roof replaced with a new mohair item and inner liner not long after I bought the car,” says Will. And it remains excellent with a clear, mark-free rear window. It has four matching UniRoyal tyres each with plenty of tread remaining and the BBS alloys are in decent nick, to boot.
On the Inside
“The interior is in great shape and has survived incredibly well, given its age,” says Will. Again, we have to agree as it’s very good. There is some wear on touch points such as the gear knob and steering wheel, but otherwise it’s very nice.
The Recaro seats are free from rips, tares or snags; hell, even the driver’s bolster, although that said it’s just on the cusp of going a touch saggy. The matching door cards are in similarly decent condition, as are the carpets. All electrics function, including the hood which lowers and rises without issue. It also has an upgraded Bluetooth stereo system fitted.
In the boot you’ll find a space saver spare tyre, jack and medical first aid kit. More importantly, the spare wheel well is in excellent rust-free condition.
Will’s already said that the GTI drives as it should. We, of course, have had it out for an extended spin or too ourselves and can confirm that’s the case. The gearbox feels tight, the engine pulls well and idles smoothly, and the clutch feels light and engages perfectly – it’s a good ‘un.
“The underside is in great order with no rust,” says Will. Yep, we agree once again – although it may not appear so in this listing, we’re not just ‘yes men’ here at The Market. Have a butcher’s underneath and you’ll find that to be the case; it looks well protected and, if just a touch dusty, in reassuringly solid health with the factory underseal still in evidence.
Again, the engine bay isn’t concours, but it is in a nice and generally clean state. There are no discernible leaks and having had that recent cambelt change and oil service, the engine is ready for action.
“There’s not a huge amount of history with the car but there are some old invoices in the folder that accompanies it, as well as some old MOT test certificates and tax discs,” says Will.
You’ll also find a recently dated RAC Vehicle History Check, which shows no current alerts on the vehicle. Invoices for Will’s parts and work are also included, except for the replacement soft-top hood that he fitted as that’s unfortunately been misplaced.
Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been maintained to a very good standard.
What We Think
Overall, this is a really nice example of a rare and desirable MK1 GTI variant. It’s not perfect, but it looks good for the mileage and drives exactly as it should. That mileage means you’re not going to be afraid to drive it, so it’s one to buy and enjoy immediately and regularly – that said, it’s good enough for popping along to the odd show and coffee morning with, too.
We think it’ll realise somewhere between £12,000 and £16,000. Early GTIs are still rising in terms of desirability, and as a run-out model this one’s always going to be sought after.
Buy it, get that hood down and enjoy some Teutonic top-down fun. Life’s too short to drive boring cars and this one should continue to gently appreciate, as you pootle (or hard-charge, GTI-style) around.
Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
Bidders MUST ensure they are aware of the registration situation of a car in auction, and whether it will be possible to export/register a vehicle in their country BEFORE they bid.
All vehicles MUST BE COLLECTED WITHIN 7-DAYS of the auction end. Storage fees of £180 + VAT apply (per week) thereafter without exception.
If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage can offer you options, plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping both domestic and international.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using basic cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
Want to know how The Market auctions work? Take a look at our FAQ'sView FAQ's