What should I be paying?
Before the ‘owning’ comes the ‘buying’, and that’s getting more and more tricky as we lose cars to rust, morons and God only knows what else. Finding a good, clean Mk1 GTI for a halfway reasonable price is nothing like as easy as it used to be, especially since people cottoned on to their relative rarity and started charging silly money.
Rust is a thing, we’re told. Can happen pretty much anywhere because Mk1s weren’t galvanised from the factory, but there are areas you should worry about more than others. Areas that aren’t as easily repaired, or that where even a little bit of rust might be indicative of a wider problem. Pay particular attention to the inner wings, sills, bottom of the A-Pillar and front valance for signs of the nasty stuff. The wheel arches, spare-wheel well and fuel filler pipe might go too.
Before you go see one, have a Google and head over to sites like the Mk1 Owner’s Club, where they’ve spent much time and effort writing what seems to be a pretty exhaustive list of everything you should look for. Once you’ve taken the plunge, the GTI should be a relatively easy classic to own and maintain. Take the normal precautions and, with any luck, you’ll see a return on your ‘investment’ when time comes to sell.