junkYARD 1995 VW Golf Driver 1.8 Mark III Review
Obviously with my Calibra in tatters the next thing to do was look for another dirt cheap car.
So I scoured auto trader to see what was about.
I saw a BMW 3 series diesel 325 which looked pretty good so I went to find the lot it was on in deepest east London in Dagenham…
When I got there this place was a hell hole in the middle of east London’s industrial backwater.
Basically the BMW looked much better in the pics than in real life and there weren’t even any door cards on the interior. It was a shit heap.
The dealer said I shouldn’t bother with the BMW and instead take a look at the VW golf instead.
I think the BMW was used as nothing more than a way to attract business and then the guy would suggest anything and everything else.
So I headed over to the Golf and to my dismay noticed it wasn’t a GTI, however, I did notice the ‘Driver’ badge on the back just below the rear light cluster.
The car was a nice dark metallic blue/purple, it had five doors and a sunroof with black bumpers all round and some nice alloy wheels with a flat front tire.
Obviously I handed over the cash (£500) almost immediately.
Overview and Experience:
So, to be fair the golf looked in good condition.
There was a bit of green moss around the window rubbers as if it had been sat near a tree for a long time but overall the car looked in good condition if just a bit under used.
It also had a ‘GB’ country identifier sticker to the rear which struck me as being used and owned by an individual rather than a company who would drive it on the Continent.
I often look for little clues to see what the previous owners would have used it for and how it may have been treated.
I took it for a test drive and it felt firm and solid, much more solid and ‘tight’ when compared to the Calibra.
Everything seemed okay, if just not used much so probably needed a good service…obviously I didn’t want to spend money on servicing it so ragged it around to near death.
I had read after I bought the Golf that the Driver model was the one under the GTI, a look-a-like to offer the style and handling without the performance.
It didn’t have the power of the GTI (115 bhp for the 8v and 150 bhp for the 16v) with only 90 bhp at its disposal but had the same steering, suspension set up and sport seats.
In all honesty it did seem to handle well and I enjoyed driving it. Apart from a few interior niggles like a bit of trim coming loose and the fact it needed a service along with a good wash it did feel like it could last a long time.
Oh, and the central locking was fucked.
I had to lock it from the boot which would lock all the doors, but to unlock it the boot would only open so I had to then crawl over to the rear passenger door and pull the knob which would then activate the central locking mechanism.
For the price it wasn’t a bad car at all, the only bad thing was the driver…no not the model moniker, me.
I thrashed this to death (nothing changes), red line gear changes and high speed motorway jaunts without once checking fluids.
Needless to say, this is another car that ended in tears…nailing it home one Sunday evening on the motorway the oil warning light and buzzer came on.
I naturally thought it wasn’t true so carried on driving until the next service station.
I then filled it with oil and carried on until something went pop and it was towed home.
A few days later I managed to drive it about 500 yards to a local mechanic whereby he told me the good news. It was scrap.
I sold it to a guy who wanted to use it for banger racing, he was just going to throw another engine in the bay.
I would buy another again without a shadow of a doubt.
People lambasted the mark III Golf for being overweight, boring and under powered but it did have a certain honesty about it and felt much more nimble than many cars I have driven today.