GTI: Sold!

I actually managed to sell the Golf GTI 16V, and what’s more, its new owner (my pal Stefan) is not entirely decided upon which one of his Golf IIs will become parts donor for his T3 Bus.  The other one is a less elegant, less well-equipped, less original, but also less rusted-out white two-door Golf CL or some such. Let’s hope taste shall prevail. :-)

Oh, and the GTI’s original alloy wheels (with reasonably good Pirelli P6 tyres) will make an appearance on my pal Frank’s Jetta soon. Interestingly, they fetched the same amount of money as the rest of the GTI did. But that’s just keeping with tradition — I originally bought the GTI for its wheels, after all.

Time for an updated writeup.  I already have the title: “After a Few Years, It Starts To Look Beautiful — or: My Decade With the Golf”. Watch this space.

BX: Runs On 50/50 E85 Mix, Perfectly

The title says it all: the BX doesn’t even seem to notice that I gave it 11 litres of E85 bio-ethanol on top of its less-than-a-quarter-tankful of Super yesterday. Much unlike the Golf, no hesitant starting, no near-stalling when cold, nothing at all.

Good car. :-)

Time to up the dose a bit, methinks. I’ll keep you posted. (Hey, it’s 20 years old. Of course it can legally imbibe alcohol. ;-) )

BX: First Repairs

Nothing serious yet (knock on wood), but the BX’s Citroën-ness has been showing already. Things I’ve fixed so far: The rear wiper didn’t make it all the way across the window and back, so I cleaned and lubed its linkage; and the map reading light went out, so I replaced its meagre little 7W lamp with a hefty 18W one, rendering it even useful (although it does get a little warm, so it’s not for continuous use anymore; I’ll rig an LED solution some day).

I’ve been at the Citroën dealer’s parts desk too already. The missing central locking remote control (1990! Wow!) is still available for a reasonable 83 Euros and will be bought soon; the leaking radiator hose however is not available anymore and would have cost a much less reasonable 55 Euros if it were. Seems it’s glue time for that one.

Oh, and I got my first choice vanity plate: BS BX 19. Niice. :-)

Met another one, too. A humble 14 TGE, but nice condition, if a little dirty.

Met another one, too. A humble 14 TGE, but nice condition, if a little dirty.

I’m still happy as a clam with the car in general. Minor glitches were (and remain) to be expected. It’s not a Golf II, both in the good and in the bad sense of the meaning.

Next: Attach the trailer hitch, which got delivered yesterday.

Please Welcome: the BX

Okay, I’ve bitten the bullet. The GTI days are over. Sigh.

Well, or rather, the Golf GTI days are over. My new “modern” car is a GTI too, after all.

Not a Volkswagen, though.

Not a Volkswagen, though.

1990 Citroën BX GTI Automatic. Yes, that’s right: Automatic. A nice, comfy, automatic family saloon … GTI. The French are a peculiar people.

Just in case anyone doubts its GTIness: Just look at that spoiler!

Just in case anyone doubts its GTIness: Just look at that spoiler!

1.9 litres, 120 bhp. 159k kilometres, hardly any rust at all (nothing structural), unusually good condition. Drives very nicely too.

It really is as clean as it looks.

It really is as clean as it looks.

And just in case anyone wonders whether the thing is still driveable, as low as its suspension appears in the above images: No problem. No problem at all.

Hey, it is a Citroën, after all.

Hey, it is a Citroën, after all.

Normal ride height is between those two extremes, naturally.

All in all, I am really quite happy with the outcome. Of course I will miss the Golf, which has been my major mode of transportation for more than a decade; but the time was due for a change, seeing that this nice car here cost less than the remaining repairs on the Golf would have.

So here’s hoping the BX will prove as reliable as the Golf. Or nearly so, anyway. They are much better cars than the “experts” say, but they do need more care than does the virtually bullet-proof Golf II. I intend to honour that.

Anyone need a Golf II GTI 16V project? Mail me for details.

GTI: Manifold Found, and E85 Test Successful

Long time no post. The reason is simple: Nothing happened. But it will.

It will have to, in fact. The GTI is two months without TÜV now. So far, the police didn’t notice. *knock on wood*  But I am not willing to go back to the days when I was stopped with nineteen months of TÜV overdrawn, nor to almost losing my license because of the accumulated Flensburg points collected from a summer’s worth of parking without TÜV. So I have to fix it. (Replacing it is not an option.)

First problem: the cracked exhaust manifold. Found a used one on E-Bay, hope to get it installed soon. Second problem: the rust. A friend of mine promised to weld it. Back in November. :-| But he promised again to weld it next Saturday. We’ll see.

On a more promising note, I’ve driven the GTI on a 60/40 mixture of Super petrol and E85 bio-fuel for the last 100 km or so, and it performed remarkably well on it. Slight hesitation on cold start, and severe problems during the first minute after. But once it is even a tiny bit warm, it runs very well indeed. Maybe a little bit rougher than on petrol, but not so you’d notice, and with full throttle on high revs it has become much livelier than before. (Not that I’d notice, the way I usually drive.)

Fuel consumption seems to be up a tad, but the lower price for E85 compensates for that, and then some. Or rather, and then a LOT. E85 costs around 90 cents per litre, whereas petrol is up to 140 cents, give or take a dime. So my current mixture comes out at 110 cents per litre. Time for that E85 computer, which will allow me to run the stuff pure. (Which of course I’m going to try without it anyway.)

So, plenty of material for upcoming posts, methinks. Sorry for the delay.

Maikäfer Meeting Hannover

Traditionally, on May 1st each year, the city of Hannover gets flooded with thousands (some claim: tens of thousands) of aircooled Volkswagens. Sadly, again, not including mine this year; without an engine, it is technically no more aircooled than the GTI, in which I went there, to gawk at other Volks’ convertibles.

A Hebmüller! Yummy!

A Hebmüller! Yummy!

Unreachable. Sigh.

Beautiful early '60s Karmann. Nice colour too.

Beautiful early '60s Karmann. Nice colour too.

But alas, most convertibles there (like everywhere) were of the dreaded 1303 flavour. Call me old-fashioned, but a Bug with struts is not a real Bug. Still, these two I like. Spectacular colour, and at least nice original condition:

I doubt whether I'd have photographed a single one, though.

I doubt whether I'd have photographed a single one, though.

The most interesting section however, as always, was the swap meet. Not that I currently need a lot of parts (that’s going to change next year, presumably), but I did score one I didn’t need but really really wanted: the Automatic Stickshift badge mentioned previously on this blog.

Most swapmeet dealers hat less appropriate vehicles, unfortunately.

Most swapmeet dealers had less appropriate vehicles, unfortunately.

I met some friends from my Type 2 days (funny how fast this slips into past tense), and also chatted a little with Monsterbacke and KLE of Fusselblog fame.

KLE's "Pirat". This used to be a VW Passat Variant 32B.

KLE's "Pirat". This used to be a VW Passat Variant 32B.

Definitely not my taste in cars, but cool guys nonetheless.

All in all, it was a nice day in Hannover. Excellent weather too, sunny but not too hot, and refreshing rain on the drive back home. Back next year — maybe even in the convertible, already? I’m not sure, but it’s certainly something to aspire to.

Caravan: Back Home … Almost

Last weekend, I carried the caravan back home from Bavaria, where my (deceased) friend had worked on it to get it TÜVable again after a decade or so of storage.


Someone called it a doghouse. Hey, it’s bigger than that! Somewhat.

He could not complete it, but at least the welding is done, and done nicely. I’ll have to complete the wirework, and have new tires put on, before I can attempt TÜV inspection. The repainting will be done after that … I have no place to do that in, so it’ll have to be mobile (and thus, registered) before attempting the painting. Currently the caravan is still sitting on the trailer at my friend Ingo’s (whose trailer it is), so the next caravan-moving post is coming up later this week already.

Oh, and on the way down there, I dropped off my long-wood trailer at Torsten’s, too:


If only everything in my life was as abundant as old trailers.

I don’t have any plans to buy a VW Pickup anymore, so it’s kind of pointless to keep a basically useless trailer that only works with one. And at least it goes to a good home … I saved it from being junked, that’s something isn’t it?

Gerbelmann: There It Goes

Last weekend, Uncle Gerbelmann got moved to his new home:


Never an easy moment, is it?

The damage is not fatal, but it is really rather extensive. The front end has suffered most:


The tree, I am happy to report, is alive and well.

The new owner, Torsten, assured me that the van is fixable and indeed will be fixed. I’ll stay in touch, and report on the progress here. (Torsten is the same friend who will help me convert the Bug to Autostick, and build it an engine.) So Uncle Gerbelmann may be out of my yard (figuratively speaking — it hasn’t been in it since the crash in 2008), but not out of my life nor blog.

GTI: Next Problem Please

Sigh. This time, TÜV on the GTI turns out to be a more expensive thing to achieve than anticipated. Having replaced the exhaust from the catalytic converter backwards all the way to the end, now there’s a crack in the exhaust manifold.

There go the next couple hundred Euros.

Speaking of which, at least the dealer,, have reimbursed me for the price difference between the parts I had ordered and the ones they actually delivered. This still does not earn them a recommendation from me, but it does keep me from actively warning people of them.

Oh, and just for the record: Yes, of course the GTI will still be fixed and kept. If I had needed any convincing to do so, the extensive trailer-pulling through the past weekend (see upcoming posts about that) would have done that nicely. Plenty of power even with a car trailer and the caravan on top of that, and more economical than many a new car without even one trailer to pull, let alone two of them. What’s not to like?

Good Golf. :-)

Bug: Let’s Make It an Autostick

I talked to a friend the other day (via e-mail) and asked him whether he thought that converting my convertible (hmm… figures) to Automatic Stickshift would be a viable idea. He is quite enthusiastic about the plan (”that’s what I’d have done if you had sold it to me”). So am I, and thus it’s official now: I’ll be needing this badge.


Image nicked from the ‘net again, of course.

Cool, huh? I’ve always loved that one. It does look amusingly like some aftermarket doodad, but it was actually fitted to Autostick Bugs in the U.S., so I’ll need it for mine to be authentic.

Autostick driving is fun. Shifting without a clutch (it’s pneumatically activated from a switch in the gear lever), three forward gears only (named L, 1, and 2 — L is not used in normal driving) — it is all quite hilariously quirky. Just my cup of tea, in other words.

And the hydraulic torque converter might even help when pulling a caravan trailer. At least, there’s no clutch wear when taking off from a standstill, and from my previous (limited) experience with Autosticks I do have the feeling it might pull better, too. In any case, it will feel quite freight-train-ish when doing so.

I’m very much looking forward to driving a Bug that not only doesn’t have a good roof, but is also lacking a pedal and a gear. Trust Volkswagen to charge extra for such minimalism. :-)

Come to think of it … apart from an electric interior ventilator (which I might even still add), I can’t really think of any factory option goodies that will still be missing from my convertible then. Hey presto — top of the line!