Sunday, January 15, 2017

A fierce desert wind descends upon Brooklyn: Scirocco!

I was walking down Grand Street in Williamsburg one lovely summer day when I found this little punk. Talk about forgotten rides!
 What we have here is a 1983 Volkswagen Scirocco in the yawn-inducing color Diamond Silver Poly. The name comes from "a fierce desert wind" according to the literature of the day. Scirocco was introduced way back in 1974 as a successor to the Karmann Ghia. This seems blasphemous as the Karmann Ghia was all voluptuous curves and this looks like origami but it did foreshadow the boxy '80s perfectly.  
I didn't get many pics so I'll point out the large single windshield wiper above. This became 2 traditional wipers in 1984 so we know this is earlier.
Our feature car is the 2nd generation Scirocco which is a little larger than the earlier version. Perhaps the easiest way to identify the pre-1981 models is that they had round headlights as opposed to the square units on this ride. Those older Sciroccos look like sporty VW Rabbits (Golfs to you Euro folks, or is it Golves?). The rear seating in this is tight but the 1st gen is absurd!
When this 2nd gen was introduced in 1981 it had the word S C I R O C C O stenciled in white on the rear window below that little spoiler. After 1982 that was discontinued which, along with that big windshield wiper, identifies this as '83.
The drivetrains in these were pretty diminutive with the standard inline 4 cylinder U.S. model putting out a measly 74 horsepower. Due to its low weight and center of gravity it could still translate into a lot of fun with the manual trans, but with the automatic you may as well walk.
I love the styling on these little rides, and you just don't see them anymore. Since the basic guts are similar to the Rabbit/Golf you can easily fit a GTI engine in one of these and create a little rally car. Tone of aftermarket performance parts are available. Thie 2nd generation seen here would continue on through the 1988 model year with few changes before retiring.
This car would be replaced by the more expensive and powerful Corrado. While the Corrado is a mean machine it is about as rare as the Scirocco today. The folks I've known that owned Corrados talked about wiring foibles that made for difficult daily driving (one of those cars suffered a dashboard fire that banished it to the junkyard). For my money acquiring an old Scirocco and upping the performance to Corrado levels would be the most rewarding. Regardless I'm always psyched to see a forgotten '80s VW on the streets. 

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