This 1986.5 Volkswagen Scirocco was a major breakout sale of 2019

The collector car market wasn’t all chocolate and roses in 2019, but you wouldn’t know it if you owned a Volkswagen Scirocco 16v. In the last 12 months, the #1-condition (Concours) average value of the Scirocco 16v shot up 200 percent, to $25,800. And if there’s one car out there that represents this compact German’s arrival in the collectible spotlight, it’s this fetching red-over-black example that sold on Bring a Trailer back in late October—for a shocking $28,000.

Such breakout sales—auction results that benchmark a new standard price or cement a car’s place on the collector-market radar—can’t be ignored. And $28,000 for a Scirocco with 184,000 miles certainly has our attention.

For the uninitiated, the Scirocco shares its underpinnings with the Volkswagen GTI. Like its hot-hatch sibling, the original 1975 Scirocco was compact, sporty, and agile. But the boxy two-door would receive a real blessing under the hood with the arrival of a 16-valve four-cylinder engine in mid-1986, which allowed the Scirocco to hit 124 mph and charge from 0-60 mph in 8 seconds. That was serious performance at the time, and the engine boasted high-performance kit like hydraulic lifters, piston-cooling oil-squirters, and sodium-filled exhaust valves.

red 1986.5 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V front closeup
BaT / Vanglahn
red 1986.5 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V engine
BaT / Vanglahn

red 1986.5 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V side-view
BaT / Vanglahn

Compared to the GTI, the Scirocco had a more purposeful personality. Its boxy body kit gave it a harder-edged appearance, with chunky bumpers, wider fender flares, and a handsome side-skirt. The rear spoiler, indeed, completed the look.

Bring a Trailer’s car, tastefully modified and fastidiously restored, is a shining example of the 16-valve VW Scirocco. Hardware upgrades include Solöwerks struts, a chassis brace, Eurosport front sway bar, rear strut brace, and a Techtonics stainless steel exhaust system finished with a Borla ProXS muffler. Painted 15-inch BBS wheels, as well as a Momo steering wheel, add that extra Eau-de-mod.

No doubt, the car presents in beautiful condition, largely thanks to the professional respray in classic VW red. The engine received a new head gasket as well, and before the sale it got an A/C service, coolant flush, and replacement battery.

The $28,000 sale price was a big deal. Prior to that, BaT’s best Scirocco sale was a black example in June 2019 (a modified car with minor needs) that sold for $15,000.

red 1986.5 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V rear three-quarter
BaT / Vanglahn

So what’s the big deal with the Scirocco, and why did it have its moment this year? “It’s a fun, tossable Euro hot hatch that stands out in a crowd of GTIs,” is Hagerty auction editor Andrew Newton’s take. “Not to mention it’s for some more interesting to look at and talk about than the equivalent Japanese hot hatches that are also coming up.”

There are only a handful of examples out there restored to this standard, in mostly original U.S.-spec, by a specialist expert. It could be that owners are looking at this sale and wondering if now’s the time to finally restore theirs. And before long, if this trend continues, values could tick up a touch for less-than-perfect examples. Without question, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the Scirocco 16v. 

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