1989 Volkswagen Golf Van


  • Rare van model in original condition
  • Recent mechanical overhaul and full service
  • Four new tyres
  • Recent recommissioned 

The Appeal

The VW Golf has built up an enviable reputation for being a class leader, and can proudly boast its talents for durability and civil road manners with a touch of class. 

The humble versions continued to go about their business, providing millions of people with practical and dependable upwardly-mobile transportation, while the iconic athletic variants deservedly stole the show. 

Shortly after the 1985 launching of the passenger car, VW recognised a need for a van version of their top seller.

The van variants were identical to the conventional passenger car in terms of comfort and build quality, and they added a quality niche to an otherwise utilitarian market. 

This 1989 example has survived the hardships that frequently beset small vans, and a recent overhaul complements it solidity and originality. 

It is equipped with a rear seat and retains its original features, with a charm that will no doubt add kudos points in the rarity stakes.

The History and Paperwork

  • Many new mechanical parts recently fitted
  • MOT to March 2023
  • Original sales brochures
  • Recent Service

Registered in Coventry on the 1st of August 1989, there are not too many clues to suggest how this commercial vehicle has managed to survive unscathed, but its 5 previous owners who have owned the car since then, have appeared to have been very sympathetic with its use. 

Since there’s not any documentation from its pampered past, the good news is that the car was picked up by its previous owner in 2020 who then spent a year bringing the van up to a positive mechanical standard, whilst managing to keep much of its originality.

All of the critical components were examined during its recommissioning, including a new head gasket, engine sump, radiator, all belts, core plugs and water pump, as well as work to replace the brakes, exhaust, and tyres. 

The preferred Weber 32/34 DMTL carburettor replaces the original Pierburg, however, the original will also be included with the vehicle. 

It has an MOT through to March 2023 and comes with a current V5. 

A selection of the original sales brochures also come with the car, along with a few spare pieces of interior trim.

The Interior

  • Clean interior
  • Original specification
  • Rear seats fitted

The interior's pure austerity, which highlights the sparse options available for the Golf Van when it was new, is its most appealing feature. This originality has been maintained by subsequent owners, which only enhances the car's attraction. 

Although the section around the driver-side demister vents has a few hairline fractures, the dashboard is in good condition overall. The plastic facia and centre console are intact, and the switches and controls appear to be in decent order with all said to be functional. 

The car does not have a radio; it still has its original blanking plate. The dials within the binnacle are tidy, and everything is said to work within. 

The seats are in good shape, with no real signs of wear. A back seat has been fitted, they appear to be correct for the van model, rather than a passenger car items and are likely to be original. They are free from rips with a few marks observed. With no significant faults, the passenger floor lining is in good condition given the age and intended use for the van. 

The front door cards are in good condition, with a little more wear noted on the rear sections. The headlining has a few scuffs but is undamaged and appears to be the original piece. 

Not surprisingly, the boot has typical wear and marks that can be seen on the inner wheel wells, but other than that, it's in presentable condition. The boot's floor mat is still present and is bone dry. 

The Exterior 

  • Original paint finish
  • Solid structure
  • New tyres

The first port of call is to remark how clean and tidy the engine bay metal is, with the lower bulkhead and the tops of the struts looking very solid. 

The subframe, floor pan and inner wings are as clean and tidy as you could hope for in a Golf of this era. There is a little minor coat of age noted on the rear section of the underside, but evidently treatable. 

The good news continues on the exterior of the car, with no major metal blemishes noted, with, sills, rear valance and panel work all free from the ageing process. 

There are a few minor dings on the body, most noticeable on the front valance, offside front wing corner, and offside lower wheel arch, but nothing that would cause undue distraction. The panel fit is even throughout the car and the doors easily open and close, and all show good rubber seals. 

The finish on the Golf is excellent considering its age. Even while the paint shows some indications of ageing, especially where the original paint has worn through to the primer, it gives it an authentic touch to the van's uniqueness. 

There are very few paint chips visible on the car, and the coverage is uniform throughout with no indications of uneven colour match. 

The black plastic trim has held up nicely, showing no obvious indications of fade and the bumpers are properly positioned with a few light marks on their surfaces. The lower valance grill shows minor damage. The glass is decent all around and has intact sealing. No cracks or damage are noted on the lights. 

It still retains its steel wheels, they have minor marks but are free of curb damage and retain their plastic centre caps. The four Falken tyres were all installed in 2020 and have plenty of tread. 

The Mechanics 

  • Original spec 1272cc engine
  • Overhauled brakes
  • New radiator, battery and carburettor
  • Drives well

The engine is beautifully presented, with evidence of careful ownership. While there is no physical evidence of the invoices to support the mechanical overhaul, the state of the ancillaries, hoses and general presentation of the engine should instil a level of confidence. 

The running gear appears to have worn well too, with evidence of new brake shoes, cylinders and Kunifer rigid pipes

Powered by a 1272cc petrol engine, the car is an instant starter thanks to a new distributor cap and rotor arm and upon firing up, produced no exhaust smoke as all of the dashboard warning lights remained in check. 

The car idles smoothly and runs quietly during tick-over thanks to the newly installed carburettor and the recent service. The engine temperature stayed in the happy zone while it was running on a particularly hot day. There were no suggestions of the cooling fan engaging while the engine was running. 

It is said to drive smoothly, and the manual choke works flawlessly. According to the owner, there are no problems with the car's braking or steering. There have been no reports of clutch problems or engagement with the 4-speed gearbox. 

The owner has no criticism or unfavourable remarks in connection with the suspension and tells us it handles remarkably well. 


There are dozens of arguments to support the argument of buying an MK2 Golf, they simply are one of the more capable classic cars that can deal with modern road and driving conditions. 

The van version must be high up there in the rarity stakes, especially in such an original condition. Perhaps ideal as a promotional vehicle, maybe a usable retro driver for a new business or the final addition to complete a collection. 

The possibilities, like the VW Golf, are endless. 

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1989
  • Make Volkswagen
  • Model Golf Van
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 99,354 Miles
  • Engine size 1272
  • Town Great Missenden
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Buckinghamshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
10 bids from 9 bidders
  • Ra•••• £4,500 21/08/22
  • ke•••• £4,300 21/08/22
  • No•••• £4,200 19/08/22
  • ma•••• £4,000 18/08/22
  • Ge•••• £3,000 17/08/22
  • Ro•••• £2,000 17/08/22
  • Ge•••• £1,500 17/08/22
  • an•••• £1,300 16/08/22
  • W3•••• £1,100 14/08/22
  • Th•••• £1,000 14/08/22

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