Ownership Verified: My 1986 Volkswagen Polo Classic

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Changed to winter tires. This time the bolts were a lot easier to negotiate than last time around...

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The bolt covers keep the chrome hubcaps on snugly, so I tried one on. They don't really fit the rest of the car, and on these wheels they sit so proud that I swapped the black hubcap back on.

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Shame, since they're in very good condition. Maybe some other wheels will make them work better, but for now they'll be shelved.

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I'm pretty sure I won't sell this car first. I completely love driving it, listening to old Finnish stuff on the radio. It rides so ridiculously well, and I really need to roadtrip it at some point. It's the most 'me' car of all my cars, I'm sure of that.
 

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Figured that since the Polo had accumulated enough dust on itself to merit people sitting on the hood (ugh), it was time to fire it up and get it washed.

Man, the battery was drained. Starting the Polo took cranking forever, with every slow *woohw* sounding more futile than the last. But in the end I managed to get it running with sheer willpower, and off I went. Should have taken video, but the only clip I took was from the carwash itself.


It always feels like the brushes could lift the 725kg car up and turn it the shiny side down.
 

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Since the old valve cover was so terribly ugly, I decided I'd rather fit the other one even if it's not painted. That made me think I'd almost rather go for a grey one instead of the correct black colour.

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Everything in order under cover.

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And a minute later.

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Such a handsome car.

- - - Updated - - -

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Lobe close-up.
 

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So, as the winter meet was coming up and I didn't want to repeat myself by driving the MX-5 cross country, or subjecting the Mi16's front bumper to any damage, I decided to take the Polo. And 1200 km later, I can say I did the right thing :)

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The car feels surprisingly good on a long drive. The engine sound isn't too pronounced at highway speeds; the seats could be a lot more comfortable, as they're pretty flat. There's not much wind noise, and by perching the BT speaker I was gifted onto the rear parcel shelf, I could have an alternative music source to the radio (total cheating, I know).

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On the track it was a giggle. It had some of the best winter tires of the group, and its light weight and eagerness to turn provided it some far better lap times than some of the cars in the group (by our tame reviewer, Lastsoul). It wasn't the understeering sled I thought it would be, but able to be caned like a 205 would, complete with lift-off oversteer and lots of wheel twirling. And Lastsoul got this great shot from the second day, where you can see the drift angles it managed :lol:
 

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Drove to a carwash last night to get all the roadtrip grime off the car. It was a great success, but I noticed that not only are both headlights split, but the passenger side is split in two directions :lol: How is that even possible, and why have they split? Rock damage, or from washing a hot headlight? (The headlight washers spray every time I use the windscreen wash with lights on, should probably remove a fuse...)

I have a replacement pair which I could swap on for inspection since they are somewhat sand-blasted, but I'm debating ordering a really nice NOS pair as well.
 

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https://forums.finalgear.com/hooniverse.com/2017/02/01/back-on-track-the-60-euro-polo-slides-again/

Interesting link. :lol:

I reckon it's this article.
 

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Oh yeah, I forgot the linking takes a shit if you leave out the www in front of the url. It be fixed now son!
 

Mitchi

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I love this part:

[...]but instead of pouring wrenching funds into the car I just decided to drive it with the choke pulled out by half a centimeter. It runs fine like that, I swear. Choke closed is dyno mode.

:lol:
 

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(The headlight washers spray every time I use the windscreen wash with lights on, should probably remove a fuse...).

Wonder if headlight cleaning was mandated by law in 1986. I can't see any other reason why a car that doesn't even have a lighter jack would have headlight sprayers.

I know in Sweden you needed working headlight *wipers* to pass inspection back in the day. All manufacturers that wanted to sell cars there had to come up with their own solutions. This is how Fiat did it: :lol:

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360nohope
 

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I had to drive to Helsinki and deliver some Bilstein shocks, so I took the Polo. A couple hundred kilometres into the trip I wondered if the rear suspension could be made more comfortable, since it felt surprisingly jarring. Pretty soon I realized it was already clunking, and when pulling over to fuel up the clunk was somewhat loud. It was about -16?C, so it looks like the passenger side rear shock simply froze. They're usually replaced in pairs, and looking at the prices on eBay...

End result: I found a set of... Bilstein B4 shocks, front and rear, for 140 which is cheaper than getting the cheapest "big red stock" aftermarket ones here. The original price for the set was 340 euros! With very reasonable 20 eur postage, I sofort-kauft them immediately. And not too soon, since now the car seems to clunk when driving over a zebra crossing. I drove the car into a warm garage, and inspect the driveability later on. But replacing 30-year-old suspension parts with very respectable name-brand stuff is probably a good idea, and with such a big discount, even better.
 

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But soon you will want to have the same shocks in the front...
Oh, why do I know you might ask? Check the E36 topic. New Bilstein rears are more uncomfortable than the old (factory original) Sachs fronts. I?d want new fronts now as well, just to make the car equally uncomfortable over small road imperfections.
 
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