Launched in March 1981 in Europe and reaching the UK in mid 1982, the second generation of the Scirocco stretched the coupe with a hatchback concept further and was designed in-house by VW. The chassis was taken directly over from the Mk1 Scirocco meaning that the wheelbase and track dimensions remained the same as the outgoing model but the body was enlarged giving more room inside and increased luggage space: 14.6 cu ft with the rear seat in place, rising to 42.2 cu ft with the rear seat folded. Aerodynamic design was improved with the Mk2 Scirocco having a drag coefficiency of 0.38 (an improvement of 10% over the Mk1) with the high rear spoiler being an integral element to slippery shape. More details found in the design history article.
The Mk2 was subject to specification and trim changes regularly throughout its life but the alterations were largely cosmetic. In the UK, initially three models were offered, the CL, GL and GTi, all with single wiper and small rear spoiler.
The CL had a 1457cc capacity carburettor engine, four speed gearbox and 155×13 tyres. The CL specification included cloth interior, laminated glass, rear wash/wipe, heated rear window and three speed heater fan.
The GL was powered by a 1588cc 70bhp carburettor engine with a 4+E (E for ‘economy’) and 175/70×13 tyres on 5 inch alloy wheels. In addition to the CL it was equipped with fog lamps inboard of the main headlamps, headlamp washers, seat height adjusters, internally adjustable door mirrors and velour interior.
The GTi was launched with the 1588cc 110bhp fuel injection engine with a top speed of 117mph, surpassing the contemporary Golf GTi. Standard equipment included an oil to air cooler, ventilated brake discs, anti-roll bars front and rear, five speed sporting ratio gearbox, 5.5×13 ‘nine spoke’ alloy wheels, sports seats and oil temperature gauge. Unlike the GL the inner lamps on the GTi were additional high beams, with fog lamps hung under the bumper. The GTi was also identified by the legend ‘SCIROCCO’ lettering underneath the spoiler on the rear screen.
In 1983 the Scirocco was given the new range of higher torque engines from VAG and increased specification: the CL gained the 1595cc 75bhp engine, 4+E gearbox and 175/70 tyres; the GL the 1781cc 90bhp unit, anti-roll bars and alloy wheel width was increased to 5.5 inches; and the GTi the 1781cc 112bhp fuel injected engine. The GTi also gained a tilt/slide sunroof, split folding rear seat and MFA computer that monitored average mileage, journey time, oil temperature and external ambient temperature amongst other things. The oil temp gauge was therefore changed to a volt meter on the GTi. Late 1983 also saw the introduction of two windscreen wipers replacing the mono wiper across the entire range.
In 1984 VW UK decided to revive the Scirocco Storm trim level, continuing the tradition from the Mk1. 600 limited models were built, 300 in Cosmos Blue and 300 in Havana Brown specified with the 1781cc GTi engine, electric windows, leather interior and full carpeting (again including the boot) in either blue or tan respectively, 6×14″ alloy wheels and a larger rear spoiler and colour coded bodykit styled by Zender.
1984 was also the year when adjustments were made to the floor pan of the Scirocco and Golf Cabriolet enabling the fitment of a larger 55 litre petrol tank (replacing the 40 litre tank carried since 1974), increasing the range of the vehicles. From this point forward the spare wheel was of the space-saver type rather than a full size wheel.
The first of the model revamps were introduced in 1985. The CL became the GT and the GL the GTL, both with minor adjustments to trim and equipment and revised interior patterns. The GTi was rebranded GTX and fitted with the Storm Zender bodykit in matt black rather than colour coded, 14″ Avus wheels and darkened rear lamps. The GTX also had a spoiler that was styled by Zender, but not as big as the spoiler carried on the Storm. The GTX carried over the equipment levels from the GTi with the addition of boot wheel arch liners.
1986 witnessed the Zender bodykit in black and large rear spoiler being adopted across the range. The GT also gained 14″ steel wheels shod with 185/60 tyres, inner high beams and fog lamps. The GTX wheels were replaced with 14″ P-slot alloy wheels. The GTL was deleted.
In the same year the left hand drive only Scirocco GTX 16v was released. Ten were officially imported into the UK. This special car was fitted with then brand new 1781 139bhp 16 valve engine backed with upgraded spring and dampers, rear disc brakes and front lower strut brace, acknowledging the weak pint of the A1 chassis on which all Sciroccos and Mk1 Golf hatchbacks and Cabriolets are based. Central locking and electric windows were fitted as standard to the GTX 16v and it was identified by twin exhaust pipes and discreet 16v badging ob the B pillars, the rear hatch and glovebox lid.
The 1781cc carburettor engine was re-introduced in 1987 for the Scirocco Scala which was fitted as standard with the GTi gearbox, optional sunroof, 14″ Avus alloy wheels, and full colour coding including the bodykit, mirrors, interior and even the alloy wheel inner spokes. Initially the Scala was offered in two colours, Paprika Red or Alpine White, expanded in 1988 with Helios Blue Metallic or Sapphire Metallic, again with matching sport seat upholstery and door card inserts. The GTX, for the 1988 model year was also blessed with a colour coded bodykit and 14″ Le Castallet alloy wheels.
The Scirocco range was rationalised in 1989. The Scala moved up to replace the GTX, available in a greater range of colours and gaining the 1781cc injection engine and split/folding rear seat but not the voltmeter or the boot liners. Sunroofs and central locking were optional extras. The GT became the GT2, upped in power to the carburettor 1781cc 90bhp engine and sporting the full colour coded bodykit and mirrors and had interiors of sports seats shod in ‘designer check’ understated tartan (the Scala was also sold with this interior from 1990 onward) These two models continued by sold side by side with the new VW Corrado (the styling of which was an amalgam of both Mk1 and Mk2 Sciroccos) but demand for cleaner engines and more safety features ensured that the Mk2 would bow out shortly -the Scala was deleted in 1991 whilst the GT2 continued until the middle of 1992, the final bunch of cars carrying electric windows and central locking as standard.
Mk2 are a more refined drive in standard form than a Mk1, more of a tourer to the Mk1′s B-road cheekiness. That said, the Mk2 is no slouch either and is a more engaging drive than a contemporary Golf, particular in fuel injected form. The driving position is low down and there is plenty of room for the taller driver. All controls are easily to hand and the throttle response is light whilst the gearing is precise. Room in the back seat is limited, but the boot is fairly generous.
Headlamps can be a bit poor on dipped beam due to voltage drop but they can be improved by fitting relays to improve the voltage.
Engines are shared with thousands of other vehicles from the VAG range, so are of good pedigree and long lasting. The straight four 8-valve Scirocco engine can run well into 100,000 miles before a major overhaul is necessary. Long life is made easier by regular oil and filter changes (around every 5000 miles). Oil filters should have a non return valve -genuine VW filters always do.
Bottom ends are extremely strong and only fail in isolated cases. The cylinder heads are similarly hard wearing but can often suffer from valve-stem oil seal failure, identified by blue tinted smoke from the exhaust. Mk2′s until mid 1984 have solid lifter tappets which can make their presence known by become noisy and clattery, regular oil changes will help to keep them in check but adjustment or replacement is possible with the right tools. Post mid 1984 the tappets were hydraulic. The Cambelt should be checked every 5000 miles and replaced every 60,000 miles. Maintenance is fairly straightforward with most service parts easily accessed. The cylinder head and oil sump can be removed with the engine in situ. Routine servicing should be carried out around every 6000 miles.
Check all coolant items. The radiator should be in good shape with little damage to the fins and not leaking. All hoses should be free of splits. Hoses are easy to obtain and replace. Water pumps are usually hard wearing but can fail, look for telltale crystalised coolant around the outlets and coolant weeping. Thermostats are located at the bottom of the water pump. Antifreeze should contain corrosion inhibitors and be used all year round, with flushing and refilling every three to five years depending on vehicle usage.
Up until mid 1984, exhaust manifolds are connected to a downpipe via six bolts, ensuring that replacing a downpipe is fairly straightforward. Post mid 1984 VW decided to clamp the manifold in place with two clips, which can be a nightmare to replace without the correct tool. Genuine VW systems are long lasting and the system itself consists of a downpipe, a middle box, an over-pipe that clears the rear axle and a rear box. Connections, clamps and rubber hangers ensure easy replacement. Manifolds do have a reputation for cracking but this may be exaggeration in practice.
Transmission and Drive Gear
The four and five speed rod-change gearboxes are well documented to be very hardwearing. Synchromesh can be a tad stiff with first and second gears from cold but should be ok once the car has warmed up. If persistent, a gearbox rebuild may be on the cards. Sloppy gear change can be rectified by replacing the nylon bushes that are at the pivot points of the selector rods. This is an easy DIY job. Clutches can last beyond 70,000 miles and well into 100,000 miles. A slipping clutch will be the most obvious sign that it needs replacing but a crunchy reverse selection may be a sign of poor clutch adjustment.
Automatic gearboxes should engage smoothly and the kick-down be operational. Jerky or hesitant up-shifts are indicative that the auto-box is on the way out and a rebuild will be very expensive whilst second hand boxes can be difficult to track down.
Driveshafts are long lasting and it is an unlucky owner that snaps a driveshaft. Telltale ‘clicking’ on full steering lock will indicate worn CV joints. CV boots and track rod ends demand visual inspection for splits and perishing. Worn wheel bearing will make themselves known by a low droning noise that will get worse.
Its worth mentioning here that clutch cables can pull through the bulkhead on RHD cars. Though inconvenient, repair panels are available.
Brakes are typical of the period but not as poor as the reputation of VWs of this era suggests. Contemporary reviews of the vehicles often praised the braking system, and criticism came later as the Mk2 Scirocco and Golf Cabriolet carried the design into the early 1990s.
Brakes consist of 239mm discs on the front with a floating calliper. Early carburettor cars have solid brake discs, whilst fuel injection models have ventilated better performing discs. The ventilated discs were fitted to later 1781cc Scala and GT2. Front pads can wear rapidly and callipers can occasionally seize if not looked after. Drums are at the rear and must be removed to inspect the condition of the rear shoes and cylinders. Rear cylinders can weep and in extreme cases seize -if this is the case the rear drums will be very hot. All GTX 16v cars had rear discs.
Fluid is taken to the front callipers and rear cylinders via hard lines and flexy hoses. A full inspection should be undertaken at least yearly to make sure that the flexy hoses are not perished and that the hardlines are not terminally rusty. The brake lines are carried underneath the car next to the chassis strengtheners.
On RHD cars the pedal is connected to the brake servo and master cylinder via a cross linkage -this can be a weak spot and adjustment can help dial out some of the sloppiness of the brakes. The braking system can be upgraded on all Mk2 cars, but the first act should be to replace discs, pads, shoes drums and cylinders and replace the fluid to reinvigorate a vehicle with poor performing brakes. You will be surprised at how much difference this actually makes.
Suspension and steering
Suspension consists of Macpherson struts with wishbones at the front and trailing arms at the rear. Springs can snap is rusty and the dampers are oil or gas filled. Make sure the formers are not leaking. Check the suspension top mounts for signs of fatigue, if they are hard and brittle and the car crashes on bumps then its time to replace them. Rear top mounts have a much easier time and very rarely need replacing.
The suspension can be invigorated by replacing the top mounts and the wishbone and rear axle beam bushes. The bushes do have a shelf life and take a lot of punishment. Replacements are cheap and wishbones can be purchased already bushed, otherwise a press is required to remove and refit the wishbone bushes. Rear beam pivot bushes will always require a press to replace them. Bushes can be upgraded to poly replacements if originality is not hugely important.
The Mk2 was criticised for the dampers being too soft to cope with the overhang of the Mk2 body compared to the Mk1, affecting handling. This can be dealt with by fitting uprated dampers and springs and a front lower strut brace -standard on the GTX 16v.
Steering should be light and precise on the move and it is worth checking wheel alignment and tracking before consigning the rack to the bin. The rack itself is long lasting but if steering is sloppy it may need replacing. Steering rack mounting bushes can also perish and will benefit from being replaced. No UK specification Mk2s left the factory with power steering.
Petrol consumption figures are quite frugal, even in the injected models. 35mpg is easily achievable, meaning not much of a headache at the pumps. All Mk2s will run on unleaded petrol. Most owners recommend putting super unleaded in these older cars as the higher octane rating is kinder to the engines.
When buying a Mk2 Scirocco, always try to ensure that the car is started from cold. If it hesitates to fire up and idle smoothly during warm up suspect the carburettor or on injection models the cold start valve (5th injector). On carb models the original auto-choke Pierburg units can become troublesome with age and many vehicles have had their replaced with the simpler and more efficient Weber carburettor with a manual choke. Both carb and fuel injection models should idle at around 900rpm once past the warm-up period. Misfiring on fuel injected cars is more likely to be tired spark plugs or faulty HT leads rather than injection system problems.
Throttle response should be smooth and without resistance -if it isn’t smooth inspect the condition of the cable and the mechanism at the carb or throttle body.
The Mk2 inherited a weak link of the Mk1 fuel sytem- the metal filler neck which runs from the rear quarter to the tank. Due to the proximity of the wheel arch this area is a notorious rust trap as the rear wheel throws salt and muck and road debris against the filler neck enabling corrosion to take hold and eventually pit the neck with holes, leading to contamination of the fuel. If the car suffers from intermittent stalling or does not pick up speed beyond 2000rpm then immediately investigate the fuel system for signs of contamination. On carburettor cars this can be identified by a visual inspection of the fuel filter in the engine bay or by lifting the inspection panel on the tank (see below). Also trace the entire filler neck with your hand under the wheel arch and feel for holes or large rust scabs. Do the same checks for injection cars but be aware that contamination of rust in the injection system can render the fuel distributor and injectors next to useless. However, this is less documented with Mk2s as the car was better protected from corrosion than the Mk1.
Mk2 fuel tanks are made of metal so can succumb to rusting, especially if the car has been off the road for a long period of time. The exposed underside of the tank can be visually inspected from underneath the car whilst the internals can be looked at by removing the inspection panel and fuel sender under the back seat. Again, this will also indicate a rusty filler neck. Fuel lines that are contaminated will need to be blown through with compressed air to clear any obstructions. The post mid-1984 larger 55 litre tank is more troublesome than the early 40 litre tanks and can rust along its seams, weeping fuel next to the hot exhaust. If you suspect a leaking tank change it immediately.
Fuel lines can succumb to rust also, so check thoroughly, especially underneath the car. The lines are next to the chassis strengtheners (driver side on UK cars).
Bodywork and exterior
Mk2s are much better built than Mk1 Sciroccos so if you come across a very rusty Mk2 then its either had a very hard and neglected life or its been poorly repaired in the past. There is plenty of choice of Mk2 Scirocco as they were of a build quality better than many of their contemporaries and due to the prices tended to be bought new by well healed buyers who looked after their cars.
Panel and door gaps should be even, misaligned panels may be because of accident damage. Doors can drop with age but this is rectified by a few shims. Although well applied with corrosion protection the Mk2 Scirocco’s rust traps are the rear wheel arches, just forward of the arches on the sills, the seam where the outer sill meets the floor panels, door bottoms and the inside bottom lip of the hatch. Bodykits can be a rust trap, especially around the rear arches so make sure to inspect all of the rear arches thoroughly and at all points where the bodykit meets the metalwork, particularly front and rear panels. Leading edges of bonnets can suffer with rust scabs due to stone chips as can front panels on non-kitted cars.
Check the rear beam mounting points thoroughly, this is an exposed and vital part of the car. Major rust here can be terminal or very expensive and time consuming to fix.
Sunroofs should operate freely, a resistant sunroof may just need its mechanism oiling. Check the condition of the sunroof seal and the drain holes to make sure they are not blocked. If they are water will stain the headlining and corrode the sunroof channel.
Bumpers should be square, sagging bumpers may be signs of a shunt or simply improper fitting -check here. Due to the lowness of the fog lamps they can often get caught on high kerbs and pushed back, denting the front panel.
Interiors are generally durable and hardwearing. Seats can wear at their bolsters, especially the sports seats fitted to GTi, Storm, Scala and GT2 models. With the Scirocco Storm check that the leather is in good condition throughout the car as repairs can be expensive. Seats in other models generally wear hardily, with only the upper portion of the back seats succumbing to sun bleaching. Occasionally the tilt mechanism of the seats can be rendered inoperable due an internal wire coming loose or snapping. This is fairly easy to fix. Rear seats should be in very good shape, Sciroccos rarely carry passengers in the back!
Dashboards crack at the heater vents at the top surface but are otherwise sound, whilst carpets will only really be damaged by water ingress to the cabin which on Mk2 can be a problem as the bottom corners of the windscreen is prone to letting water in. Make sure to smell for a musty odour in the footwells and feel for a damp carpet to detect this.
Check that all electrics work and that the heater fan operates its three speeds. Check that the heater blows hot air, the valve in the engine bay can be at fault.
Water can ingress from the rear lamps, perished boot seal, windscreen corners and sunroof so check all over. Water can also get in if the plastic membrane behind the door card is damaged or missing.
In the boot check the boot check the rear chassis legs where the bumper bolts up for signs of previous impact damage.
Service items are readily available from VW dealers and aftermarket suppliers such as GSF and are generally inexpensive.
Mechanical components are shared by Volkswagens (and some Audi) of similar vintage and of later vehicles up until about 1991 so are very easy to source and again are generally available from VW dealers and aftermarket suppliers. Fuel tanks can be obtained off the shelf but filler necks are unique to the Mk2 so are dealer part only and expensive.
Body panels, seals and the like are available from both VW and the aftermarket. Floor and lower chassis panels for early Mk2s are the same (or very similar) to Mk1 Golfs up to 1984 so can be easily sourced, similar for post 84 Sciroccos that are the similar to the Cabriolet in boot floor sections. As VW slowly delete items of their past, trim and some spares are getting difficult to find. Scrap cars, parts hoarders and occasional motor factor clear-outs are the only way of finding these parts at present.