Build or Buy: MK3 VR6 GTI

Are itching for VR6 power in a lightweight and practical hatchback? Well look no further: here are two very nice MK3 GTIs with that wookie power under the hood. But you’re faced with one big question: do you build or buy your GTI?

Argument: Buy
Article: 1997 GTI VR6 Driver’s Edition

The ’97 Driver’s Edition (DE) GTI was the pinnacle of the MK3 generation. It came with, of course, Volkswagen’s legendary narrow-angle six-cylinder engine that produced copious amounts of horsepower, torque, and wonderful growly noises. To the for-1997-only DE, VW added red brake calipers and color-latched stitching on the leather steering wheel, shift boot, and handbrake. Looking back this was a little foreshadowing of the interior upgrade in store for the MKIV models.

This 1997 GTI DE is one of only 200 Jazz Blue models. The blue-stitched shift boot and handbrake lever are still present; the owner swapped in a blue-stitched European steering wheel. The car has other modifications like black leather Recaro seats, lowered suspension, BBS wheels, and more.

This Driver’s Edition is a no-reserve auction on bringatrailer.com. The current bid is $4,664, and the auction ends in a few days. The car is in Harwinton, Connecticut.

Argument: Buy
Article: 1998 GTI VR6

We know this is not a Driver’s Edition car. We searched high and low for a DE, but one didn’t pop up. What we’ve found is a running, driving, and very cheap GTI VR6. How cheap? The current bid is $60. That’s not a typo. Copart.com auction rules state bids can only be in $10 increments, so throw one in for $70.

Being an auction car, there’s little known about this car. It has 168,000 miles, it runs, it drives, it has dents and scratches. Yeah, the trim is worn. And the front grille and filler panel are a strange color. The interior looks quite good; there is a split seam on the driver’s seat. Two bonuses: it sitting on a lowered suspension and aftermarket wheels. Heck, sell the wheels for $100 and you’ve made a profit!

If you’re interested in this non-Driver’s Edition, you’ll need to act fast: the auction ends soon. Take a look at the copart.com listing; the car is in Hayward, California.