Build or Buy: Minty Jetty

Looking for a minty-fresh, untouched time capsule? You’re probably going to pay big bucks. And if it’s on bringatrailer.com, you know it will go for mucho dinero. But if you are willing to put in a little work, you can have a survivor car for a lot less dough. So do you build, or do you buy?

Article: 1989 Volkswagen Jetta GL Wolfsburg Edition
Argument: Buy

You may have seen this car already, as it’s making the social media rounds, but take another look at this 1989 MK2 Jetta. With only 49,000-ish miles, it looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor. And since it has lived in the Pacific Northwest all its life there’s not a spot of rust on the car.

It has a 1.8-liter engine mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission. It has a new exhaust system and has been serviced recently. The Star Blue Metallic paint appears to be in excellent condition, but the car was in an accident at some point, so who knows how much is original.

But here’s the thing with cars like this; the auction will probably rise substantially tomorrow, and while there’s no denying it’s in phenomenal condition, it’s just a Jetta. And an automatic one at that. Let me tell you, I have a 1989 Jetta GL with the same engine and transmission (and 71,000 miles), and it’s fun to drive in an “I’m driving an old car” but it’s not at all thrilling.

If the auction on bringatrailer.com ends Monday night for less than $7000, it *might* be a good deal. If you’re interested, bid now as the current offer is $6000. This ’89 Jetta GL is in Tacoma, Washington

Article: 1992 Volkswagen Jetta GL
Argument: Build

If finding a low-mile car isn’t a big deal to you, then take a look at this 1992 Jetta GL. It has nearly three times the amount of miles as the ’89 above. But look how nice it is. The interior is in great shape, the exterior needs a bit of work, but there’s no rust, and it just appears to be in pretty great condition.

This ’92 also has coilovers all around, and it’s riding on a set of sharp-looking Sebring alloy wheels from a Corrado. To top it all off, there’s an honest-to-goodness manual transmission.

Take a look at the ad on Facebook Marketplace. The asking price is a very reasonable $2800. This ’92 Jetta GL is in Belleville, New Jersey.