Find of the Day: MK3 with a 6

It’s amazing what three additional digits can do to a 90’s era Volkswagen. Enthusiast know when they see “VR6” on the back of any VW, they’re looking at a special car. That little six cylinder engine, crammed into the space of an inline four, transforms a basic automobile into something entirely different. The VR6 engine completely reshaped the Corrado and the Passat with just two additional cylinders. And the Mk3 GTI went through a similar metamorphosis.

Both the first and second generation GTIs garnered praise from auto journalists and buyers. These little cars packed a ton of fun in small package and are sought after by collectors today. Curiously, when Volkswagen brought the Mk3 Golf-with-sporting-intentions to the United States they left out one important piece of the puzzle: performance. The GTI featured the same 2.0-liter engine used in the standard Golf. In its third iteration, the GTI was a shell of its former self.

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VW pumped up the performance in 1995 when it dropped the smooth and grunty VR6 into the nose of the car, added proper suspension enhancements, larger wheels with stickier rubber, and Recaro-like sport seats. Now this was a real GTI. And auto journalists stood up and took notice: they heaped praise on the silky smooth engine and the precise handling. The GTI was back and better than ever.

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This particular GTI VR6 is especially nice. With a tick less than 100,000 miles, there’s still lots of life left in the 2.8L engine. The seller has made a number of enhancements to the car: adjustable Koni struts, Neuspeed springs, Magnaflow exhaust, and much more. On top of the performance bits, there’s a long list of recently completed service work: a stack of paperwork is included in the sale. The ad states everything on the car works, including the air conditioning.

This 1996 GTI VR6 can be found on eBay. The current bid is $3050 and the reserve has not been met. The auction ends Sunday.