Junkyard Gem: 2006 Volkswagen GTI


Remember when Volkswagen of America ran its “Unpimp ze Auto” series of television commercials (Peter Stormare ftw! -Hurd), showing furious and presumably fast tuner cars (a Mitsubishi Eclipse, Honda Civic and Ford Focus) being destroyed by a Swede representing the engineers of Deutschland? Let’s all watch them again, because they never get old even after 18 years.

The car being advertised as being far superior to any backyard-built front-wheel-drive hot rod of the mid-2000s was the 2006 Volkswagen GTI, and that’s exactly what we’ve got for today’s Junkyard Gem.

25 2006 Volkswagen Golf GTI in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

Volkswagen has applied the GTI label to many heated-up models since the Golf GTI and its Scirocco GTI cousin first hit German streets in 1976, including the Gol and Polo, but only the Golf version has ever been offered in the United States. Back when the Golf was known as the Rabbit here, the first GTIs hit American showrooms as 1983 models.

Despite having just 90 horses under the hood, the Mk1 Rabbit GTI was great fun and quickly established a cult following here. Remember, even the legendary (and significantly heavier) AE86 Toyota Corolla GT-S had a mere 112 horsepower in U.S.-market trim, so power numbers from that era can be deceiving when we look at them through 21st-century eyes.

43 2006 Volkswagen Golf GTI in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

Volkswagen ditched the Rabbit name when the Mk2 Golf showed up in the United States as a 1985 model. Because there were no GTI versions of other VWs sold here, the GTI could be sold without Golf badging by VWoA. Thanks to the devoted enthusiast following for GTIs of any generation, these cars are not easy to find in car graveyards; prior to today’s car, I’d documented just a handful of examples of the Mk2 GTI and Mk4 GTI in such places.

32 2006 Volkswagen Golf GTI in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

Just to confuse everybody, both Mk4 and Mk5 GTIs were sold as 2006 models. This one is a genuine Mk5, also known as the 2006 New GTI.

19 2006 Volkswagen Golf GTI in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

This car is much heavier than its 1983 ancestor (3,308 pounds versus 1,918 pounds), but it has a better power-to-weight ratio thanks to this turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC engine with direct injection. That’s 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet, with each horse pulling 16.54 pounds (the ’83 Rabbit GTI placed 21.31 pounds on each horse). Yes, cars just keep getting heavier. Want to know how much the 1983 Chevrolet Monte Carlo weighed with the optional V8 engine? 3,236 pounds.

11 2006 Volkswagen Golf GTI in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

By the middle 2000s, Americans had already spent a good 40 years falling out of love with manual transmissions, but the original buyer of this car chose the six-on-the-floor. We are now living in the final model year of three-pedal GTIs here, according to Volkswagen.

35 2006 Volkswagen Golf GTI in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

This car appears to be in very nice condition for its age, with a pretty decent interior and mostly straight and solid sheet metal.

61 2006 Volkswagen Golf GTI in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

There’s a bit of decay around the rear glass, nothing serious. We can assume that some costly mechanical problem sent it to a yard just south of the Denver city limits.

66 2006 Volkswagen Golf GTI in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

This appears to be a sticker for Iron Lung Records of Seattle.

60 2006 Volkswagen Golf GTI in Colorado wrecking yard photo by Murilee Martin

No place to go… except the scrapper, once it’s done here!

Make friends with your fast.

The “make friends with your fast” campaign wasn’t as much fun as the “Unpimp ze Auto” one, in my opinion. You got a little GTI Fast Demon toy when you bought the car, though.



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