WHY IT’S RAD!
Though introduced just a year behind its big brother Golf in 1975, not a single variant of VW's venerable Polo has ever been sold new here in the US; not a three-door, not a five-door, and not a, er, Variant, as estate versions were marketed. This Mk3 example is a 1999, and is offered by the same seller as the 1996 Mk3 Harlequin also currently live on R4S here. As hinted at by its markings, the little wagon has a fascinating history including delivery from new to Greenland, where for many years it served a contractor on Thule Air Force Base.
Believed to be one of only four Mk3 Polo Variants in the US legally, this car was built by VW subsidiary SEAT in Martorell, Spain to an endearingly minimal, functional spec, with highlights including manual steering, windows, locks, and a 1.9 liter, non-turbo diesel/5-speed manual drivetrain combo. Heated seats might seem an unusual luxury, until you realize Thule is 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
As detailed in this VW Vortex restoration thread, the car was imported missing several key components including its engine. Though plans once included swapping in a 1.8T, the car has since been reunited with a correct 1.9 non-turbo diesel unit. Though it'd have been quite a sleeper with 180+ HP, ultimately we think the car's honest, utilitarian vibe is better served by the torquey and robust ~70 HP SDI.
Bodywork is described as mostly original and decent overall despite the presence of various dings and scrapes scattered around the car, as well as some mild rust spots on opening panels. Corrosion is reportedly cosmetic only, and the seller insists that the car is very solid underneath. A Thule roof rack has been added, and the key is included.
The interior presents similarly, and remains entirely stock including funky pattenred factory upholstery and OEM cassette deck. The cargo area looks surprisingly commodious, and includes a handy cabin separator. All lights and accessories are said to remain fully functional.
Recent work included professional fitment of new axles and CV boots, brake pads, rotors, and lines, water pump, timing belt, and more, as well as flushing and replacing of all fluids. All work is detailed in extensive documentation, new tires will be fitted prior to sale, and the car is said to start, run and drive very well despite a mild exhaust rattle at idle. Sale includes a spare gauge cluster, Bilstein struts and extra springs.
Thule roof rack
1.9 liter SDI diesel 4cyl
5-speed manual transmission
Heated front seats
Largely original, scruffy exterior