Junkyard Gem: 2000 Volkswagen GTI

Complete with the very rare Tropic Orange factory paint.

  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
The fourth-generation Volkswagen Golf was sold in North America starting in the 1999 model year, and of course I walk by plenty of Mk4 Golfs during my junkyard travels without photographing them, for the same reason I don't photograph Kia Rios or Ford Freestyles. However, a GTI version is more interesting, so I shot this '00 in a Denver self-service wrecking yard.

The screaming orange color looked factory and seemed odd, so I did some research and learned that this car is one of perhaps a few hundred 2000 GTIs sold in the color VW called Tropic Orange. Here's yet another example of rare not equaling valuable.

The car's VIN tag decoded to a GTI GLS 1.8T, complete with this turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 150 horsepower. GTI shoppers also had the option of a 115-horse naturally-aspirated 2.0 and a 175-horse VR6.

The 1.8T with the standard-issue 5-speed manual made these cars great fun to drive... but the original purchaser of this car voted against fun and for two pedals.

The digital odometer means that we can't know how many miles were on this car when it arrived at its final parking space.

The interior looks good and the body is quite straight, so my guess is that this isn't a quarter-million-mile veteran of a 100-mile daily commute. It seems strange that it didn't get snapped up at auction before being sentenced to this fate, but a near-20-year-old German car often scares prospective buyers.

This car was like... a dog desperate to get outside? Or does the dog represent the GTI owner? Or the stoplight?

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