Volkswagen Polo MK II (1981 – 1994)

The Volkswagen Polo MK II was re-bodied in 1981 as a practical all rounder ideal for the commute to work or simply taking a trip to the local super market, all though it seemed to have lost its looks somewhat with the loss of the Bertone styled body work of the 1ST generation.

The flip side, having said this after the introduction of the 2nd generation Polo and the bread van design vertical tail gate came the coupe version in 1983 with its sloping rear end along with more power with the 1043cc engine replaced by the 1093cc version.

The flip side, having said this after the introduction of the 2nd generation Polo and the bread van design vertical tail gate came the coupe version in 1983 with its sloping rear end along with more power with the 1043cc engine replaced by the 1093cc version.

In 1985 the first sporting Polo was launched as a coupe GT with servo assisted brakes, sports seats and a rev counter and 1987 saw the GT G40 supercharged with an output of 114 bhp.

In 1990 we see the Polo getting a facelift with a new face sporting square headlights along with this came the Polo GT with multi point injection system not quite an official GTI but still capable of 0 to 60mph in 11 seconds. We finally see as a full production model the G40 re-appearing and topping 150mph with vented disc brakes and lower suspension. The VW Polo has stood the test of time and is still going today in its 6th generation and is set to continue for more generations to come.

Buyers Guide

  • There are plenty of VW Polo’s around and prices are low as unlike its big brother the Golf it surprisingly hasn’t really hit the classic car scene just yet. This will no doubt change in the near future but as prices remain relatively low take your time when looking for a potential classic to invest in.
  • Corrosion is of course a problem with most cars from the early eighties although the VW Polo handles the rust quite well but do check all areas including the door bottoms and front bib. The Sump pan can rust especially if the engine has been steam cleaned as this washes away roof proofing. Cam belts need changing every 36,000 to 40,000 miles or every 4 years so check documented history. Run the car until the cooling fan kicks in and then check for any leaking.
  • Most Polo’s of this age will leak oil and it’s usually from the gearbox so check here for leaks as well. Check the clutch, you’re testing for a smooth light action any roughness in the pedal action or noise from the release bearing could mean trouble. The polo is hard on front discs so be sure to check what’s left on them also check door handles as thieves will have rammed a screw driver between the handle and body work to get in.
  • Interiors are hard wearing so make sure there are no bad signs of over wear there shouldn’t be and wheels may not be original which is common due to the vehicles age.

Volkswagen Polo II


Years Produced1981-1994
Performance0-60 mph 12.4 sec / Top Speed 95 mph
Power & Torque55 bhp / 71 lb ft
Engine1272 cc / four cylinder 8 valves
Drive-trainFront engine FWD
TransmissionFour speed manual
Weight740 kg



Interesting Fact

In 1992 VW released a limited number of special edition Polo’s, with special trim and a G40 engine and suspension. The “Genesis” G40 was made to special order only. A single right hand drive example found its way to the UK. This one-off model was a competition prize when the VW-sponsored Genesis tour reached its UK leg.

Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director Says:

“The VW Polo was the budget car to buy back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s with the build quality of the formidable Golf just a little smaller. These original hatchbacks seem to have fallen off the classic car radar for no apparent reason. Let’s hope they finally get recognised for what they are and that is the start of the hatch back era in the eighties.)”

mark says

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