Cars You Should Know – "The Jail Car"

The year is 1992. Ted is a Volkswagen enthusiast, and has recently purchased a Giugiaro-designed sport coupe/hatch second hand. He loves the car dearly, and his ambition is to modify it just so, you know, like one of those cars you see on the cover of European Car Magazine. Ted bought those sick 3-spoke wheels, and even gave his lovely coupe an eye-searing laser yellow repaint. In order to get his car *just* right, ready for the lime light, he needs more money. He decides to hold up a liquor store. With a gun.
Unfortunately for Ted, he was apprehended. He was tried. He was convicted. 25 years to life. Fortunately for Ted, he got out with good behavior. His dear sweet mother knew how much he loved that stupid little Scirocco, so she kept it nice for him while he was “living with his new wife in Tokyo”. She kept the car garaged, kept it covered, and once a month she’d start it up, drive it to the car wash, give it a nice spit shine, and bring it back and cover it up again. Annual fluid changes, even. She’s a good mother to Ted. When Ted got home, his beloved VeeDub was waiting for him, just like the day he’d left it. After a few years in the klink, Ted was ecstatic to get back behind the wheel. First stop, Costco. Yee Haw!

Obviously Ted is a fictional character I just made up, but this car is 100% real. My good friend (and podcast co-host) Cam likes to call cars like this “Jail Cars”, because they look like they’re the result of a similar backstory to the one I provided. You know the drill. Guy goes to jail in the mid-1990s. Guy gets out today. Guy’s first words to his friends are “Mini-trucks are still cool, right?”
Either way, I really dig Sciroccos, and the bright yellow paint made this one really hard to miss. I don’t know why I always see the coolest cars with the worst wheels in Costco parking lots. It’s an epidemic.
All photos ©2015 Hooniverse/Bradley C. Brownell, All Rights Reserved.

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  1. Batshitbox Avatar


  2. Manic_King Avatar

    God, I miss those (junkyard finds and other related) ‘tirades’ on [redacted] 1.0. Mr. Graverobber was one of the best contributors in that genre. Any chance to revive this somehow on Hooniverse? TTAC has (had?) Sunday Stories and Crab Spirit Tirades sparsely, would be great to read something similar (i.e. fiction) here sometimes.

    1. Bradley Brownell Avatar
      Bradley Brownell

      I’m glad you liked it. I’ll try to do some more of that, just for you.

  3. Lokki Avatar

    I always loved these cars, but they all vanished (except for this one apparently) long, long ago. I forget – was it the Rust-Monster that got them, or the Engine-Gremlin, or just general VW-ness?

    1. JayP Avatar

      The cost to purchase dipped pretty low when interest in the old VWs dropped and were picked up by people who didn’t consider the cost of ownership. So, yes.

      1. Bradley Brownell Avatar
        Bradley Brownell

        In northern climates, they all rotted away. They’re relatively simple to maintain, so I wouldn’t imagine they’d have too many engine explosions.

  4. bv911 Avatar

    FWIW, don’t think Giugiaro had a hand in these, just the first-gen. And what a hand it was…

  5. Meetzorp Avatar

    i had a Mk1 Scirocco back in the early 2000s, and good lord that car was fun to drive. Had the most sprightly handling of any car I’ve owned to date. While it may not have been a powerful beast, it was the most happy-feeling car. Full to the brim with electrical gremlins, but when it was running, it was a blast.

  6. Jfalcon Avatar

    The term “Jail car” shall be immediately added to my vocabulary.

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