Oettinger VW Golf GTI

The Oettinger VW Golf GTI

A special car has arrived here at Cult Automotive. Not just a nice, restored Mk2 Golf GTI, but a super-rare version fitted with the dealer-fit Oettinger 1800E engine tuning package. Read on for more information about this fantastic little car.

Oettinger has been a name synonymous with modified Volkswagens for some time. Indeed, the company started over 70 years ago, where tuning began with aircooled models before Oettinger made its name with the now ubiquitous Golf GTI. 

The Mk1 Golf GTI combined with Oettinger’s magic humbled expensive executive saloons of the day – even matching acceleration times of the Porsche 928! Following rave reviews from the likes of the famous German publication Sport Auto, the brand started to become known globally as a result. 

More importantly, Oettinger achieved type approval and even carried out testing at Volkswagen’s Ehra Lessin test track. This led to the Oettinger Mk1 GTI being sold officially in the likes of France, complete with manuals and spare parts like any other production model.

Of course, in the 80’s engine tuning was more intensive than today, where current hot hatches simply require an ECU tweak to unlock a bump in power. The Oettinger cars had changes including revised crankshafts for longer stroke, larger bores, flowed cylinder heads, new pistons and valves, as well as revised intakes, manifolds and exhaust systems. 

With the arrival of the Mk2 Golf GTI were quick to give the new Golf the same treatment. There were two options, the 1800E with up to 150bhp and then the enlarged 2000E that achieved 170bhp. From the research we’ve done, there were around 25 cars and in the UK were only available from the now defunct dealerships Scotts of Sloane Square or – in our car’s case – Dovercourt.

We’ve done a lot of research, and even then, it’s hard to know what exactly Oettinger has done to our example here, which is an 1800E 16v. Oettinger took different approaches over time, but our best guess is that there is a different cylinder head, pistons, shorter stroke for higher revs, and significant work on the inlet manifold. The proof is perhaps in the rolling road report that was carried out on this car in 2018, where it made a healthy 157bhp – 7 more than quoted by Oettinger!

Driving the Oettinger today, the car feels brisk with plenty of torque. Weighing in at under 1,000kg, the power-to-weight ratio means even today the Oettinger Mk2 feels quick.

Sadly, our example hasn’t been used much in recent years. It hasn’t been left untouched however, having benefited from a full strip down and respray, and interior restoration. It truly is in amazing condition, and for this writer, a nostalgic trim down memory lane as my mother drove a black GTI back in the early ‘90s. 

Have any more information about the Oettinger models? We’d love to hear from you! 

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