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What to do with Polo Openair 1998 1.6 GL Auto Green Metallic 68k miles MOT until Jan 21 but not running

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Bob Wright

Hello there. This is my first posting so I hope this works. I have the above Polo which was bought by my Dad and been in our family all 22 years. It is the rare Openair model with a full length electric sun roof. It received a new MOT in January but since the heavy snow and cold I have not been able to start it. As my wife and I approach our seventies we need to take a long term view and, although this Polo is dear to us, pass it on to a Polo enthusiast who will take it forward. The reason it won’t start may be simple but we are reluctant to spend more money and feel time is right to sell on to an enthusiast who will appreciate the Openair roof. The car has done 68k miles in 22 years and about 3k miles per year for each of last four years on local journeys.

I would appreciate any views on what this Openair might be worth and what is the best way to sell it given the above. Even though not starting today I firmly believe that it has years of life ahead. It is in very original condition and not modified. Even has a radio cassette.

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Thanks for your really helpful response. Bob


Hello and welcome to the clubpolo forum.


It is always difficult to place a value on an older car. Some really desirable feature (sunroof) might be reduced in value by another in the eyes of the prospective purchaser. They might not like the colour green or prefer a manual gearbox, for example. 


That said, Gumtree has two Polo 6N of the same era for sale.



One with smaller 1.4 engine has done 80,000 miles at £750, the other, a 1.6 litre also with a mere 20,500 miles has a £1500 asking price. 


So above the mid-point of these two is my first guess.

But there were only 4000 OpenAir made and summer is on the way so the sunroof is attractive.


Long MOT is a plus. Maybe £1400? Depending on service history and paint condition.


Ask a bit more and someone may haggle down if it is not had dealer services

or new brake fluid and oil and filter every two years or the tyres are getting old, even if not that worn.


But not starting is a minus.


It means a test drive is ruled out (for someone with 3rd party use with permission insurance certificate).

It means the car can't be driven away once sale is completed and will need recovery or a trailer or towing which is a two person job and adds £100.


Cold weather tends to eat old batteries that are discharged.


Perhaps you could

  • Jump start with jump-leads and help from a neighbour's car if battery access possible.
  • Or connect a mains powered trickle charger (about £25) to the battery in place for at least 48 hours (assuming mains extension cable).
  • Or disconnect battery negative lead and charge with a full scale charger (about £40) and mains extension cable. 
  • Or disconnect both leads and remove battery and bring it indoors to well ventilated place to charge.

Alternatively, if it turns out not to be the battery and you can put it all back in place, or you are not at all mechanically inclined, take out breakdown insurance. Either personal cover (as will cover you in any vehicle for a year) or vehicle based, if the Polo is taxed (not SORNed) and insured - making sure the policy covers home start. Wait 24 hours (or more) for the cover to start. Call the breakdown service. You could be charged for any parts they have to supply to perform a get-it-going fix. They might want to recover the Polo to a nearby garage to complete the fix. You can refuse that.


I'd go with a smaller company like AutoAid, Eversure, RescueMyCar.com or Nova Direct for this, who will usually subcontract a local recovery company. 


Hope that helps.


You could put an advert in our For sale section, with some pictures.


The Honest John book, How to Buy and Sell Cars 2000 edition says


New Polo

"A bottle green two door Polo with a sunroof has been described as the 'most middle class car you can buy'. (Bottle green is the right colour and two rather than four doors says it is a second car)"


Somebody might like the shade of green after all.

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