A Teacher’s 15-Year Search for His Old Volkswagen Golf GTI

It’s common enough to watch a movie where a driver feels a genuine bond with their vehicle. This happens in the real world as well. In fact, a Volkswagen Golf GTI inspired one man to take a new career path that he never thought possible.

That wasn’t the full story, however. The truth is that after selling his 1995 Golf GTI, this man realized he made a mistake and turned to his friends to locate the car that got away.

Volkswagen has a history of making iconic cars

A 1995 Volkswagen Golf GTI model parked near grassy hills
1995 Volkswagen Golf GTI | Volkswagen of America, Inc.

VW has been around for a long time now. In fact, it was originally founded on May 28, 1937, in Germany. It played a major role in Germany’s economic recovery after WWII and soon became a household name amongst car enthusiasts. 

Since that time, Volkswagen has continued to make progress and it consistently pushes the boundaries of what cars can do. It developed the iconic Beetle, which inspired the game ‘Punch Bug’, where people lightly tap others on the shoulder when they see a Volkswagen Beetle. Other notable models include the Scirocco, the Passat, and the Jetta.

Outside of the Beetle, one of the most famous of all is the Volkswagen Golf GTI. After it first hit dealership floors in 1976, the Golf GTI quickly became one of Volkswagen’s most popular vehicles, and it even changed one man’s life for the better.

One Volkswagen Golf GTI changed a teacher’s life

Who knew a Volkswagen could inspire a teacher to start a new career and help him find the love of his life? Yet that’s exactly what happened when a teacher from Detroit bought a 1995 Volkswagen Golf GTI, according to VW Media.

It started simply enough. Andres Valbuena bought the VW Golf GTI to travel back and forth to work. He became fascinated with his Golf GTI and began driving it to autocross events in his spare time. At one of these events, he met another auto lover who spoke Spanish, and the two became friends. 

Valbuena began working in his friend’s auto shop and picked up quite a bit about autos during his spare time. This led to him meeting other auto enthusiasts, which opened the door for him to apply for a job as a technical writer for Volkswagen of America. Valbuena later went on to work as a product specialist, as well as a product launch manager for the 2012 Beetle.

After driving the Golf GTI to Asheville, North Carolina, where he proposed to his soon-to-be wife, Valbuena eventually sold his beloved Golf GTI and went on to purchase more Volkswagen models. However, the car that started him on a new path in life kept tugging at him, and he decided that he wanted it back. 

After reaching out to some friends, he found his old Volkswagen Golf GTI and was able to purchase it. The Golf GTI required a lot of work to fix up, but to Valbuena, it was worth it.

Will the new Volkswagen Golf GTI inspire more fond memories?

It’s certainly possible. Good Housekeeping picked the 2021 Golf GTI as a great family car, and the 2022 model has definitely kicked it up a notch since then. The new 2022 Volkswagen GTI will doubtless lead to lots of great family memories.

Thanks to its upgraded performance, the 2022 Golf GTI will have an entertaining ride. It’s built on the same platform as the Mk7, so this should give you an idea of what it can do. The EA888 turbocharged 2.0-liter Inline-four engine generates 242 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, so drivers won’t feel like they’re left sitting at a red light while everyone else is surging past. 

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