Monday, August 24, 2015

Future Classic: 1983 Volkswagen GTI Mk I

The original gangsta GTI was more than a sporty Volkswagen Golf -- it was a statement from the little German company that have lived for so long on the back of the ancient Beetle -- and that statement was that VW could build a car that was cheap and fun to drive without breaking a sweat.  Find this 1983 Volkswagen GTI Mk I here on eBay bidding for $7,251 reserve-not-met with 1 day to go, located in Portland, ME.

The little front drive GTI was powered by a fuel injected version of the basic Golf 1.8 liter engine that pumps out 110 horsepower and 109 ft-lbs of torque -- but you don't buy this car for the numbers, you buy it for the feeling of that gorgeous red interior on your backside.

This one's claimed to be a Texas car, imported to New England to taunt others who dream of 32-year-old rust free imports (OK, we made that last part up). With original paint, original bordello velour interior, and the feeling of verve that only comes from a lightweight, simple, and well balanced car - this GTI seems like a winner to use on the weekends or as a semi-Daily Turismo.

See another well preserved Mk I GTI for a good price?


  1. HUGE fan of the early GTI. Owned an 85' and it brought more shift banging, corner hugging fun than my previous 80' mustang 2.3l turbo coupe, stick ever did. I have owned around 40 (no kidding) VW's and I always come back to the GTI for seat of the pants fun driving experience. I am trying to talk my wife into getting a decent (see above) version for our 16 year old daughter..... we will see.

    1. iNteloper - what are your thoughts on Mk1 GTI vs. Mk2, assuming you've owned both?

  2. I loved the old GTIs, though the US-built models weren't quite up to the build quality of their German-built predecessors. I probably should have bought one in '83 instead of the Saab 900T I ended up with.

    But at this point I don't particularly want to own another K-Jet car, VW or Saab. Haven't investigated the prospect of a swap, got too much of that kind of thing on my plate as-is.

  3. It was actually 90 hp and about the same amount of torques. I recently owned a stock one for a couple of years - I had really wanted one when they came out, but at 16, I didn't have 8K available to purchase one. It was all about conserving momentum in today's traffic with 300 hp SUV's and (not so) minivans. Also the gearing is short, so you are turning 4,000 rpm at 70, and with that legendary Westmoreland, PA workmanship, the car is buzzing all around you. I was tired by the time I got to work with my 20 mile commute.

    This one needs to lose the Euro bumpers. I think they look silly on US, square headlight cars.

  4. Gianni is spot on. The euro bumpers have to go. The original beefy (manly) US bumpers are not only safer and look better, they are lightweight aluminum. Can't believe the bidding is so high on a red interior non-sunroof car. My 2 84's were white with the more desirable blue interior. One had the cool manual sunroof. They were buzz bombs though and as noted the K-tronic FI system is pretty awful. Lots of fun to be had on a mountain road.


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