Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Original: 1983 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI

The now iconic Rabbit GTI hatchback helped usher in a post Brougham era into the 1980's.  It is almost laughable to think that a 75 horsepower car could made such a big impact on the auto landscape.  Things like a zippy 4 cylinder engine, slick shifting 5 speed trans, sharp handling, great ergonomics, 60 series tires, and space efficient design were all very difficult to find on any price point cars back in 1983.  The first generation GTI is a sure bet to become a future classic to Generation Xers.  Find this 1983 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI for sale in Northfield, MA for $5,000 via craigslist.

The seller has owned the car for about ten years and has put in a considerable amount of work on the car during that time.  He has been driving it summers the past five years.  The car is described as nice enough to turn heads, but is by no means a show car.  A considerable stash of spare parts are included in the sale- extra transmission, lights, interior pieces, etc.

The engine has been totally rebuilt with rings, bearings, seals, gaskets, and a g-grind cam.  A euro dual outlet manifold helps breathing with a Autotech exhaust and Borla rear muffler.  The period correct and pricey two piece BBS RM wheels are 15x7 and 15x8.  The suspension has been completely reworked with Vmaxx coilovers, poly bushings, bigger rear sway bar, and cross drilled rotors with stainless lines.

The body was fully repainted black.  The antenna, rear wiper, and sunroof were all deleted when the body work was performed.  The floors and windshield sill were replaced.  Despite the clean looking bodywork, the seller makes note that the rocker panels need to be repaired to take the car to the next level.  The pinch weld at the rockers are all rusted away.

See a better old school hot hatch? email

Cory is slowly working on his 1995 Mercedes C36 AMG project and parting out a 1998 Mercedes C43 AMG.


  1. the car that first made me notice real cars, ones i could possibly own, not a countach with paulina lounging on the hood - this one seems great and all, but i'd hold out for one that's more stock

    like this other one on VWVortex - a white 83 with the original 7-point wheels and stance, black golf ball shift knob, 4-dot steering wheel, etc. - $8900 - personally, i'd prefer a black one, but that's a minor matter - FS: 1983 GTI Clean & Original INDY

    [image src="" width="500px"/]

  2. The GTI's were available almost simultaneously, in the European market,with the introduction of both the Golf/Rabbit and Scirocco. I remember being thrilled by how quick an un-airconditioned Scirocco was. Reading Road & Track at the time was frustrating, when we find out about the stats on the European cars. (I think they were listing them as a 110HP equivalent). Man, did we, sellers of VW's in the US, lust after them! We would occasionally get guys into the dealership who were going to be stationed in Germany asking if they could bring one home. We always sent them to the service department so that they could crush their hopes. (At that time, it would have been impossible to get individual parts for them...ah...if only the internet had arrived a few years earlier.)

  3. beautiful wheels and exterior color. had it had a tartan interior, it'd be 10 out of 10.


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