Thursday, July 27, 2017

Rabbit Out of the Hat: 1984 Volkswagen GTI Mk1

The Mk I GTI was a world changer and showed post fuel crisis world that a front wheel drive, reliable family econobox could be fun.  Its combination of fuel injected engine, manual rack-and-pinion steering, 2000 lb curb weight, and room for your junk put the GTI in a class of its own.  The paradigm is still true today and you don't need a spend a bunch of money to pick up a used GTI.  Find this 1984 Volkswagen GTI Mk1 offered for $3,500 in Boise, ID via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.

From the seller:
This add is for much more than just the car. Please read on.

This is NOT A PROJECT CAR. The project is over, finished. I've been daily driving this car for almost five years and could do so for another ten. Which is why I am moving on to a new project. A much more complicated and expensive project.

The Car:

This car has been in Boise it's whole life except for the three years I took it to Seattle. I have the CarFax from when I bought it I will show you. My guess is it has over 200k miles. But, almost everything that could wear out has and has been replaced.

Cosmetically, the car is almost bone stock. I love working on my cars. But I'm not really into all the buffing/sanding/painting or pulling apart interiors. I like driving a car that looks original, even if it looks old. Or especially if it looks old.
It does have Sparko racing seats that need to be recovered.

Mechanically, this car is less than four years old. I purchased it in November of 2012 and have since replaced, fixed, cleaned, and tuned EVERYTHING. I am a 36yo mechanical engineer, mechanic, and VW enthusiast. This was my eighth vehicle, my fourth VW, and my third GTI (Mk2 and Mk3 previously). I have never owned a vehicle with under 100k and do all of my own work aside from welding exhausts and mounting tires. I would be absolutely confident in loading my entire family into this car and driving it to Florida right this minute.
I cannot even begin to describe the time and money I have put into this car. Whatever system, part, inspection, problem you're thinking about right now. Yes, I've already done it and I used the best parts available. In many cases upgrading to modern components from later year VW 's.
If you're truly interested in this car. Send me your phone number in an email and we can talk about it. The person who buys this car already knows and loves VW's and is looking to showcase their enthusiasm. This car has taught me so much about engines and mechanics and was the cheapest and funnest car to maintain and drive I've ever owned.
The most notable performance upgrades would be the 2 1/4" Stainless Steel catback exhaust with a brand-new CAT and headers from a Mk2, and the Coilover Suspension (ST's, not that Raceland crap).

Let's talk about what else you get:

Three sets of wheels!
Mounted are the period correct Enkie EK83 15" wheels wrapped in 80% life Kumho Ecsta AST tires.
Included are 14" VW Teardrops wrapped in 80% life Hankook iPike w409 snow tires.
Included are 14" VW Snowflakes with worn but usable summer tires.

JH/ABA Engine Build ready to begin:
If you're unaware, you can swap the stock block/crank/pistons with those from a MK3 2.0 and jump the car from the current 85hp to 115hp or so. I have all of the special components needed to start the build in your garage while you're still driving the car! I already purchased an entire second 1.8JH engine, disassembled it and kept all the parts needed.
All you will need are some standard parts such as head gasket, and the block from a Mk3 ($100 at most junk yards). 115hp in a 1500lb Rabbit should be plenty enough to burn the rubber off your tires and it uses all the stock fuel injection transmission and everything.
The most notable of the parts are: Techtonics Tuning Tall Headers and Short Shift kit, Second 1.8JH head from another '84GTI, Knock Sensor Ignition and distributor from a Mk2, and a Mk2 Big Throttle Body.

Tons of brand new parts:
Handles, sensors, water pump, oil filters, urethane bushings, motor mount. Every part for this thing is like $5. So sometimes I'll just go crazy when I'm already paying for shipping just in case I need something.

Tons of used parts:
O20 4K close ration manual transmission
Everything from the second GTI engine minus the block/crank/piston. We're talking injectors, sensors, hose flanges, distributor, complete fuel injection, control box, etc.

Yakima Ski Rack:
Cross Bars, bike attachments, ski attachments, and a 4'x4' basket.

Also, a very very well broken in Bentley factory service manual.

There's no way I've included everything in this post. You'll have to see it to believe it. And all of the spare parts can fit inside a standard closet space. Except for the wheels.

If I can't find the ideal enthusiast to take over the care for this car. I will likely open up an eBay store and start selling off my stock of rare parts. It wouldn't break my heart to just moth-ball the car at my father's house either. As I'm sure a few years dorking around with computer controlled vacuum systems and engine mapping will make me yearn for the world of the Mk1 once again.    


  1. FuelTruck has been on a hot streak with the tips lately. This looks like a good deal on a fun car, not even counting all the extra parts.

  2. I like it and it's roof rack.

    I put so much stuff on my rack. You should see the look at the lumber yard when my lowered 330i pulls out with 12' posts on the roof.

    1. just don't be this guy

  3. gotta wonder what car he's switching to - "much more complicated and expensive" - "computer controlled vacuum systems and engine mapping" - a 928?

  4. Hey guys! Seller here.

    Thanks for all your fandom. I really have loved this car and am apprehensive about letting it go. Unfortunately, most of the interest so far has come from 17yo's who don't have much appreciation for all of the work which has been done or the parts that are included. Money talks, but I'm not sure I want to see this car running around town with a rattle-can paint job and one of those Pikachu-tail looking exhaust exits.

    Great guesses on the 928 and 996. Both of those have been on my short list at times. The "computer controlled vacuum system" is in reference to my previous venture away from VW and into European "Luxury" land. The car that drove me to go low-tech and buy the Rabbit. It was a 2003 Audi Avant 1.8T 5-speed. I can't say it was a bad car. But for some reason I hated it.

    The car I intended to replace the Rabbit with was an E46 M3. But being that I needed a daily driver for Idaho and don't park in a garage. I decided to go conservative and purchased a 2004 BMW 330i ZHP with 122k on it. This car might give me the confidence and knowledge of the platform to enter the M3 market in the future.
    I've only owned the 330i for a few weeks and have already replaced about $500 worth of broken things and about $1000 worth of non-broken things in the name of "preventative maintenance". I do like the car though. I never thought I could love a standard 3-series, but the ZHP is just sexy enough to quench my M3 lust.

    1. Thanks for chiming in. Really cool to hear from the seller.
      Yes I lust after owning a e46 M3 and a e39 M5 but right now my 330i slicktop m/t is the best I can do.

      There is a lot that breaks on the e46 but fortunately it is fairly easy and inexpensive to work on.
      The ZHP is awesome congrats!
      PS, get a roof rack to make it a truck

    2. Why not put it on that order of Chiroptera site and avoid the flat brimmers?


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