Showroom Condition: 8k Mile 1984 Volkswagen Rabbit

It’s always wild when a time-capsule used car shows up at new car dealership, such as the case with this 1984 Volkswagen Rabbit with under 10,000 miles and listed on a Chicago-area dealer website. Did the little old lady that owned it just stop by on her way home from church and swap this for a new Jetta? Seems impossible but it can happen; also, cars like these are often used as marketing gimmicks by dealers looking to get some more foot traffic into the showroom. Regardless of intent, this super clean Rabbit is listed here on the VW of Chicagoland website for $17,500.

The Rabbit does indeed look like it belongs in a showroom, however, as its condition clearly reflects the lack of use over the years. The bodywork shows no indication of rust repair or accident damage, and the lower pinstripe shows no signs of having been re-done or re-applied following a panel replacement. Wheels and tires look quite fresh as well, with the chrome trim rings on the steel wheel still shining brightly. All glass is crystal clear and taillight lenses look sharp. With the dealer plate on there, it could be a newspaper photo from 1984.

The interior really does drive home just how mint this Rabbit is, with nearly perfect surfaces all the way around. Seats look mint, door panels uncut, and the dash shows no signs of cracking or any other cosmetic defects. The steering wheel even looks like it has barely any use, along with the carpets and floor mats. The automatic is a serious bummer, as these cars were slow enough as it was, but at least it’s not a diesel. Normally, I’d prefer one, but not when saddled with the slushbox.

The VIN tag inside the door likely indicates this is a Westmoreland model, which is a fancy way of saying this Rabbit hails from the era in which Volkswagen chose to build its cars in Pennsylvania. The experiment didn’t achieve resounding success, for a variety of reasons, but it may make this Rabbit more intriguing to enthusiasts who prefer buying examples with a connection to VW’s first attempt at building a U.S. manufacturing facility. Regardless of its condition or heritage, does the asking price likely mean this time-capsule Rabbit will be sitting in this showroom for years to come?

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  1. alphasud Member

    All US Rabbits came from Westmoreland in 84. I cut my teeth as a technician on these cars. The one listed is top of the range L model with A/C,P/S, and Automatic transaxle. All US built VW’s VIN started with 1VW.

    Like 16
    • Chris

      There was a Rabbit LS and even a Rabbit GL in 1984; they were higher levels although functionally the same of course.

  2. That AMC guy

    Salesman to little old lady: “That old thing really isn’t worth anything to us as a trade but as a courtesy we’ll give you $500 just so you don’t have to deal with it.”

    Like 28
    • Superdessucke


      Like 13
  3. Classic Steel

    Okay its a nice low mileage old technology non air bag car with no ABS for the price of a better mileage and efficient much much safer car.
    If it was a Samba bus, Beetle, Karmann Ghia, Porsche or classic car maybe some nice coins but its a Rabbit 🐇.

    The $17,500 is based on what? I suggest backing out ten grand and be happy you stole it on the cheap from a trade in from a lil old lady or someone’s estate close out.

    I had an 82 and it ran decent but loud road noise , cheap interior and bouncy suspension simplistic dash gauges. The VW was good in snow and considered a cheap beater by me new on day one.

    Take the asking price and get a
    real classic or buy a modern safe vehicle.
    New car with side air bags .

    If yiu drive it the value falls 15 K ..

    Like 13
    • Andy

      My mother had a ’79 automatic, and I had an ’82 4 speed. Not terribly reliable cars, and you’re right, the mileage was nothing special either. The only thing you can say price-wise is that, as a gas non-GTI, it’s kind of a unicorn. I might see a Rabbit or a pickup once a year now, and they’re almost always diesel. But no way does that justify this price.

      Like 7
    • Bob S

      Classic, I agree with you on the pricing of this, definitely needs to go on a $10,000 diet, but I doubt very seriously if any one would be buying this for a daily driver running the wheels off of it. A bigger majority of the cars are classics that don’t have safety equipment. My dad bought a new 75 rabbit when they 1st came out, so someone like my self would probably buy this cause of the blast from the past theory. Nice old rabbit, crack pipe price

      Like 6
      • Chuck Van

        Early Westmoreland built Rabbits were pretty much hand built step by step manufacturing training kind of thing.. I had one as a loaner when my 74 Sun Bug was in the body shop. It was a solid real tight car.

        Like 1
    • oldnash

      I bought a new 81 Rabbit diesel, four speed stick and drove it for over 80,000 miles. Looked just like this one. Had no problems with it. Not a bad car if you weren’t in a hurry. Sometimes if I was facing a strong headwind, I would have to shift to downshift to third just to maintain my speed.

      Like 1
  4. Mr. TKD

    What’s the deal with that Town Car behind it?

    Like 1
    • Scott Williams

      I also spy an E36 BMW convertible, and a blue VW bus- also covered in plastic. Looks like they’ve got a few older cars there.

      • Bob S

        Me. TKD, and Scott, this is a new car VW dealership out side of Chicago in a high end neighborhood, he also dabbles in classics too. I personally don’t see ANYONE to even consider close to his asking price, $8,000 would even be a stretch.

        Like 1
  5. Dave

    We live near Pittsburgh and bought one of these new as our family car in 1982. It served as the good car until we upgraded to a new Dodge Caravan in 1988. I drove it to work in field service for another 7 years. Seeing one these days makes me marvel at how we got by, as my wife and I are both over 6 feet tall.
    Volkswagen abandoned Westmoreland when the state tax credits expired, moving production to Mexico. End of story. Chrysler built the plant but never moved in. Sony built televisions there but moved production to China. Today the facility is an industrial park.

    Like 4
  6. CJinSD

    How much would they want if it had a 5-speed? This is the sort of car that made people like me refuse to buy automatics to this day.

    Like 2
  7. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. I remember when the Volkswagen Golf (aka Rabbit at the time) looked like this. I find this generation way more attractive than the current gen version. Particularly those with the Diesel engine option.

  8. JCA

    Had a RWD muscle car in my teens so I always had one of these as a winter beaters and had a few odd ball ones. One was a Champagne Edition i believe a ’77 or ’78 4 dr. Bought for a few hundred bucks. Had a 2 dr. ’82 Rabbit Black Tie edition. 2 84′ GTIs and 2 84 GLIs. Whi knew. That said, $17k for auto 4 dr rabbit is crazy. I had a 2016 5spd 1.4t Jetta base, great car, 40 mpg, turbo fun, cheaper than this

    Like 2
  9. SG

    Almost 20 grand for a not real desirable car with a sagging headliner? All of a sudden I miss selling used cars lol.

    Like 2
  10. Ernie Peters

    Is the headliner sagging? Other than that, a nice specimen.

    I bought a new 83 GTI in November 82 that I wish I had kept. It was a little hot rod.

    Like 1
  11. charleyk

    I had an ’84 “Wolfsburg” rabbit with a clutch that I bought new in 1984 for about $8k. It was ok but it would just stall on its own while sitting at lights or waiting to make left turns and no one could figure out what was wrong with it. I finally traded it after about 3 years and maybe 40k and I think I got 3 or 4k if I remember correctly. Anyway, IMHO there is no way this car is worth anywhere near 17k. I believe anyone who has ever lived with one of these would agree. There is just nothing special or collectible about it.

  12. Rick

    I’m pretty sure this car was the one from central PA a couple of years ago. Came up in the Samba forums that the original owner had it sitting in a barn (yes…) and at that point had something like 8K miles on it. She just never drove it. IIRC the car was sold to a collector for $9K or so.

    Like 1
  13. PSAutomobilist

    Pretty amazing find. Automatic or not, the fuel-injected Rabbit had a reputation back in the day for being the quickest of subcompacts leaving Chevettes and the ilk in the dust. While it may seem slow by modern standards it was not in its day.

    Like 2
    • John B

      Yup, we had a new one in ’76…4-spd manual tranny, Blaupunkt stereo, seat belts that put themselves on by staying attached to the doors, blue with a tan interior. Just a lot of fun to drive, especially for a newly licensed 16 year old conditioned to older A and B-body Mopars! Mom and Dad should have kept it longer but got restless and traded it and a hot ’76 RX-4 wagon for a ’77 Datsun 810 with the Z motor. All manuals. My parents had a cool side even back then!

      Like 2
  14. Vinny

    When pricing something like this way over the top especially as this one is for sale at a dealership. It makes that dealer look like a con artist. If reputation is important as a dealer why overprice a “nice old car” so much that it makes you look like a thief? That is one dealer I would NEVER visit.

    Like 2
  15. SquirrelyGig

    I have had VW blood running through my veins since I fell off the turnip truck & appreciate them all & I have to say find another one like this.
    That said, crack pipe price for sure, no doubt. Doesn’t stop me from loving the car though.
    I’m still finding it hard to believe (& kicking myself) the prices of just about anything split-window, air-cooled, pre ’73 & 83-84 GTI’s. Never would have guessed the sky would be the limit, but should have known. OH, if only!
    I do still have in my stable a ’83 GTI, ’85 GTI, ’02 Golf GTI 337 edition (original owner) & an ’81 Caddy/Rabbit p/u (Westmoreland built) .
    On a side note, I kind of chuckled about the built in WM, PA. I am currently restoring the ’81 Caddy & the body is factory assembled by parts from Germany, Canada & Mexico. I’d have to go look, but I believe the firewall is from Mexico, the hood, core support & other bits from Canada, dash frame/support Germany. There are country of origin stamps on every piece that was ultimately assembled as “the body”, welded or not. It is also all original, so never been repaired w/ random parts from multiple vehicles.
    I’ll be the first to eat crow if they get their current asking price.
    GLWS! 😁

  16. Braden Collins

    Does anyone else notice how the dealer snuck in a nice selection of exotic cars in the interior picture? I think they may be advertising more than the Rabbit. Like Mr. Lavery said, they are probably using it to get more business.

    • Chris

      As their business is car sales, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone lol

  17. djkenny

    $4000-5000 seems Fair. Basic Rabbit with Automatic. Slow. Not well built. Buy a classic mint condition 70’s Beetle with 10k miles instead, for less.

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