Hot Hatch Survivor: 1983 Volkswagen GTI

This super clean MK1 Volkswagen GTI is described as a great driver that remains in stock condition with only some minor cosmetic defects among its most grievous faults. Mileage is just under 71,000 and comes with the best color inside offered in this first generation hot hatch – dark red. Supposedly it comes with a batch of maintenance paperwork and four original floormats. The front bumper is a bummer, but otherwise, it looks special. Find it here on eBay with bids to $9,300.

The reserve isn’t met at that price, and it’s not surprising – first-generation GTIs have been selling for strong money lately, especially when in stock condition like this one. The rear bumper has the same chipping and/or failing paint as the front, which is odd considering the rest of the GTI’s paintwork looks to be in fine shape. Original “snowflake” wheels remain affixed, as does the factory badging, pinstripe, and fender flares.

For whatever deficiencies are noted outside, they’re more than excused by the interior. The black-over-red combo is my personal favorite, especially when it’s as clean as this. The red dash, carpeting, and auxiliary gauge cluster surround all match the sport bucket seats, as was customary in the early 80s. The iconic golf ball shift knob even remains in place atop the shifter, an item that’s usually pilfered for another car (fortunately, you can still buy them new online if yours is missing.)

The Neuspeed strut bar is a bit surprising considering the rest of the car appears to remain bone stock. Given the first-generation car’s impressive reputation for out-handling most of the competition with factory equipment, you likely don’t need the aftermarket add-on – but it can only serve to sharpen up an already adept chassis. The seller is right to hold out for a higher reserve, but it takes a niche buyer who wants to spend $10K or better for a first-generation GTI. Are you one of them?


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  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Prices on these have gone way up.Wish I’d bought
    one when they were affordable.
    I did look at one for $500,but it had major rust on it,
    & wouldn’t have passed the state inspection.

  2. alphasud Member

    Really nice low mileage example. I cut my teeth on these as a tech and they are very reliable. The interior is immaculate which is a huge plus. Looks to be a basic no options car. One thing I must point out is odometer gears in these are notorious for cracking and seeing the odometer reset and the last 3 digits halfway has me suspecting a issue. Not saying there is but you want to drive it and measure against mile markers. Another item which makes a huge difference is the passenger engine mount sags. When you sit in the car with the engine idling if the dash is vibrating you need a mount.

    Like 7
  3. dsp83gti

    Great car for the 80’s. Fun autocross car even today. Mine was silver w blue interior. I suspect reserve won’t be met.

  4. BOP_GUY Member

    Pretty clean looking for it’s age. I had an 83 back in the 90’s I bought for $600. Had absolutely no problems with it in the two years I owned it. If I remember correctly, as was with mine, the 1983’s didn’t come with a sunroof and it wasn’t an option, where it was standard equipment on the later models. I sold mine and bought a late 80’s Cabriolet. Some see those as a girls car, but it was another very reliable car that was perfect for living in San Diego. I don’t think I ever put the top up!

    Like 3
    • JBM

      I bought an 83 new back in the day for about 8 grand out the door. The only option it had was the manual crank sunroof. Didn’t even have a radio. Fun car.

  5. djkenny

    I nearly bought an 83 for $1500 in 1990. Super clean, similar miles, same exact color combo. The guy used Redline synthetic tranny fluid. He actually backed out of the deal to sell it to his brother. I bought (well my parents did) a 92 GTI 16v in green nee 2 years later.
    On my second 92 GTI 16v since 1999, now.
    I love first and second gen GTIs.
    I absolutely would not pay more than $3000 for this car.

    Like 1
    • mike hawke

      Then you’ll never own it. It’s always hard to accept when a collector car market has exceeded the prices we grew accustomed to seeing.

      Like 4
      • djkenny

        It simply is not worth all that $$. It is not particularly perfect condition wise. 10k range seems cringe worthy expensive. So many better cars for that $. I love them, a used well 75k mile one with pitted bumpers is no 10 thousand dollar Rabbit GTI. My 16v is way more worth more coin. This car will need work, too.

        Like 2
      • Dave

        It’s not only cars…this disease of “more money than brains” has spread to a lot more items than just cars and motorcycles. If it’s not something I need then I’m not playing the game. More people need to just say “keep it”.

        Like 4
    • Dave

      Yeah, it looks nice, but it’s an old Rabbit. The 83 GTI I bought had the exact same 85 mpg speedo and the upshift light. It’s serial number was 000235. It always ran hotter than the 82 Rabbit I had, probably due to shorter gearing.

      Like 1
  6. Mike Adams

    I had that exact same car back in the ’80’s. Same year, black with red interior. Bought it new and drove it to absolute death.

    I never did quite get it about them though. The transmission was rubbery, it oversteered; yeah you could thrash it, but it didn’t go all that fast.

    I wasn’t sad at all to part with it.

  7. The_Driver

    VW/Audi products were NOTORIOUS for braking their speedo/odo cables. I’d take the 71K mile claim with a grain of salt. Nice GTI, just not a $10K car!

    Like 1
    • djkenny

      Werd. I just bought a 2000Cabrio, and I love it.. but Yup.. odometer once failed. The guy actually spent good$ having it fixed.

      Like 1
      • Mark-A

        One of my Dream Cars, all goes back to a friend who owned a Black UK version running on Borbet A wheels, its just stuck with me for the last 25yrs or so! 😍

  8. moosie moosie

    Poor prep work on those bumpers before they were sprayed black doesn’t help the sellers chances of getting all they want for this otherwise immaculate V-dub. Hard to understand the prices some of them bring for being pretty basic transportation (CULT ?). Very nice car, I just don’t see it being 10G+ nice. My son who sells present day VW’s for a very good living goes nuts for these early cars regrets selling his last personal early one, an ’87 Cabrio.

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