Modified Hot Hatch: 1984 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI

There are some cars that always strike the right note. When it comes to the first-generation Volkswagen GTI, it just screams hot hatch, no matter the condition. Of course, the better shape it’s in, the more desirable it becomes, especially as recent auction results have shown with the sale prices of these MK1 GTIs creeping higher and higher. Check this 1984 example out here on eBay where bidding is at $10,000 with no reserve.

The early GTI interiors are instantly recognizable, clad in either maroon or navy blue cloth. The seats are great, heavily bolstered, and the ones in this example appear to be in great shape with no damage to the bolsters or tears in the fabric. The GTI also retains numerous must-have details, like the golf ball shift knob and the three-gauge cluster in the lower console behind the shifter. The seller claims the interior needs updating, but I can’t quite tell what’s so bad that would need replacing. The radio is missing but the A/C still blows cold.

The GTI has been modified both cosmetically and mechanically. The seller reports that the GTI was stripped and repainted, and modified to look like the European market cars. The rear side marker lights were removed with the holes filled in, and the antenna was relocated from the fender to the roof. The entire GTI was repainted at the same time, with no word on the quality. The seller reports that the suspension was upgraded to coil overs, which explains why it sits so low – but he also reports the ride is harsh.

Ah, there’s that unmistakable nose. The MK1 GTI will forever be a favorite among anyone who likes to drive a slow car fast, but the VW wasn’t exactly slow – it’s just one of the delightful models you can drive at speed all the time and never break any laws. Whether you use it for autocrossing or simply hustling down your local backroads, it’s hard to go wrong with a MK1 GTI – and given the recent sale prices, lots of people agree.


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  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Located in Jefferson City,Missouri.
    I’d really like to have a car like this,but won’t
    pay the crazy prices these are going for.

    Like 5
  2. douglas hunt

    while i am a huge fan [first VW was a mk1 Scirocco i wish i still had] and lusted after one of these while a 24 year old driving the Scirocco, I will be satisfied with my 2005 GTI 1.8t 5speed. and my 2001 Audi TT project [swapping a 3.2 vr6 with a 6speed [no manual trans vr6 imported to the US]

    Like 4
  3. sign guy

    After going to the trouble of eliminating the side marker lights, it’s a shame they didn’t replace the headlights with the much better looking round ones. Can anyone identify the odd shaped object mounted on the underside of the hood?

    Like 2
    • James

      Vacuum reservoir.

      Like 1
      • alphasud Member

        Cars with A/C got the pack of vacuum reservoir balls for the HVAC controls. We jokingly said they were the male Rabbits when they came into the shop for service.

        Like 3
    • GTiDave

      Westmoreland (square headlight) cars never had the side markers. The radiator support is different between square and round headlight models.

  4. RKS

    I had a similar one with round headlights. Coming down a long ramp entering the freeway on my second day of ownership the hood decided to fly open at speed. Flipped back so hard it bent back over the top of the windshield and I had nowhere to pull over so I pinned it and squinted through the bottom of the windshield. I’ll never forget that car LOL.

    Like 2

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