Rarely Stock: 1984 VW GTI

This first-generation VW GTI is said to have just 73,000 miles from new and remain in preserved condition. The seller claims he is selling the MK1 hot hatch due to lack of use and the desire to own a modified example, presumably to avoid modifying this stock survivor. The paint isn’t perfect and there are some issues the next owner can address, but overall, it appears solid. Find it here on eBay with bidding over $6K and the reserve unmet. 

The original snowflake wheels look perfect on this generation of GTI, and as a testament to this vintage design, they still look good on later models as well. It appears there’s an aftermarket exhaust present, which is a shame given the rest of the GTI remains stock. Perhaps the seller’s desire to drive a modified example was too much to overcome and he added a freer flowing system as a means of scratching that itch.

The interior is a major bright spot, as it’s very well preserved for a specimen not wearing ultra low mileage. The cloth sport seats are quite nice, and I can’t recall the last time I saw OEM embroidered floor mats. The door map pockets show no signs of major sag and the three-gauge VDO cluster remains in place in the console. It appears the dash may have the occasional rough edge, such as at the top left of the instrument binnacle.

The engine bay is tidy and shows no signs of modifications, and the original driving lamps are still attached beneath the bumper. There’s not much to fault here, and unlike the ridiculously low mileage MK1s we see from time to time, this one will (hopefully) have a reasonable reserve. It feels like a car that is just a wet-sanding and some Back-to-Black trim restorer away from being an even more attractive MK1 survivor.


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  1. Rx7turboII

    I’ve had a few of these early Volkswagens with the CIS injection system and let me tell you when something goes wrong, it is a pain in the butt! Early Scirocco, Jettas, gti’s Etc are great cars to look at and when they’re running, they’re running great! But when they are running bad, or not at all, watch out! LOL.

    Like 1
    • Wolfgang Gullich

      I don’t think in all my years of VWs did I ever encounter an issue with the mechanical fuel injection… It’s pretty bullet proof and reliable…

      Like 7
      • UK Paul

        I agree .. I have had some abused examples and they still ran sweet as.

        Like 1
    • VA Stu

      Never heard of that, or had that problem with my ’84 GTi. Owned mine from 2000-2006 with 147k to 185k on the clock. Biggest problem I had was rust everywhere.

    • ICEMAN from Winnipeg

      Yes, I can vouch for that !! I had a new 1978 Rabbit, and it was Demon Possessed. One never knew when the engine would die (usually while in the flow of traffic). Often it would not start for an hour after stalling. The local VW dealer in Winnipeg said that was normal !!

  2. Miguel

    Too bad it doesn’t have the fancy GT or GTI seats.

  3. Scott Tait

    To hell with originality … get some euro spec bumpers and lights and grill.. round lamps look far better on these!

    Like 4
  4. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    We have talked before, last year i think about the significant differences between US and Euro versions of GTi’s and it facinates me as it was an important car for me in my youth.
    Those wheels i,thought couldn’t have been standard fit but a quick google proved me wrong. They or something similar was used a bit later on the Convertible here.
    I don’t recall in Europe at least embroidered floor mats. Are they original?

    Like 1
    • Mark-A

      I remember when I was at secondary school between 84-89 & remember a Passat with those rims

  5. Miguel

    These were the seats that came in the Caribe Gt. In case you don’t know, the Rabbit was called the Caribe in Mexico.

    We didn’t have GTI’s in Mexico because we didn’t have the fuel injection.

    Like 2
    • UK Paul

      Interesting, thank you!

      Like 1
  6. Eugene Makucha

    Wow, what a time machine! I owned the identical car in 84′-85′ which was a U.S. first year model 1983, purchased used with 6k miles. This car was an eye opener for me and I just loved the superior handling and close ratio 5 speed transmission that was beautifully smooth shifting and accurate that you’d think it was built by Rolex. Lots of fun and very memorable.

    Like 1
  7. MFerrell

    How many cars in automotive history start as a pure expression, light, nimble and spare? Then, over model years and changes to make it “better”, it becomes bloated with options, bigger to gain more room, and other assorted improvements that just end up making it a heavier version of it’s former self that has lost the original vision.

    Like 4
  8. DeVO1

    I owned one of these and just loved it. Only difference was the interior was blue not red. Never had any issues with the fuel injection, but, at some point I had to replace the engine with another from a salvage yard. I think I just had THAT many miles on it. You hardly ever see these in the Midwest, they didn’t last that long (nor did any other performance hatches of that era) so this unmolested example is likely quite rare…

    Like 2
  9. RITON

    Is the dash leather covered? Never seen that here on Golf/Rabbit (France/EU).

    • UK Paul

      I think it is a moulded soft leather look plastic. I found it odd and asked on another thread.
      Interesting stuff … I have a photo of my mk2 on my desk (1990 16v) .. great cars.

  10. David Miraglia

    Had two Rabbits a 1975 and a 1979, loved them both. Always wanted a GTI.

  11. Wrong Way

    Appears to be a nice car, but isn’t the price somewhat high on this thing? The story about a coustom one is a little funny because if what you have is a good one why would you want to get another one just to hop it up? Why not just do it to the one you have? Because he obviously doesn’t care about originality!

  12. SquirrleyGig

    First of all, Kudos to the owner for wanting to leave this one alone & find another for his build. MK1 rabbits to buy or build are cheaply available all day long. Original MK1 GTI’s not so much.

    Those are the correct seats for a “US spec” GTI. Only other GTI option would have been same pattern/print in blue.
    Dash is not leather & is original vinyl (note the slight warp of the lip over the glove box. Hard to recognize if you’re not familiar w/ a “minty” example & more hard to find one that is original & not seen the same fate nowadays.
    I own a small slew (3) of GTI’s. One is an ’83 I bought from a small used car lot near me about 15 years ago.
    It was modded, I imagine sometime in the late 80’s, early 90’s (still had a removable face, Pioneer cassette player & Kenwood amp in it, LOL!), when I picked it up. I laugh @ that, but I am rapidly approaching “the top of the hill”. 50 yrs of age. Yet it still seems funny, as those were top of the game “back in the day”!
    The thing w/mine is, the mods are reversible/bolt on/bolt in mods. Could easily be brought back to original to look like this one in a (long) weekend. Interior is complete & original & not cut up, sans the cassette deck, steering wheel & shift knob . Body is original.
    That said, it’s a blast to drive the way it is. 2.0 Liter engine “mildly” built, header into 2 1/2″ exhaust (emissions not required where I live, so no cat), 4-wheel disc brake conversion,2 1/2″ drop on H&R suspension, Neuspeed sway bars & strut bar, euro bumpers, ATS Type 10 wheels, leather MOMO steering wheel(NLA)/shift knob (Have original GTI wheel & “golf ball” shift knob). All the hot items for the 80’s-90’s, yet still desirable look today. Draws a lot of looks, attention & smiles. Oh yeah…..when you step on it, it hauls the mail too!! Great cars modded or original.
    The fact that the advertised car is currently @ $7400 & reserve not met(?), blows my mind. wouldn’t be able to afford it today w/out letting some other things go! GLWS.

    • Wrong Way

      I really like your review of the cars! However, I must tell you from my experience that you are not approaching the top of the hill yet young man! LOL, I would call the top of the hill when you get to be around 65! I myself felt great until my recent heart attack! Since I had that it’s unbelievable how much I have slowed down! That really puts a dent in everything you try to do! I had told a reader before that happened, I would put up pictures of all my Stangs, I am holding on to! Heck I can’t even get out to the barn I keep them in to get some recent pictures of them to share! Anyway back to the point! You have many years of youth left unless you are having medical problems! I assure you that you are not at the top yet! Have a great day!

    • UK Paul

      Good friend of mine had a G60 lump in his MK1. Was incredible car.

  13. DeVO

    I had one of these GTIs — identical except the interior was the blue not red. Wonderful car to drive, and held a lot of stuff with the hatch. Fun AND practical. The engine lost a lower crank bearing after 100k miles — so I simply dropped in a newer GTI engine from a salvage yard ($85 if I recall correctly) and drove it another 100k. I am glad the owner is keeping it stock and selling, rather than resto-ruining it.

    The ad is down now I see…

  14. bog

    It looks so much like my old friends car “outside”, but he had the special GTI interior with blue stitching. I actually test drove the car while shopping at the dealership for my “next” sports car. (I bought a new ’83 RX7). Convinced him to buy the already in-stock black GTI. He loved it, I loved it. Only problem he ever had with it was with the vent windows. Thieves would break one side or other, open door and steal radio. On third such theft, insurer said “enough” and he installed alarm system and face removable stereo. Broken into one last time & most wreckage to dash as alarm going off. Then he left hole in dash and had sneaky mount in glovebox. We had a blast on long rural trips with our rides, that’s for sure !

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