Roadside Sighting: 1984 Volkswagen GTI

roadside-gti

After featuring the Fiesta, we were reminded of a GTI we spotted along the road the other day. It took some work to track down the owner, but he was happy for the inquiry. They had  purchased the VW for the their Grandson, who quickly lost interest when a CV joint went bad a few years back. There is a little rust and the sunroof has been sealed up with silicon. The front seats have been swapped too, but most of the GTI specific parts are still in place. The owner told me they would let it go for $400. Maybe we should just go LeMons Racing with it! What do you say Josh? You in the Fiesta against me in the GTI?

vw-gti-ad

Hey, I must have a little German in me… I think we all know who would win that race Josh!

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Comments

  1. robert voss

    personally i am a vw freak!! but i think the ford would take it… also Josh’s fiat would do some work!!!

  2. Robert J

    I would buy this in a minute if it lived near me.
    We dragged a free VW Cabriolet with only 90K miles on it home a few months ago. It had mold in the interior, so I stripped that out and refurbished it. Got the engine running with a weekend of tinkering. It is an absolute blast to drive. It is silly how much fun these cars are. So well built. My fiancee quickly snapped it away from me or I would be driving it right now.

  3. Jon H

    Where is it located. Don’t need to be specific, just town, city or even state. I love these things.

  4. James

    Want. Where is it?

  5. Josh Staff

    Easy there Jesse, I wouldn’t want to embarrass you. Sure the GTI has more power, but the Fiesta is over 200 pounds lighter. I will succeed that the GTI looks better and would probably be more reliable, but I still could take you. Challenge accepted!

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Too bad that Fiesta is on the other side of the country! The GTI is 15 minutes away…

      • Josh Staff

        You got me there.

    • jim s

      when new the fiesta was a SCCA SSC car, not sure if the GTi was B or C but would be a fun match as SCCA Improved Touring cars.

      • Doug

        GTI was class B, I ran a ’76 and used a few GTI items, they made me run B

  6. jim s

    is this the bf project car. i see more then the asking price in parts in just the 1 picture, i think. great find

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      I never pictured the first BF project car being a post-76 car or even a VW for that matter. I’m not sure there would be much interest in seeing us getting it back on the road either, but you never know. Let’s see what our readers think.

  7. RICK

    When I was stationed in Germany, there was a VW commercial, in English, on SKY network TV. “In German, we have a word for how it feels to drive a VW. Ya Hoo”.

  8. Jamie Wallhauser

    Definitely worthy of consideration as a project car, the price is right and it could be back on the road with minimal cash outlay (presumably and optimistically). Driving any GTI that is in good nick is always fun, but I agree that it may just not be “interesting” enough for BF and the car still won’t be worth anything no matter what you put into it. But it will be fun to drive!

  9. Dave

    I love these cars! I too have an ’84 Rabbit GTI and mine is black also, but I have a red interior. I changed it a little though to make it a black and red interior. I also have an ’87 VW Golf 2dr. These cars are easy to work on and are a lot of fun to drive. I would love to have this one too. Where is it?

  10. Brendan Seal

    Jesse,
    Where could i find this car or call to see if its still available?

    Thanks
    Brendan Seal

  11. Haig Haleblian

    Jesse, Please send me the contact info. I’ll buy it drag it back to Chicago and promise write a story about it. I owned an 83 GTI new that I kept until it had 120k on the odo. Sold it to my best friend who
    was t-boned. She was fine, the car totaled. It was the best daily driver I owned until my current 03 Cooper S. I’d love a set of fine bookends.

  12. paul

    just think you could buy this & run circles around that $111,000 356 P car for the price of a tail lamp lens for the P car.

  13. Dave

    Come on, somebody, where is this car!

  14. Tommy

    Where is this car? I’m in Philadelphia. As long at the body hasn’t been hit or have cracked strut towers ill take it.

  15. rancho bella

    Jesse,
    you were fixed on the stinkin’ Volvo. Buy this……..ten times more fun and better looking.
    Can’t beat the price.

  16. fiat128

    That would look great parked next to my 81 Scirocco S…

    • paul

      I thought you owned a Fiat 128?

      • fiat128

        I do (five of them actually). I also have many other cars as well (my storage yard could keep this place going for a month or so).

        Interesting thing about this VW, it’s pretty much a rip-off of the Fiat128. The engine layout of both cars is nearly identical and if you’ve ever driven both of them, they handle about the same.

        The original design studies for the 128 were for a hatchback (the Yugo 101 was built this way) and VW even manage to copy a few of Fiat’s defects into the Golf. For example the 128 engine block was poorly grounded to the body and so was the Golf. As a result. both of the cars tend to ground through the clutch cable which causes them to break. Both my 128s and the VWs I’ve had had a tendency to do this until I put huge ground strap on them.

        The car for sale here is much easier to get parts for than a Scirocco, which seems to have joined the ranks of really great cars the world has forgotten about.

        I can remember back in the mid eighies, guys with hopped up GTIs and Sciroccos were all over the place and the ones to beat at the local autocrosses.

      • paul

        I owned a Scirocco I think 78, years ago & before that a Fiat 131, both fun cars to drive. I always liked the Fiats for there gear boxes , very precise, the driving positions were a little strange the steering wheel was at an odd sort of bus angle & the peddles were a little close while your arms were streched a bit, but you got used to it.

  17. Notchback

    I would be interested in purchasing this to get my son a car he can learn on.

  18. Rodney Massarella

    I’m interested. Who do we contact?

  19. Don Andreina

    Giorgetto Giugiaro’s original Golf was an origami masterpiece. This model is one of the few where the US bumpers and headlights actually complement the Euro design.

  20. Dolphin Member

    I get that lots of people are fans of the GTI—-special model, made by VW, inexpensive to buy and run, etc. What I don’t get is settling for a small performance car with front WD and—sorry in advance folks, this is meant as a description, not a criticism—with a boxy look that’s pretty similar to other econo cars from back then.

    As an alternate idea, if I were looking for a small, affordable, sophisticated (for the time) 1980s luxury/ performance car from Germany, the BMW 325i, or preferably the 325is, would be more appealing: six instead of a four; rear WD; independant suspension all around; galvanized body; large trunk; very nice interior; still fixable by a decent home mechanic; appreciating if in good condition; nice understated body design; close sibling of one of the greatest small sedans ever made, the E30 M3. Just a suggestion…….

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      I have to agree with you Dolphin. They are not handsome and the FWD is a turn off. I have always wanted to try out an early GTI though because of all the praise spewed out by the automotive journalists. I still want to know if it was all true.

      A 1985 BMW 325 was the last old car to leave my garage and I miss it. The gearbox was smooth and the handling precise. Those diving board bumpers were the only thing I disliked. It sold to a teenage girl who immediately plastered the back with stickers. I used to see it around town on occasion, but it has since disappeared, hopefully not to the scrapyard…

    • Don Andreina

      Dolphin, with all due (genuine) respect, I have to disagree. I live in an inner urban environment and I catch public transport to work most days. In this sort of context, the Golf and all other econoboxes are ideal. Having driven a girlfriend’s 04 Golf, and my mother’s 08 Corolla, I found them bland and indistinguishable, but the packaging is perfect for tight turns and parking. For the cost of one year’s depreciation on a new car, I would rather drive this.

      Putting the GTI in context, it has a back story almost as legendary as Waxenberger and the 6.3. Top brass did not want it, and they were proven massively wrong. Yes, there is a long history of factory-souped family transport, but the GTI captured the zeitgeist back in the 70s as much as the WRX did a few years back. In series 1 form, this car is a classic: not overpowered and subtly distinctive.

      As for the Golf, it set VW up to be the behemoth it is today. The creased paper styling may not be appreciated by all, but it was cohesive, perfectly proportioned and (to some) aesthetically sophisticated. And majorly influential to the extent that Giugiaro had no room to move with the Delta.

      Can’t agree enough about FWD. Between the Eldonado and the Fulvia, it has its proponents. Not me though. The current BMW 1-series is the last legitimate small RWD driving car, and soon will be cheap enough to compare in this context.

  21. Bud

    Is this car still available? can you get me some info on it? Very interested.

  22. Doug M. Member

    I agree fully with Dolphin about the merits of the 325i. However, as one whose fixer staging area is a melting pot of german, swedish, american and japanese autos, I think that returning a clean 25 year old classic back to the road is a worthy undertaking. I get such a great feeling of satisfaction when I am able to revive something from the past. Especially this GTi… it has so many original parts all in place that it would be a really cool project! Go for it, Jesse!

  23. Danger Dan

    Come on car nuts!
    Jess lives in Wyoming
    The area code is 307
    The writing on the wall gives the first 4 numbers
    You can do this
    Remember the hardy boys!?
    They’d find this gti in an hour
    Looks like it has the leather int & not the velour that turns into moth wing dust
    These are going up in value
    The eighties generation has few good models that tick the nostalgia box
    This is one of them
    Irocs, 5.0’s & ???

  24. george

    Love both, had a ’78 Rabbit and nothing but fond memories. Girlfriend had a Fiesta, and it was also a blast to drive; maybe a bit more sporting, actually.

    The Rabbit above is a less desireable US production model. Could be fun to save, but less interesting than a round headlight car.

  25. fiat128

    There is just no way you can compare a MK1 GTI to a 325i. “Back in the day” they occupied two completely different places on the automotive food chain. A GTI sold for a third of what the BMW sold for. It occupied the sort of niche a Kia Soul does today whereas the BMW owner would have an Audi (or a BMW, these guys haven’t changed much in 30 years) today. You might be able to buy a nice example of either one for #k nowadays but back in 1984 it was two different levels of “cardom”.

  26. Dolphin Member

    fiat:
    One way to look at this is that we’re no longer back in the day. We’re at today, and both of these cars are greatly depreciated, so for not much money you can get one of the best BMWs or VWs made during the 1980s. It might cost a thousand more or a thousand less than what a GTI in comparable condition costs now, but whether it’s + or – it’s a lot less now than, say, a new Kia. I’d gladly pay a thousand or two more for what the 325is has, but I recognize that your preference might be different, which is just fine with me.

    BTW, the last time I sold a nice, well kept 325is it only brought $1,900. I think that’s pretty affordable in most peoples’ books. Of course, like Jesse, I seriously regret selling it.

    But for those who don’t like BMWs, then a GTI might well be the best thing for them.

    Remember, today is today, not yesterday.

    • fiat128

      Don’t get me wrong, I love BMW, esp, E30s. I just think it’s a bit unfair to be comparing those two. They are really different cars. Sorta like going to a car show and making statements about some old sportscar and how slow it is compared to a Camaro. The VW is by far the rarer car of the two and that might just be what makes it worth it.

      One thing that’s happened alot since the 1980s is that alot of the old roads have been widened and straightened. There were still lots of very twisty roads left in 1984 (think US 129 aka “The Dragon’s back”. That’s where cars like this really come into their own.

      • Dolphin Member

        fiat,
        Yes, but most cars differ in various ways, so it’s nothing more than personal choice of how to spend your money. If I see one car for sale but then think of another one I would rather have for similar money, I’ll go with the one I prefer. Nothing more than that.

      • fiat128

        Nothing wrong with that!

    • Don Andreina

      I like BMWs too. Mmmmmmmmmmm… 5 series wagon doing donuts.

  27. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Patience guys! I’m going to go take more photos in the morning.

    • jim s

      before or after you buy it? take the $400 with you, give them the money, get the title signed over to you ( before they raise the price or change their minds and decide not to sell ), tow the car out of there/home, and then take pictures.

      • paul

        yeah & don’t try to start it. (Just braking chops here)
        .

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Haha! Thanks guys!

  28. Dave

    Several of us have said we are interested in this car, but yet still we can’t get information as to where we can find this. What gives? Is this car for real or what?

  29. Haig Haleblian

    Dave, I asked the same question a couple days ago. My guess is Jesse wants us to work for this one or he’s toying with
    our emotions.

  30. davew833

    I’m guessing it’s somewhere in the Sheridan, WY area.

  31. Davew833

    On second thought, I’m gonna say Ranchester, WY. The business name may or may not be Triple C Builders.

  32. Grizz

    Where!?! I’ll take it and restore another one. My restored red ’83 non-a/c 5spd is currently for sale

    • jim s

      work with BF so they can post you car.

      • jim s

        should read ” your car “.

      • Grizz

        So pull it in the garage and pile stuff and dust on top of it? Mention the flawless paint and new upholstery….I gotcha ;)

  33. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    We weren’t going to announce it until tomorrow, but Josh and I are picking up the GTI in the morning! So, say hello to the new BF project car!

    • Don Andreina

      Nice one Jesse and Josh!

    • jim s

      yes yes yes. this is going to be a lot of fun. thanks

    • paul

      pictures we want pictures of every step of the way. Great & good luck.should be a fun car to track or auto cross.

      • paul

        would look nice with some phat Hella’s hanging all over the front bumper or toss the bumpers all together.

    • Robert J

      Bravo! I approve wholeheartedly.

      Believe me, this car is going to be a lot of fun to own and drive… Once you get the fuel system cleaned out that is. :)

  34. davew833

    Congratulations!

  35. Grizz

    Dag-nabbit!

  36. Doug M. Member

    Way to go, Jesse! I know you will have a lot of fun, and we will enjoy watching your progress…

  37. Dave

    This is going to make a great BF project. These cars are a lot of fun. And for those that don’t like the square headlights, they do make the European round look to easily switch out this. They can be found on eBay pretty cheap. I personally like the square look. If this car was closer I would love to snatch this up. I really like mine. Good luck with this.

  38. Jamie Wallhauser

    Bravo Jesse, a good choice we will all be watching (and commenting!). Can’t understand what took the other guys so long to figure out what you were up to? “Well played”.

  39. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff
  40. Blindmarc

    An ex girlfriend of mine bought this exact car brand new. I drove the crap out of that thing.

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