Find of the Day: 84 Rabbit GTI, Driver Edition

We all know the magic that was the MKI GTI. In the late ’70s Volkswagen engineers took an everyday basic car, stuffed it with a hopped up engine, bolted on some suspension bits, swapped out chrome trim for something a little darker, and an entirely new class of car was born: the hot hatch. Introduced to the states in 1983, the Rabbit GTI was an instant hit.

Magazines gushed over the zippy engine and the tight handling of this little juiced up hatchback. The MKI GTI is the car that all other hot hatches are compared to. Journalists and seasoned enthusiasts pine for the raw nature of the original car to this day.

Pine no more, because here is the holy grail of MKI GTIs: an unrestored, recently updated, low mile driver. Take a look at the pictures and what you’ll see is the automotive equivalent of a favorite pair of old jeans. They may be rough around the edges, but the tears and frays give them true character. It illustrates the journey they’ve been on. They have history. Real history and not holes and tears added at the factory. No, these jeans, er, this car has been around the block. Many times. At a high rate of speed with the rear inside tire catching air on every corner; the driver’s grin wide as the passenger yelps in fear.

This car has had fun. And now you can have fun too.


The seller states (in Comic Sans – had to be noted) over $4,000 in work has been completed recently. Updates include new headgasket, timing belt, engine mounts, hoses, radiator, wheel bearings, front calipers, tires, struts, springs, and a whole bunch more. Enhancements include upper strut brace, Techtonics exhaust, Wevo shift knob, and a Nardi steering wheel.

Only two items are not in working order: the rear washer and the air conditioning. While there’s a risk in buying any older car, this one looks as though it could be driven anywhere after purchase.

If you’re interested, act fast: bidding on this little gem ends on Sunday. With some cosmetic work the buyer could have a simple restoration to near showroom condition. But if it were mine I’d heavily debate how much attention to give this car.

Yes MKI GTIs are getting more rare, and the value could go up if restored properly, but the age and the wear on this car just make it that more charming. Drive it to the home improvement store, to the movies, to your kid’s little league game: there’s no need to worry about dents, dings, puddles, or scratches. It’s the old pair of jeans that you wear to run errands, to walk the dog, and to watch football in. It’s a part of you that is not meant to be perfect, just meant to be enjoyed.

You can find the auction on eBay.