Build or Buy: Turbo’d Big Bucks Bunny

In the market for the original hot hatch? If you haven’t noticed, MKI GTI values appear to be on the rise. And both of today’s cars show that buyers are willing to pay a premium, a steep premium in one case, for Volkswagen’s iconic car with the three letters. But if you don’t have the scratch for a built GTI, you can always build your own. The choice is yours.

Argument: Build
Article: 1984 Volkswagen GTI

Now this little GTI is rough around the edges, but like all of our “Build” cars, you gotta look a little closer. Here’s the good stuff: it has new tires, alternator, water pump, and more. It starts, drives, and stops. The interior looks in excellent condition; the most common issue is driver’s seat wear and this one is pretty darn nice for an unrestored car.

The bad? Well, it’s a bit shabby. The biggest issue is the bruised rear corner. There’s some rust, but nothing terrible.

Oh, and there’s the price. The seller is asking $5800 for this pretty decent car. It seems like a year ago a GTI in similar shape would be in the $3000 range. So maybe it’s time to invest in one of these cars before you can no longer afford one. Take a look at the classified ad on; this ’84 GTI is in Sylva, North Carolina.

Argument: Buy
Article: 1983 Volkswagen GTI Callaway Turbo Stage II

Think the “Build” car above is expensive? This blown MKI GTI is currently sitting at…$36,000. That is not a typo: thirty-six thousand dollars. And guess what? There’s still seven more days of bidding. Heck, by the time this article posts, it could be even higher.

So what makes a 5-figure GTI? To start: power. There’s a full Callaway Stage 2 Turbo kit under the hood. Documents show the kit was installed shortly after the car was purchased, and it was $4100 on top of the $8800 sticker price. In today’s dollars that would be $23,000 for the car and $10,000 for the kit. But all that money gave this ’83 GTI 200 horsepower, roughly the same as today, but in a MUCH lighter car.

The other price-raising factor: miles. As in, not much of them. This pearl white bunny has less than 19,000 miles. While that sounds great for resale, it’s a shame this car has been driven so little.

Take a look at this immaculate car on This ’83 GTI is in Carlisle, PA.