Hot versions of mundane econo-boxes preceded the Rabbit GTI, but none became iconically emblematic of the breed as did the VW. Today, Nice Price or Crack Pipe wants to know if this '84 puts a rocket in your pocket.
Introduced in 1974 as the replacement for the Hitler-infused beetle, the Golf (or Rabbit in the U.S.) eschewed the Wolfsburg brand's tradition of air-cooled, ass-engined cars with lousy brakes for a modern, and more readily certifiable for pollution and safety standards water-cooled front-drive platform. The car was light, practical, and economical, but about as heart-racing as German love-making. Despite a personality that was more mom-jeans than nothing comes between me and my calvins, the cars' popularity warranted localized production, and Golfs and Rabbits started popping out of factories in Mexico, South Africa and even southwest Pennsylvania, like their proverbial namesakes.
That Westmoreland PA plant added a new derivation to the U.S. Rabbit line-up in late 1982: a car that fitted high-bolstered sport seats in the front- seats that were intended to counter the kind of aggressive cornering for which the Rabbit had until now not been known. It also rolled off the assembly line and into the cold Pennsylvania winter wearing a deep front airdam and a set of black and polished silver alloy wheels under subtle fender flares. Around the horizontal bar grill ran a bold red stripe, a theme picked up in the interior, which also featured red and blue velour shockwave upholstery to overcome the darker than the inside of a well digger's ass look traditional to German sporty cars. Under the hood spun VW's 90-bhp 1.8-litre four cylinder with KE-Jetronic fuel injection and a single over-head cam. Bolted to that free-reving sidewinder was the slick-shifting VW 020 close-ratio five speed. Up-rated springs and dampers helped the car keep its composure when the roads started to get interesting, although it kept the pissing-dog stance of all beam axle VWs under extreme turn-in. The final touch was a dimpled shift knob, referential of the European name-Golf, but oddly not to it's original meaning, that being Gulf Stream, but of the game that Tiger Woods used to play before he started sinking another kind of hole.
What we have today is a good looking example from 1984 that's remarkably clean both inside and out. Not only that but it's rocking a 2.0 bottom end, as well as a number of deep breathing exercises that should make this a Rabbit that really hops to it. To go with all those additional ponies there have been suspension upgrades by Neuspeed - because the original VW parts were apparently old school - and a set of 15-inch alloys to go along with the original GTI rims, so your wheels can match your mood.
What's wrong with it? Well, it needs a new windshield and a window winder on the passenger side. That and there's something a little hinky with the title that may make the trip to the DMV not the bed of roses it normally is. But for $4,500 you'd expect there to be a few things to be less than perfect, and that 240,000 miles means that the car could have driven from the Earth to the Moon and have carved up some craters when it got there. That many spins of the odo make the condition of the car all the more amazing, and even though there were nearly 30,000 GTIs pumped out of Pennsylvania, it's rare to come across one that's still this nice, or that hasn't been VW Vortexed.
So, would do you say about this $4,500 Rabbit? Is that a price that makes you say What's Up Doc? Or does it make you hopping mad?
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