Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe GTI represents, if not the first hot hatch, then at least the category’s quintessential archetype. Let’s see if this muscly Rabbit should easily have a buyer typing up an offer.
It’s quite remarkable, and a testament to the overwhelming crush of crossovers in the market, but Toyota hasn’t built any sort of car like yesterday’s 1998 Celica GT convertible in ages.
In fact the last year they sold any sort of drop top 2+2 here in America was 2008. That car was the Camry Solara, a car that at least 55 percent of you have already stricken from your mental records. Seriously, there are a bunch of people out there reading this right now going “oh yeah, those things” and then you yawn.
Oddly enough, 55 percent is also the number of you who gave the $4,500 price tag on yesterday’s clean and tidy five-speed Celica a Nice Price win. That was despite the seeming inability of the dealer to move the car at that price.
Okay, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: when I first rode in a Volkswagen Rabbit GTI it blew my mind, and changed my opinion about “them little furrin cars.” Prior to that moment I was all about the American iron and thought performance meant exclusively V8 engines and burbly exhausts. The GTI experience added to my lexicon energetic four pots, taut handling, and golf ball dimpled shift knobs. It was shortly after that eye-opening ride that I traded in my Mustang for… yep, a Triumph Spitfire.
Yeah, you thought I was going to say GTI, but then where would the M Night Shyamalan-esque twist be?
The real reason I didn’t go GTI was price. They were fairly new at the time and as such still way above my means. An old Triumph however, was right up my financial alley. I’ve since owned a number of VAG products—that number would in fact be “five”—but I’ve never yet owned a GTI.
Here might be a chance.
This is a 1984 VW Rabbit GTI, built in Westmoreland, PA, and featuring the odd styling mix of clean European aesthetic and the tacky American gimcrackery. That latter is evidenced in the wrap-around front facia, the overly ornate side-marker lamp lenses, and the color-keyed dashboard.
The car itself was originally black, one of four colors offered that year. It’s still black, however at some point it was resprayed in a flat finish. Under that oddness the car is said to be free of rust or evidence of major run ins. Euro bumpers tidy up both the front and rear, while down low there are a set of proper snowflake wheels.
Inside things get a little dicy. The original buckets have been replaced by a pair of MKII GTI thrones and the carpet and door cards look like they could both stand some refreshing. The dash is really red and shows panel fit issues owed to age. Most sadly of all, the golf ball seems to have gone missing.
The ad claims that “(e)very vacuum hose and solenoid original to the car are still there.” Not to call the seller out or anything but it looks like some of those have in fact been replaced over the years. Also, don’t get your panties in a bunch over that one under the hood shot in the ad—that’s the vacuum canister strapped to the bonnet, not a giant collection of black widow spider eggs.
The car comes with A/C although it’s questionable just how much “C” is left in the “A.”
The tires are claimed to be flat-spotted from sitting, but honestly you’d want to change those simply from age if they’re that old. There’s 117,000 miles on the clock and the car comes with a clean title.
The seller has a bunch of other parts offered for sale, including a whole other car, so the photos in the ad are kind of confusing. This car however, is said to be “bone stock” save for those bumpers.
It’s also $2,750, with the claim that it could be driven as-is with a little wrenching, or fixed up into a proper GTI. It’s now time to decide if for that price either of those paths should be taken.
What do you think, is this solid but stock U.S. GTI worth that $2,750 asking? Or, does it miss it by a hare?
H/T to glemon for the hookup!
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