Over on ebay there is a 1979 grey market VW Golf GTI up for auction. When the 1983 VW Rabbit GTI hit showrooms in the states it was several years after the European introduction. After years of begging for a domestic release we were blessed with out own GTI. But our version looked quite different than the Rabbits of the same vintage with that flashy (either blue or red) interior, snowflake wheels, and square headlights. While we got the car we wanted we did not get the understated look of the European MK1, a car that looked very much like a stock Golf to the untrained eye. This car is an excellent example of the European release of the original hot hatch.
From the seller’s post -
“1979 Golf Gti – German Import
Inari Silver – yes it looks green but that is what VW Called it
1.6 Heron Motor – 110hp – Complete rebuild
330,000 Kilometers on the Original Cluster – 1000 miles on the car since complete restoration
13×6 steel Wheels with new TIRES – full size spare as well.
Body: Shell stripped to bare metal and sprayed with Sikkens base coat/clear coat. Color is Inari Silver metallic. 1979 was the first year that Inari Silver metallic was offered as a GTI color in Germany.
Engine: Original “EG” code, 110 hp 1.6 liter (date coded May 10, 1979), completely rebuilt. New pistons (+.050 mm), new crank, bearings, oil pump, etc. Complete new old stock (not rebuilt) heron head and “G” grind cam. External thermostatic oil cooler and euro fuel distributor.
Exhaust: Large flange GTI dual outlet manifold and matching long dual down pipe. The remainder of the system is an OEM style GTI system with a center resonator.
Transmission: 4K close ratio 5 speed with 0.75 fifth gear. New bearings and seals. (May 1979 was the last of the 4 speed cars. Short Shifter is also installed. All shift linkage bushings replaced.
All of the other mechanical systems, chassis, suspension, brakes, cooling and electrical have been refurbished and parts replaced with OEM type components (Sachs, Boge, Meyle, etc.).
Interior: Correct tartan seat fabric from Germany. Molded plastic dash, 220 kph speedometer and seldom seen in-dash vacuum gauge. Rear shoulder belts and center lap belt.
There are 3 options – a sunroof, the in-dash vacuum gauge, and a Blaupunkt M-U-ARI radio.( I installed FM Modulator so i can plug in my Iphone ) Also included is the German owner’s manual, 1979 sales brochure, price list, and the German “bildkatalog” for the 79/80 Golf.
I have some extra stuff I have bought for the car but not installed like Rear Golf Gti speaker trays , front cabriolet style door / speaker pockets and other misc stuff sitting in my garage that will be sold with the car.
I also have a few sets of Old School Aftermarket Wheels – available to buyer at additional cost
I also have Photobucket links to pictures of the car during its restoration.. Also have PDF of Hemmings Sport Article which is linked above – also have Copy of The Magazine which is included.
This car is 31 years old – even thought it went through a restoration some minor flaws still remain -
The Headliner is original and has a slight tear above driver seat. The door panels are not original , they are from an Mk1 Jetta Coupe and have chrome trim which is not original to the car. The rear bottom seat is from a Cabriolet so its a tad bit smaller than the original Hatchback seat ( probably wouldn’t notice unless i told you ) The oil Temp gauge has been converted to read water temp. The Original Cluster is in working order but its noisy as you are driving – I think there is an extra one in a box some where. I just recently replaced the front calipers with American Style Calipers / pads to clear Aftermarket wheels. Original calipers are also included with the sale.”
Every once in a great while a grey market example will rear it’s pretty head, and this is that car. I appreciate the seller’s honesty about the few faluts this car may have, even though most buyers would not notice. This tells me that this car has been loved and it is being offered by someone who knows MK1 VW’s very very well.
Two days remain with bidding at $6.5k and the reserve has not been met. The most pristine MK1 GTIs will fetch something in the neighborhood of $8-10k. I think this could land on the south side of that number. For a VW purist, you have to appreciate that this car was restored to look as it did in 1979. There are no engine swaps, wings, slammed suspension, or other tasteless modifications to take away from what is already wonderful looking car.