All posts tagged GTi

10K Friday: 2008 Volkswagen GTi

Normally, the 10K Friday posts that I’ve done have been comparos of multiple different cars that are usually a stretch of the budget. Each one has highlights such as being more desirable, better looking, more functional or luxurious, or faster. But today I’m going to do something a little different – a comparo of only one car. That’s because the GTi is one of the best all-arounders ever made and I think we do our readership a disservice by not looking at the newer models more often. By the time that Volkswagen got to the Mk.4 chassis, many automotive journalists and enthusiasts alike began to dismiss the GTi as fat, tired and played out. Quality was poor, pricing was really high, and performance relative to some other models wasn’t as impressive as it once had been. The GTi was, in many ways, a victim of its own success. Every subsequent generation was compared to the original, a car which had such a mystique that it was effectively impossible to match. Mk.2 models had the stellar 2.0 16V and great looks; Mk.3 models sprouted the wonderful VR6. The Mk.4 models introduced turbocharging, more luxury and much improved interior quality, all-wheel drive, 6-speed transmissions and more technology than was probably recommendable. And while the Mk.4 was a success from a sales standpoint, the GTi was still a fringe car that was arguably too expensive for what you got.

Volkswagen took a huge step forward, though, when it progressed to the new Mk.5 chassis. Unlike the previous generations that had mostly been enjoyed strictly by the Volkswagen faithful, suddenly journalists were talking about how great the new GTi was. Interior quality was leagues better than it ever had been, with a slick design and high quality materials. The new 2.0T motor was great too – with more power than even some versions of the VR6 had previously offered. Weight was up by dynamically the new GTi was a better driver than it had been. It was a return to greatness, and instantly the new GTi was a popular choice for the performance minded practical enthusiast. Because of the success, there are many available in the market today that are coming down to a quite reasonable level:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Volkswagen GTi on eBay

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1983 Volkswagen GTI 16V

When I first glanced at this GTI, I thought “Oh man, what a clean and stock Mk1 GTI!” The exterior is pristine and retains the beautiful and original Snowflake wheels, with the only subtle modification being European bumpers. Peak inside the doors and under hood, however, and it becomes clear that while it is extremely clean it is certainly no stock or ordinary GTI. A full rollcage has been installed with all but the driver’s seat removed, revealing a GTI that has been extensively and purposefully built as an autocrosser. The chassis reinforcement is necessary thanks to new suspension, brakes, and above all a rebuilt 16V from a Mk2, installed in 1997. It’s lived with a single owner its entire life, an extreme rarity among GTIs. Since the swap, it’s covered about 4k miles, likely most on the autocross course, and has fewer than 100k miles total. The condition, care, and modifications come together to make a beautiful little GTI that will be a hoot on the back roads or around the cones, as long as you’re willing to spend top dollar and drive alone!

Click for details: 1983 Volkswagen GTI 16V on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 2009 Volkswagen GTi

To call the TireRack sponsored “One Lap of America” anything other than a grueling competition would be a disservice to the event. On par with some of the greatest endurance races in the world, the 7-day, 3,200 mile trek around the United States has an added twist – you have to drive your race car between stages. Now, that’s something that occurs in the World Rally Championship – but they cover far fewer miles and have pro teams, pit crews and major automotive manufacturers backing them up. To say that the One Lap is a amateur-only event would also be misleading, but it is far from a strictly professional series – and where else would you see a Honda Odyssey win at anything? Combining several different classes of cars, you get the spectrum from classic performance muscle cars through modern super GTs. The winner of class “SSGT2 SB” in 2014 was a Volkswagen GTi – one of a trio of cars prepared to dominate the event. When you consider that the cars that ranked above them were super GT royalty – Corvette ZR-1s, Viper SRT-10s, Boss 302s and a plethora of Nissan GT-Rs – the level of performance from the GTis is drawn into perspective. Now the builders are moving on, leaving these seriously potent track weapons available at a fraction of their build cost:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 Volkswagen GTi on eBay

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1983 Volkswagen GTi

It’s a bit sad that there is such a huge generation gap when it comes to the letter “i”. Teaching college level students, were I to write the lower case letter “i” up on the board and ask the meaning, immediate answers of “iPhone”, “iPod” or “iPad” would pop up. Perhaps some of the more clever individuals would associate it with “intelligent”. Apple has transformed the meaning of the lower case letter “i” for entire generations of people who will grow up not knowing what it means to my generation. For example, were I to write the word “carburetor” on the board and ask the meaning, outside of some motorcycle enthusiasts and perhaps a few into older cars, I’m willing to bet very few would know what the word meant, likely associating it with carbonated beverages before internal combustion engines. But in the 1970s and 1980s, “i” was a magical letter which indicated greater performance and improved reliability. It ranged from exotics like the Ferrari 512BBi right through the 2002tii, and while some of the systems were less dependable than others, by the time we got to Bosch’s continuous injection system, German cars were universally the best running, most dependable cars you could get into. In fact, one could argue that most of the success of the German car industry boils down to not their legendary build quality nor the advanced designs they pioneered, but the dependability of the fuel injection system. “i” meant a higher level of performance, and instead of simply being a necessity for every teen to mindlessly separate from society it was a way to indicate you had arrived, and you had arrived in style thanks to your fuel injected cars. Audis sported “Fuel Injected” badges proudly up through 1985; Mercedes-Benz attached an “e” for Einspritzung to nearly every model, while virtually every BMW sported an “i” badge for several generations, and some still do. But enthusiasts of the Volkswagen front point to one very special “i” which followed the Grand Turismo letters on the Mk.1 Golf chassis as the most classic hot hatch the market has ever seen:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen GTi on eBay

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1991 Volkswagen GTI G60

Mk1 GTIs grow more fully appreciated as classics each day, the Mk2 retains its affordable performance status in a package that is still superior to the Mk1 in the ways VW intended at its inception – more space and more comfort while retaining fun performance and German looks. This example takes those last two elements to extremes, bringing a modified G60 engine under German flag stripes front and rear. He doesn’t mention what suspension is helping it sit so low, but whatever it is is matched with Scirocco brakes to create a package that should be able to handle at least some of the increased speed and power. With well over 300hp to the front wheels, it’s not going to be able to handle all of it, mirroring the exterior’s placement on the edge of out-of-control. This is fast and loud in Mk2 form.

Click for details: 1991 Volkswagen GTI on eBay

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