Let’s suspend our rules of engagement at GCFSB for a post and look towards Germany’s western neighbor, France. While we write up a Swede from time to time, it’s not often that French cars make our blog. But since the Franks, who established rule over France under the Merovingians in the late 400s, were actually a Germanic tribe, let’s make an exception and consider this listing. Being a fan of European cars, it’s not often that I get stumped by one – but in my normal searches I came across the front end of what appeared, at first, to be a Peugeot 205 GTI. The 205 is perhaps the car that out-GTI’d the original GTi, better handling, awesome looks and more speed meant it’s become as legendary as the car credited with starting the market segment. But it didn’t look quite right, and a closer inspection revealed it was in fact the bigger brother of the 205; the 309. In GTI trim, they mimicked the recipe started by Volkswagen; turn up the engine, lower the suspension, fit larger alloys and of course stick red accents and “GTI” badges everywhere. Producing 120 horsepower and with low weight, these were fairly potent hatchbacks in their day:
All posts tagged GTi
When I think about simplifying my life, one of my largest hurdles is what would I ever do with the E28 M5? Acquiring it realized a major life goal, and I still love it every day, but as life goes on will I always have the means to give it the (financial) love it deserves? When I imagine a world where I could do without its sound, rarity, story, looks… where was I? Oh, right. If I could let go of the things that are unique to the M5, a Mk1 GTI is where I’d head. Yes, it would still be an 80s German toy, which is not exactly “simple” to most, but it would provide legendary driving enjoyment without requiring regular valve adjustments and insanely priced out-of-production parts.
While GTIs have been steadily gaining in value, for the moment they’re still within reason. This extremely clean example received a new paint job last year, matching classic silver with some serious blue accents that provide an interesting counterpoint to the typical red striping. The hood stripe doesn’t quite do it for me, but I absolutely love how rally’d-out it looks from behind with the painted rear window surround and “Rabbit” mudflaps. It has a few needs that should be attended to sooner than later – but this GTI is an ideal candidate for some inexpensive home-wrenching and some massively rewarding driving.
Click for details: 1983 Volkswagen GTI on eBay
Do you remember the first of the second run of the GTi? Not many do. It seems almost as though there was a jump straight from the original A1 chassis in 1984 up to the GTi 16V. Even then, finding the first of the 16V cars has become extremely tough. But the 1985-1987 8Vs? They’re just about gone. I remember wanting one with a passion; I had a 1986 Westmoreland Golf, and the GTi seemed like a pretty big step up. It was, in 1985 – selecting the GTi kicked your price up 30% from $7,000 to $9,000 automatically. For that additional amount, you got the HT high compression motor churning out a nice round 100 horsepower. But from a street credential standpoint, it wasn’t the 15 horsepower jump that was important; it was the 14″ alloy wheels, the rear spoiler, the red stripes, and that magical “GTi” badge surrounding the trim on the car. You also got a close-ratio 5-speed transmission, sport seats and a multi-function computer. This was high-tech stuff back in the day! GTis also sported 4-wheel disc brakes, an upgrade over the A1 chassis, along with dual sway bars and a leather wrapped steering wheel – a huge improvement over the stock (and very plastic) wheel in my Golf. But the 8V GTi was completely overshadowed in 1987 by the launch of the dual-cam 16V model. Now with 40 horsepower more than the standard Golf, it was a serious upgrade befitting its new $12,500 pricetag. Once in a while, though, a standard GTi pops up and reminds me of a simpler time:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Volkswagen GTi on eBay
From time to time, we like to take a break from our regular features of cars on the market to quench the thirst of those who are true petrol heads. For years, it has been a desire of mine to visit Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, as this is one of the world’s preeminent automobile factories from one of the world’s largest car manufacturers. A few months ago, I changed jobs and my new employer sent me to Germany this week for a conference in Hannover, which is about one hour east of Wolfsburg. To my surprise, one of the items on the agenda was a tour of Autostadt Wolfsburg and the Volkswagen Werk (factory). This week I celebrated my birthday and honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better present than to check this item off my bucket list.
Let’s discount, just for a moment, the reputation of the fourth generation water-cooled, front engined platform from Volkswagen. Yes, they’re known for not having the best build quality, and they were a bit pudgy. The electrics were sketchy and Volkswagen’s venerable 1.8T, which found its way into nearly every VAG product in the late 90s and early 00s, is certainly not without fault. But in many ways, the Mk.4 platform offered some exciting options for the Volkswagen faithful. First, the introduction of the turbocharged engine into the platform redefined the possibilities of the hot hatch. It was available not only in the top-spec GTi, but you could get a 4-door 1.8T, too – a first for Volkswagen, who had offered hot 4-door hatches in Europe but not the U.S. previously. Then, in 2002, Volkswagen upped its game even more with the introduction of the 25th Anniversary Edition in Europe. “But the GTi didn’t come out until 1983” U.S. fans said, forgetting that 1977 was the launch year of the 1.6 original in Europe. It seemed, for some time, that the U.S. would get snubbed again. After all, it wouldn’t be very smart for them to offer a 25th Anniversary Edition of a car that didn’t exist here, and “19th Anniversary” doesn’t have the same ring. But then, at the New York Auto Show in 2002, Volkswagen surprised U.S. fans by offering the near-identical package to them. The name was the GTi 337 Edition; the name harkened back to the original project code for the Golf GTi. Beefed up with 180 horsepower, a 6-speed manual, an awesome set of Recaro seats, aero tweaks and with some awesome shot-peened BBS RC wheels, it was an instant hit. Volkswagen sold 1,500 of these models to U.S. fans, and then when they had sold out, recreated the magic in 2003 with colorful options in the 20th Anniversary Edition. Today we’re looking at the 337 though, and I’ve found three for sale in varying states. 13 years on, are these hot hatches still appealing?