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1984 Volkswagen GTI

I can summarize my 1984 Volkswagen GTI experience as a trial. First, it was trial by rust; there were few parts of the car that didn’t contain some rusty bits. It actually became a bit of a joke with my friends where we would say that it was on a perpetual weight loss program and dubbed it the “Rusty Rabbit”, a name that still survives today though undoubtedly the car is long gone. The final trial, though, was trial by fire when the fusebox unceremoniously and spontaneously combusted while driving home, eliminating all electrical items from functioning in the interior. Still, there was something that was a lot of fun about that car – it sure felt connected to the road, and made me smile when it wasn’t trying to kill me. When I owned mine, it was rare to see a decent one on the roads, and now 15 years later, it’s even more rare, but a few good ones do survive, and today we found one:

Year: 1984
Model: GTI
Engine: 1.8 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 166,000 mi
Price: Reserve auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen GTI on eBay

okay –

i’ve had the rabbit for 7-8 years now -it has mostly sat in the garage during that time as i was living out of state. i bought it from a good friend that added audi throttle body, momo steering wheel, sway bars, springs and shocks when he owned it – all minor stuff. ( it is stock otherwise)
it was garage kept then too. he claims it had never been rained on

when i moved back to kentucky, i put new tires on it, new gas tank and lines, new fuse panel and electrical under the dash cd/stereo receiver, there is more i’m sure – i think all receipts are in glove box. I’ve changed the oil regularly and just had it tuned up so it’s running great.

it needs a new windshield, there is a tiny ding on the hood ( which is really the only bad place on the car) and there is a leak on the passenger side floor board- when it rains. could be bad seal around windshield.

other than that – it needs a few interior pieces. (new visor, gear shift cover, various knobs) still though, the interior is a 7 out of 10 for sure.

The greatest thing this car has going for it is the body – there is no rust anywhere.

thanks for looking.

There aren’t too many times that you can own an automotive legend on the cheap, but this may just be the best one. This car (unlike mine) appears to be well cared for by the previous owners, so you’ve got a leg up on most examples right there. The second – and critical one when buying an A1 Volkswagen – is the claimed lack of rust. This all but eliminated these cars from the New England market where they had been so popular. It’s so bad even the hipsters can’t be ironic enough to resurrect an A1 to drive around in a tortured manner up here – and that should tell you something when I regularly see them cruising in 2002s.

There are a few warning signs – the Fuba roof mounted hood means there’s a hole there, so you’d be advised to check for rustproofing. The headliner isn’t in great shape and the paint looks a bit tired, but VW paint from this era rarely looks good so that’s no surprise. Shockingly, the rest of the original interior (minus the steering wheel) appears to be in pretty good shape – including the original “Golf Ball” shift knob, a nod to the European name Golf and completely lost upon the American market with the Rabbit moniker. There are some common upgrades to these cars present, but best in my mind is that the original snowflakes are still there. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for these wheels. As I write this, the reserve has not been met with bidding in the mid-$3,000 range. I’d expect that reserve to be between $4,000 to $6,000 based upon what we’ve seen these cars going for in the past two or three years. This car could be a great way to get into a pretty clean example without (at least some of) the headaches I experiences. Time to go three wheelin’!



  1. KevinR
    KevinR September 30, 2013

    Tread carefully here. There is very little mention of the mechanical condition of the car. Plus the Westmoreland cars have a long and troubled past.

    Rust is a BIG concern. Carter mentioned the roof mounted antenna, but this car also has a Zender 3 piece rear spoiler mounted at the roof line. If that wasn’t installed correctly, there’s another potential rust spot. The noted leak on the passenger side floorboard is another potential big rust spot. I’d bet the seller had to replace the fuse box because of water damage so that side floor board needs to be checked as well. This car is sporting Euro bumpers and the sides haven’t drooped. That usually means someone has drilled holes to install the side mounting clips. Good for bumper mounting but if done incorrectly another possible rust area.

    Carefully checking the pictures reveals a significant rip in the outer bolster of the driver’s seat. Unless things have changed you cannot buy this fabric any more so repair becomes a much bigger hassle. Many of the other interior pieces (specifically anything in red) are no longer available new and command ridiculous prices on the used market. If the missing pieces bug you (like they would me), set aside a significant chunk of time and money to track them down and buy them.

    Anyone wanting to buy this car should absolutely get a PPI and preferably check it out in person as well. I wouldn’t want to pay more than about $4000 for this car knowing the things I would still want to do or have done to it.

  2. Unobtanium Matt
    Unobtanium Matt September 30, 2013

    I still have my 84 GTI from many years ago. I love it so much I can’t part with it, despite having a nice choice of Porsches to drive usually. The Zender wing was a great period mod. Yes, rust is a concern, but these cars didn’t rot like their 70s predecessors did. If this car sells for what the writer predicts, it’s a lot of car for the money. It will never be super valuable, but it will always have a collector following and, unlike that Jensen Healey you were thinking of, there will always be someone waiting to buy it from you when you’re ready to part with it!

  3. Unobtanium Matt
    Unobtanium Matt September 30, 2013

    Also, all of these cars need the fuel tank replaced at some point thanks to that rotten little rubber tube buried in the tank. This already has a new tank, and it’s a fairly big job.

  4. Carter
    Carter September 30, 2013

    Great info guys, thanks for the additions!

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