Motorsport Monday: Rabid Rabbits – 2 1983 Volkswagen GTi Racers

As the original “hot hatch”, it’s not much of a surprise that the Mk.1 GTi is also a popular choice as a race car. Stripped out and stiffened up, these pocket rockets get even more potent around a track and are very entertaining to drive. Best of all, there’s a serious aftermarket community that supports them and they’re quite economical to run compared to some of their other German brethren. While they’re a bit long in the tooth, the GTis are still winning three decades on and still look great. Today I’ve got two different track-oriented GTis to chose from – from mild to wild. Let’s start with the more streetable version:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen GTi on Milwaukee Craigslist

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1986 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V

It’s been about a month since we last wrote up a Scirocco 16V, a neat economy hatchback with plenty of 1980s character and styling. The 16V was and still is a perennial favorite of the VW crowd, who generally modify them to make them better performers and turners. Few seem to remain in pristine, original shape anymore – and this isn’t one of them, but it is a first-year model with some tasteful modifications that might be a good canvas for the VW loyal:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V on eBay

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1984 Volkswagen GTi

It truly does seem like every time we claim that you don’t see a particular car much for sale anymore, they all come out of the woodwork. Perhaps inspired by high prices we’ve now seen four great condition GTis in the past few months, the most recent last week’s reasonably priced black 1984 GTi. One thing that seems to be in common with all of the listings is a general lack of great photography, but today’s listing takes it to a new level. Starting with what is reported to be a more or less fully restored GTi, we get hoarder-like photographs I’d be expecting to see on TLC as I indulge my secret “Hoarders” watching habit. But as we’ve seen with other GTis, if you can get by the poor listing, perhaps there is a diamond in the rough, so to speak. Is this the one?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen GTi on eBay

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Party Like It’s 1989 Week – Double Take: 1989 Volkswagen Scirocco GT

Much like the 1989 Polo GT and 1989 GTi 5-door, Europeans generally have been more interested in stylish examples of economy cars rather than the largest motor available. With gas prices pushing $8.00 a gallon and high taxes on larger engine displacements, it’s easy to understand why though Americans still haven’t gotten the message here. While the U.S. got the revered 16 valve version of the Scirocco 2, most European examples made due with less-thirsty 8 valve versions. That didn’t stop them from dressing the cars up, such as today’s twin Scirocco GTs, a model we didn’t get on these shores:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen Scirocco GT on

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1984 Volkswagen GTi

Over the past 15 years, the original GTi has moved from a forgotten trailblazer into an investment-grade classic. It’s been helped by the countless articles and reports that have fondly remembered this little pocket rocket as one of the best enthusiast cars ever made. We’ve seen the result of this first-hand; I joked about how very Clarkson-esque I was having sold my 1984 GTi for $300 in the late 1990s when we featured the back-to-back $18,000 1983 GTi and $17,000 1984 GTi. If it sounds a bit crazy to pay those prices, for the buyers those cars they were obviously looking for the best example possible. If you can back down your standards a touch and are looking for a solid driver that’s a bit more reasonably priced, this 1984 may be a good opportunity for you:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen GTi on eBay

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Heap of the Week: 1984 Volkswagen Jetta GLi

So few remain around these days that it’s easy to forget that in 1984 Volkswagen introduced the hot 4-door Jetta, the GLi. Like the GTi brethren, these featured an upgraded 1.8 inline-4 mated to a close ratio 5-speed transmission, as well as upgraded brakes and a few external changes to set them apart from the run-of-the-mill Jettas. Not many were produced, and again like the GTi few remain around in good shape; in fact, I can think of only one that I’ve seen in the past decade. Like me, the owner is a high performance driving enthusiast and we’ve been trucking our old Volkswagen/Audi products out to BMW HPDEs for years. Despite neither of us having the fastest car out there, it’s always fun to see his red GLi, hunkered down over very wide semi-slick tires bouncing down the front straight at Lime Rock park. Today’s GLi isn’t quite ready to do that, but offers a glimpse into a rare car that’s quite affordable and should be saved:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen Jetta GLi on eBay

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1984 Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel L Wolfsburg

A few weeks ago I wrote up a great looking Rabbit Diesel that was well modified to look like an updated model. While I loved that particular model’s restoration, I have to say that I like the clean lines of the original slightly more, and today I found a great GTi alternative for those not in a hurry. Check out this great condition 1984 Rabbit Diesel L Wolfsburg Edition:

Year: 1984
Model: Rabbit Diesel L Wolfsburg
Engine: 1.6 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 121,575 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel L Wolfsburg on eBay

Hello and welcome to my auction, today you are bidding on a restored rare 1984 VW RABBIT WOLFSBURG edition original southern California car with ZERO rust and a real barn find . To begin with I tore the interior apart and had both the front and rear seats reupholstered to match the original as close as possible, the head liner had to be redone as it was non existant, next the motor was totally torn apart and rebuilt with every thing new including a brand new TOP LINE head, new pistons, new piston rings, rebuilt connecting rods, new main bearings, new rod bearings, all new seals and gaskets, new oil pump, new windage tray,new water pump, all new belts and hoses, new radiator, new clutch , new brakes front and rear, new front strut and upper strut bearings, new battery, new tires ,rebuilt transmission, rebuilt front drive shafts, new motor mounts,new wiper blades, new rear hatch strut, new front seat nylon slider bushings, new glow plugs, new glow plug relay(fast glo), new fuel filter, etc etc, too much to list

The car starts right up even on the coldest day,and the injection pump does not leak, shifts and drives smoothly thru all 5 gears and has plenty of power, the interior is perfect as is the dash which is in very good condition.Every thing works on the car as it should including the speedo/odometer, the car has factory AC but will need a recharge, the car also has a dealer installed pop up sun roof, the car has less than 200 miles since the rebuilt and will need to be broken in gently , the car has a clear California title which I have in hand, I have spent a lot of time and money to bring back this bunny to its original glory, if taken care off it should last a couple of hundred thousand miles easily, if you have further questions I would be more than happy to answer them .I have set a very reasonable reserve much much less than what I have in the car, I would not hesitate to jump in it and drive it any where, THE CAR DOES NOT COME WITH THE FRONT VW PLATE. Thanks for looking and happy bidding!!!!!!!!!!

From the photos, the seller’s claim of a lot of money invested looks quite believable. From the condition of the interior and exterior to the spotless suspension and engine bay, this looks about as good as any Rabbit diesel I’ve ever seen. On top of that, buying a car that’s been previously sorted is almost always a much more cost-effective way to get to a nice car than to try to go through the restoration yourself. I like the addition of the early GTi chin spoiler but the retention of the Westmoreland hubcaps – I had the same set on my 1985 Golf when I bought it, and they bring back memories. I might go for a slight OEM+ upgrade to 15″ Corrado “Steelies” for a stealthy but improved look, and maybe down the road some period Recaros for a more comfortable drive. This is an impressive car and I’d expect the reserve is set reasonably high, but considering the amount of work I’d estimate the value of this car easily in the $5,000 – $7,000 range for the right person. At that price, you couldn’t replicate this car and it would be sure to be an entertaining show/weekend driver for a Volkswagen Diesel fan.


Afternoon Accessories: Rabbit GTi Driving Light Grill

Who doesn’t like a rare accessory for their rare ride? This ranks up there pretty high on the not-often-seen list; I believe in all of my VW days I’ve only seen this grill twice. If you’re looking to make a rare period correct modified GTi, here you go!

Year: 1983-1984
Model: GTi
Condition: Used
Price: $594.95 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Volkswagen GTi Driving Light Grill on eBay

Vintage Volkswagen Rabbit GTI Grill with Driving Lights

For more information call Fred at 724.925.6456

Shipping by FedEx, UPS or Local Pickup

Payment: Paypal or COD-PU

The seller obviously is aware of the rarity of the item, too – pricing it at the same going rate for most parts cars in their entirety. I wonder if going forward it will be easier to reproduce these NLA rare parts with 3D printing. While that may be not far off, if you want the real deal this is pretty much your only option today, and would really suit the Westmoreland grill setup well!


Reader Ride Success Story – Buying a Market-Breaking Callaway GTi


There are plenty of internet tire kickers who comment on how much a vehicle is or isn’t worth. Heck, it’s what we do every day! And while the market tends to be pretty well defined on most models, there are occasionally outliers who throw us a curve ball we just weren’t expecting. Such was the case with last month’s low mile 1983 Callaway Turbo Volkswagen GTi I wrote up. I have to admit, I was pretty excited when I originally found it (though, probably not as much as the new owner’s description below!). Why? Well, when I came across it, I had mixed feelings – with 18,000 miles on the clock and being a rare Callaway Turbo model, this GTi was drawing very strong bidding despite having a somewhat poor description and photos. While it was fascinating, it didn’t quite add up – but it was sure to draw attention. It turns out I wasn’t alone in that feeling.

I paid particularly close attention to this GTi because I thought it was heading towards being the highest selling A1 GTi I can remember seeing. As the bidding increased, we here at GCFSB exchanged excited messages such as “unreal” and “that’s crazy”. I tuned in for the end of bidding, too, just to see where it ended up – an astounding $17,754. To me it sounded like a lot of money for any A1 Volkswagen. Imagine my surprise when the next day in my inbox was a message from the new owner of the car who had tuned in to my post, explaining the purchase. I had to know more – who would pay so much for a 1983 GTi, and what was the motivation? The story was perhaps even more surprising than the purchase amount, and ranks pretty high on my list feel-good stories of 2013. I can’t say enough about how enthusiastic the car’s new owner, Lance, has been about sharing his story and time. People like Lance are true car enthusiasts and the story of his GTi purchase is a great reminder of why we all love this hobby. As I can’t do it any more justice, I’ll let Lance tell the tale:


GCFSB: How long have you been looking for a GTi, and was the Callaway GTi your goal or a bonus?

Lance: I have a fond memory of when my father used to drive our 1st Generation GTI when I was about 12 years old and just a kid. We had a long cul de sac driveway that was approximately a quarter of a mile which seemed like a mile when I was a kid. My father who was my best friend and mentor used to flat shift from first to second on our driveway and I’d continually ask him to stop the car & do it again – over & over again… it was a blast when I was a youngster. Nevertheless I looked for 8 long years to find a good representation of a stock VW GTI that was identical to the one I remembered. My mission was to surprise him with it. Unfortunately he passed away in 2004 from a rare disease called amyloidosis, in his honor we started the Chip Miller Charitable Foundation – more at I discontinued my hunt for the GTI due to his passing. However my friend, Tim Scanlon, remembered that I was looking for a black GTI and shot me an email with pics of the car in 2009 (5 years from his passing)- needless to say I purchased it without hesitation.

I’m certain my father would be proud of the black GTI purchase, it’s a pretty sweet little car, it drives perfect and even has functional AC, lights & etc. Life is good was his motto and I do my best to live by it! I guess for me the memory from when I was a child is what really strikes me. The GTI was a badass little street rocket and I was lucky enough to have a cool father that wasn’t afraid to bang through the gears on our driveway!

Fast forward 4 years…

I woke up early one morning and decided to look on ebay through my cell phone without waking up my wife. I searched for “Renntech” and was checking out a few cars that popped up, nothing really grabbed my attention. Next I did a search for “Callaway” and the first thing that popped up was a 1983 Volkswagen GTI Callaway with 18,000 miles. I about fell out of my bed! I read the advertisement and was excited as can be. I actually woke my wife up at this point and told her I’m going to buy a new car! I bid on it first and quickly became the high bidder. Irony has it, I really wasn’t looking to purchase a car – I was more just looking to see some neat rides. It never hurts to dream, right?!


GCFSB: Tell us a bit about your pre-purchase inspection – how did it go, how was it arranged, and were there any surprises?

Lance: It worked quite well asking on if someone with knowledge lives close by where the vehicle is listed for sale. There were a couple of details that concerned me about the ad on ebay. 1) the images were terrible and didn’t show enough details of the vehicle being sold 2) the seller had zero (0) feedback 3) the engine bay looked older than an 18,000 mile car 4) I sent out some questions pertaining to the vehicle and never heard back for the first 48 hours 5) the ad was written oddly, meaning it was an original owner car but didn’t appear to be written by the owner. I decided the safest thing for me to do was have someone go do a pre-purchase inspection of the car. This would allow me to know if the car is what the ad states it is and potentially get some much better pictures sent my way without having to drive 5 1/2 hours each way. When roaming on I decided to search for the ’83 Callaway GTI to see what people were saying and sure enough it was on the site. I decided to post a quick question to see if anyone would bite knowing if they are on that forum they will most likely know what they are looking at. Sure enough within a few minutes I had a private message from one of the members stating that they lived approximately an hour away from Millford, WV where the car is located. His name was John and I asked him what I could do in order to get him to look at the car – simple enough, he just wanted to see it himself! He said, cover my fuel cost and I’ll go. We had a deal!

Low and behold I received an answer from the owner after about 48 hours of my questions being written on ebay. Her message stated that she was having technical issues with her computer and didn’t answer any of my questions. Obviously, this scared me to death! I immediately fired another message to her on ebay and asked for her to call me and provided her with my cell number. Sure enough she called me. The owner turned out to be a super sweet older woman that explained to me she never used ebay before. She told me her computer has been giving her problems off and on. We finally got down to business where I could ask the questions I had for her. She nailed every one! She was selling the car because it was her husband’s baby and unfortunately he had recently passed away. She no longer had a need for the vehicle. She then told me that he logged all the miles driven in the vehicle along with keeping any and all paperwork regarding the car. She said it was stored inside every day of its life and it was only used for joy rides. In fact only three people ever drove the car – her husband, her son and her! Her handle for ebay was also a tad scary “junkid1” – my interpretation was “Junk Kid”. However after speaking with her… her name was June Kidd. Another relief!


Lance: At this point I had arranged for John from to go look at the vehicle. John went there in the morning prior to someone else looking at the vehicle. He told me he’ll text me as soon as he arrives. I was in a long meeting and quickly forgot about the GTI and John. However once the meeting was over about 3 hours later I realized John never texted me. So I started texting him and as I was typing he called me. He told me his cell phone didn’t work at her place, so he was calling from her phone. He told me that with being a stickler in every capacity that this car was a 9.5 out of 10. He also told me it would be easy and fun to make this car a 10 out of 10, stating it only needs some minor updates to really make it perfect. He kept telling me how blown away he was with the incredible overall condition. Needless to say I was excited and couldn’t wait to see the images he took which he assured me he’ll post later when he returned to home. John was awesome in every capacity! His images and his raving review were exactly the information I needed in order to pull the trigger. The only surprise was that the car was stronger than I initially thought per the inspection and images.


GCFSB: Midway through bidding, it was obvious this car was going to be expensive. Were you concerned at all watching your bids get higher?

Lance: I really wanted the car. How often do you run across a low mile, original owner, all documentation & records with a Callaway Turbo stage II installed at Callaway Cars?!? After having John look the car over and send me some great photographs I knew I had to own this incredible car. I’m a total sucker for low mile, original cars that are well documented – I’m just thankful to be the next caretaker of this beautiful little rocket! When John told me this car was near perfect in every capacity I knew I wasn’t going to let this car sell to somebody else. However I knew there would be other people wanting the vehicle just as bad as I did, especially the ones that were able to see it firsthand. My only hope was that there wouldn’t be strong action for the car at the end of the auction. Well, my only hope didn’t come to fruition! There were some serious buyers on this Callaway GTI and I wasn’t about to let it get away. I’ve done this in the past and knew I’d be kicking myself if I didn’t pull the trigger.

I was on the road with my family headed to North Carolina when the bidding was ending. I decided to use esnipe to take care of my bidding on the GTI. I decided to place a ‘crazy’ high bid in on the vehicle of $25,550 to ensure I would be the high bidder unless someone was even more insane that me. You might ask – why $25,500 – simple, because to me that’s what I felt the car was worth in today’s market. Some people out there might say I’m insane, but I challenge you to find me another one like it… original owner, no rust, low miles, Callaway Stage II installed at the Callaway Cars Factory, all documentation, fuel miles logged by the owner since new and the list goes on… Needless to say I’m confident Mark I GTI’s are at their infancy in collectability. I’ll go out on a limb and claim in the next 20 years a GTI of this caliber will fetch in the six figure territory. Although that’s not the reason I purchased this car, it won’t surprise me if it happens. Just read various forums and talk to passionate VW Mark I GTI owners – passion drives the market and so does money. As the generations that really loved these GTI’s get higher paying jobs and etc. they will go back to their childhood favorite cars and they will be willing to pay whatever it takes to get them. I see this over and over again in the line of work I’m involved with today – car events; Carlisle Events. Needless to say I won the car, but it came with a steep price tag in today’s market.

I feel strongly that if you purchase a vehicle it should be one that you are truly going to enjoy, whether it be on the road or simply to look at in your garage. For me, I love the car and will certainly enjoy driving it on various occasions. I’ll also showcase the car so others have the opportunity to see this rare piece of history.


GCFSB: Now that you have the car you’ve wanted, what are the plans for it?

Lance: Enjoy it! I’m one of “those” people that sleep better at night knowing I’ve got another car in my collection that fits well – strange, but I believe “car people” get exactly what I’m talking about… it’s simply a passion and I’m thankful I have it! Now time for the shameless plug… If you’re interested in seeing this beauty firsthand, I’d encourage you and every other German car lover to come out to enjoy the Carlisle Import & Kit Nationals held annually in May. More information can be found by visiting our website:


GCFSB: What else do you have in the garage, if anything?

Lance: I’m a car guy at heart, but Corvettes are typically at the top of my list. All cars that made history due to design, power, race results and so forth really get my blood flowing. With this said, I’ve got the only Callaway Twin Turbo Corvette race car that ran in the World Challenge Series. The 2005 Test and Development Callaway Corvette dubbed the Carlisle Callaway Corvette is another favorite of mine – it was in every Corvette magazine and accomplished a mid 10 second run at over 130 mph back in ’05 along with big brakes, Callaway suspension and etc. Recently a purchase from overseas called the Callaway LM is one of my latest additions, it ran in the 24 Hours of Le Mans three consecutive years and won the SCCA World Challenge S2 Class here in the USA. Another one of my favorites is the ’84 GTI that resembles the one my father used to bang gears in when I was a child (black/blue interior). My all time favorite vehicle is a ’60 Cunningham Corvette that won its class in Le Mans back in 1960 which we took back to Le Mans 50 years later for a reunion along with the original driver John Fitch, check out the Quest Documentary – there was a film written and produced by Michael Brown – Another couple vehicles that I “had” to have is the ’06 Ford GT Tungsten and an ’94 Porsche Turbo last of the air cooled turbo’s of that generation. I also have a few other cars with the details I look for in a vehicles as well.

GCFSB: Thanks, Lance! It’s an incredible collection for sure. Lance was also nice enough to share a correspondence with the original builder of the car, the legendary Reeves Callaway


Reeves: Lance, as promised, a short history of the Callaway turbo GTI.

Remember that Callaway turbo systems was the company started in the back of my house in old Lyme Connecticut around 1977.

It was a point to choose only cars that could stand a substantial increase in power and still remain reliable. This pretty much defined the small German cars: BMW Porsche Mercedes and VW

The VW rabbit series and the subsequent GTI series, had a good enthusiast following in the sport hatchback segment. They became a good candidate for some substantial horsepower increasing.

We had good success in turbo charging the BMW 3,5, 6 and 7 series. So we decided to translate some of that philosophy to the VW productline.

The idea was to sell a very complete kit so that the advanced do-it-yourselfer in his garage had everything that he needed to wind up to turbocharging the VW reliably, quickly, and with a great feeling of more power.


Reeves: We manufactured all of the components, the exhaust manifold, the tubing, the intercooling, the exhaust system, and the fuel enrichment system, and placed them all in boxes on Friday afternoon and UPS would come and pick up the entire weeks production. We shipped them all COD direct to the owners. There were five of us working out of the house, and those were the days. Beany had just been born. Pete was on the way. the shop was in the middle of being expanded and the reputation in the marketplace was good. the money was rolling in, no accounts payable and no accounts receivable.

There were 2 hp levels: stage one I believe was about 120 hp & stage two was 175 hp. The stage two cars with front-wheel-drive and the tires of the day, were a quite amusing torque steer proposition.

Very glad that you have what appears to be a good example of the vintage. Thanks for your continued enthusiasm. I’m sure dad is proud.

Best regards,

E. Reeves Callaway

Callaway Cars Incorporated
2441 Pullman Street
Santa Ana CA 92705


Do you have a success story you’d like to share with us? Send us an email at If we select you we’ll feature your car on Facebook!


1978 Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel L

When one talks about dream Mk.1 Volkswagens, the Rabbit Diesel L usually doesn’t come to mind. Typically folks want an early gas model or the GTi, but this diesel may just sway a few people. Period correct (and back in vogue today) respray in brown over tan interior with a cabriolet body kit, this diesel looks neat and is sure to save you lots and lots of money at the pump. If Volkswagen was still importing Rabbits to the U.S. in 1991, this is what they would have looked like:

Year: 1978
Model: Rabbit Diesel L
Engine: 1.6 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 59,566 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel L on eBay

I am selling my fully restored 1978 VW Rabbit Diesel. Runs and drives perfect.

The engine was replaced with rebuilt 1.6 L diesel engine and 5 speed manual transmission. New water pump, timing belt, bearings, piston

rings ( GOETZE brand), and new injectors. 59400 miles on the car, but only 500 miles on the rebuilt engine.

New battery, and heather core. No A/C.

New clutch, and clutch cable.

New (Brembo) front brakes and pads. new rear break shoes and wheel cylinder. New master brake cylinder, and emergency brake cable.

New struts (Sachs) and struts mounts on front, and new rear struts. All new wheel bearings (front and rear).

Nice 14″ aluminum wheels taken from 1990 Jetta with good used tires. Alignment and tire balance done.

Custom bumpers, grill, and double euro headlights (replacement H4 bulbs).

Car painted.

Interior looks great. New brown carpet, with original tan headliner, and clean tan leather seats. Two small cracks on dashboard (see picture).

Original radio, new door speakers. GTI console with gauges oil, temperature, and voltage.

For additional information call 330-328-4178

There is no doubt that a tremendous amount of work went into this L, and that’s pretty atypical. A careful buyer should be willing to pay a premium with all of this work done – with an engine overhaul, all the bodywork done, and a neat interior, if you want an earlier Rabbit that’s both show-worthy and an economical driver, this car suits the bill perfectly. I love the combination of the cabriolet pieces onto the 4 door Rabbit; I think it works perfectly without looking out of place. The teardrop alloys also fit perfectly, again looking correct without being out of place. As a period resto-mod piece, this car just strikes me as awesome. Reserve is still on but as of writing bidding is low; I’d expect the reserve is in the $5,000 – $7,000 range considering the amount of work that’s been put into this; at that price, it’d be well worth it.