Volkswagen’s GTI is legendary on its own as a performance icon. It’s also got a deserved reputation as one of the most tunable cars out there; from turbos to suspension and everything in between, it’s no surprise that the basic GTI is actually hard to find.
One of the more popular visual tuners in the 1980s was Kamei. The company provided everything from hood scoops to spoilers, and headlight conversions to fender flares. While they have a decidedly 80s feel, that vibe is currently very much in vogue. So when an original GTI comes along with the full spectrum of Kamei accessories, it’s one to take notice of:
If the M6 I just wrote up was full of non-original details, it’s hard to find anything that came from the factory on this Audi Coupe GT. Much of that I can appreciate, as I myself have fully modified a Coupe GT from stock form. It’s a chassis often overlooked because of the layout; on paper, just like a 911 the Coupe GT shouldn’t work. It’s front drive with an open differential and a very forward weight bias; unlike nearly all the Volkswagens, the engine in the GT in longitudinally laid out. That’s because it effectively was a front drive Quattro platform; many of the details of the front drive GTs are shared with their Quattro cousins. The configuration leaves a giant inline-5 cylinder motor hanging fully in front of the axle line, and the motor which promised the power of a 6 with the economy of a 4 was really the opposite. Yet, as with the 911, something magical was born from this recipe; not only did enthusiasts love the GT, but indeed even automotive experts said the 2-door Audi was more than the sum of its parts. GTs dance through corners with a poise that isn’t shared with the Volkswagen GTis, for example. They’re stunningly composed over long trips too, both spacious and at home cruising on the highway. And, importantly, they looked different than just any 2-door sedan; the angular delight of the Giugiaro design translated well into the narrow body. But just like the GTi and the E30, the platform had room for improvement; stiffen up the suspension and add power and it punches well above its weight class:
Time for another parts roundup, and today I’m focusing on some aftermarket and rare parts. There are some really desirable pieces here, and some pretty horrible looks (I’m looking at you, Kamei). What’s your favorite, what would you like on your ride or what would you like to see?
Recently we’ve had a wave of lightly modified, good condition A1 GTis. Always a popular platform for tuners and back yard mechanics, the GTi for a long time was cheap, modifications were plentiful, and they mostly lived a hard life. Today, finding clean examples will yield you a highly sought after prize; with so few left, the price has been driven up and nice examples are coming out of the woodwork to test the waters. Today we have two modified but clean GTis – will either be to your taste? Let’s look at the cleaner and more original of the two:
In lieu of the normal “Tuner Tuesday” posts, today I decided to write up two home-brew specials in the likeness of many tuners. We started with the 1968 BMW 1600 S14 swap, a rare to see model with some really great looking and fun-increasing modifications. But I think the cake might go to this afternoon’s Christmas Eve special, a 1977 Volkswagen Scirocco that has more period modifications than you’ll usually see – but manages to pull it off really well! That can’t always be said for 1980s-era modifications in general, as quite a few were in questionable taste. That’s part of what makes this Scirocco so special and neat to see, if seeing an old Scirocco wasn’t neat enough. We’ve gotten to see two this week, the all original and mint condition 1981 Scirocco and today’s tuned example:
Period correct GTi’s and project cars like this one don’t exist because they’ve been driven hard, beaten, and destroyed over the years. So when one comes up that is persevered, I get pretty excited. This is exactly as I would’ve built the car as a senior in high school in 1992 (if I had funds then of course!) Check out this great looking 1976 Rabbit GTi period modified car for sale:
quote from seller’s Portland Craigslist ad:
76 VW Rabbit,owned/built by 25+ year VW parts manager. Has been in dry storage for over 20 years.Rare Zender body kit,Koni adjustable front and rear struts,poly suspension bushings,callaway large front and rear sway bars,Hurst short shifter,upper and lower stut braces,VDO gauges,44mm dual sidedraft mikunis,1.7L with large valve ported head,euro spec GTI cam,adjustable cam sprocket,high capacity baffeled oil pan,header w/2″ exhaust,large brakes,front vent windows,rare opening rear Kamei side windows,BBS wheels.New tags,tons more $4500
I recently picked up a stack of old VW & Porsche magazines and this car would easily have been a feature within those pages. And good luck finding some of these parts today like the Mikuni carbs and manifold, Callaway bars, and Zender aero kit. As a complete car, $4500 sounds like a great deal to me and of increasing value in coming years. Have you seen what’s happening to GTi prices? I may have to drive up just to take a closer look and re-live my high school years!