There are very few race cars that I instantly fall in love with. A vast majority of them I see as very cool or with unique aspects, but often I’m left feeling as though I would do something – or many things – very different than the builder. But the moment I laid my eyes on this Rabbit, I fell instantly in love. Now, truth told I had already been thinking about an early Volkswagen race car – this time around, my thoughts lingered on some of the Scirocco SCCA racers. Hunkered down with all-too-awesome gold BBS magnesium wheels and a deep air dam, they just look spectacular to me. That feeling instantly transferred to this Rabbit. One of the earliest imported to the U.S., it’s the desirable Swallowtail model which looks much closer to the original Giugiaro design than the later U.S. built examples. There’s something that’s so pretty, so delicate about the early Golf/Rabbit design. It was refreshingly different from what Volkswagen had produced up to that point, but it was also purposeful in its design. With light weight and a dose of sport, these early Rabbits paved the way for what would become the performance arm of Volkswagen, centered around the A1 based GTi. But even before the GTi hit these shores there were plenty of racers that saw the opportunity to race the Rabbit on a budget. This early build was competitive right through the 1980s; in fact, I bet with the right driver it would still be close to the front today:
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