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:
A few weeks ago, I wrote up a low-mile 1977 Rabbit that, while it was very pretty, lacked some originality because of a motor swap to a diesel unit. Today, we have another survivor Rabbit with lower miles. This one is still on it’s original paint, too – though not as striking as the green from the 1977, this one year earlier 70s appropriate brown still looks pretty impressive. This past weekend a few of us from GCFSB headed over to a Volkswagen show, and I have to say I feel like I’ve lost touch with the VW crowd completely. Air bags, ridiculously large wheels and matte paint were all the rage – and there we were with a clean modified A1, my Audi GT, a BMW 325is returned to OEM specs. We were fish out of water, but had a good time looking over each other’s cars again, marveling at new scene and where we lost touch. But this VW is right up our alley; with some tasteful modifications, a neat Callaway Turbo swap and original paint, this is the type of car I’d walk towards at a show:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1976 Volkswagen Rabbit on eBay
By the time the late 1960s rolled around, Volkswagen saw the writing on the wall when it came to the Beetle. It was time to plan for its replacement. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Golf (or Rabbit as it came to be known in the US), was one of the first mass produced front engined, front-wheel drive, transverse engined compacts to gain success after the introduction of the trailblazing Mini in 1959. In 1978, Volkswagen began to produce this compact hatchback in the US at the Westmoreland, Pennsylvania manufacturing plant under the Rabbit badge. But before the domestic Rabbits began to roll off the line, the very first Rabbits to appear in the US were distinguished by their curious rear bodywork, with a drooping panel line around the rear tail lamps. These early Rabbits became known as the “swallowtail.”
It’s rare to come across these early Rabbits, but this 1975 model for sale in Florida is one of the earliest we’ve featured here on GCFSB, with a build date of December 1974. For the purist, this is certainly a chance to snag what has to be one the earliest, most well preserved Rabbits on US shores.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 Volkswagen Rabbit on eBay
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