Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
6/4/15 3:52 p.m.

The early 1980s were a trying time for auto enthusiasts in the U.S. Thanks to the oil crisis and government regulations, muscle cars were fat and slow, sports cars were festooned with giant bumpers and choking emissions equipment, and sporty sedans like the BMW 2002tii were simply not made anymore. The U.S. needed a miracle to keep the notion of the fun car alive.

Thankfully, Volkswagen was there to perform one. Nearly a decade after introducing the first front-wheel-drive econobox that Americans could actually be coerced into buying–the Rabbit–VW brought over the version that Americans actually wanted to buy, the 1983 Rabbit GTI.

Packing more power, improved handling and more attractive styling into the same practical shell proved to be a winning formula for Volkswagen, and the GTI sold exceedingly well. As one of our first real “hot hatches,” the GTI simultaneously created a market and dominated it.

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Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
6/4/15 4:46 p.m.

Hey, I remember this story. What a fun car!

captdownshift SuperDork
6/4/15 4:49 p.m.

I thought it didn't see boost until 1999

noddaz Dork
6/7/15 6:31 p.m.

Very nice! Sounds like lots of fun too...

tuna55 UltimaDork
6/9/15 7:31 a.m.

What a neat little ride. Thanks for the story.

dean1484 MegaDork
6/9/15 8:09 a.m.

Great Car. I had one Black on black with red badging. Even in to the mid to late 90's it was still keeping up with many of the "modern" cars.

DAVEG New Reader
7/9/15 4:58 p.m.

My current 1984 GTI more than keeps up with 150HP and gets 40MPG...that should be the story. An all around car that can haul stuff and move you out smartly weighing only 1900lbs.

84FSP SuperDork
4/29/19 10:25 a.m.

These were really cool beasties and the Calloway kit is still sought after by the VWVortex crowd.  They were however famous for losing fueling and melting pistons unfortunately.  The K-Jetronic setup was a bit on the challenging side.  It seems the fix is to swap over to the same K-jetronic that came on the turbo volvo's of the time.

airwilf New Reader
4/30/19 1:33 p.m.

Fondly remembered & missed. My '84 was black.  Still have that steering wheel shown in the first picture, VW emblem & all. 

Saron81 Reader
4/30/19 2:43 p.m.

I miss that view. My 83 GTI was one of my favorite cars I’ve had. Just a lot of fun. 

airwilf New Reader
4/30/19 3:37 p.m.

Forgot to add to my above comment. . I have a model  in my display case of  a VW that I built of my 77 Champagne Edition Rabbit , same as the #60 car above. Painted same color with a spray can from the dealer. Same wheels , except I painted mine gold.

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