As a long time Volkswagen enthusiast I always had a special place for rabbits. In the summer of 2002, two things happened that would change my life. First, my brother sold his beloved Black 1984 Rabbit Gti. A car that gave us many memories and really the car that gave me the appreciation for these pocket rockets. Second, I sold my 1985 Scirocco which i had bought from the original owner. Timing was perfect, as the classifieds came up that week and I saw it. A 1983 Royal Red Gti only 3hrs away in Connecticut. Turns out it was a Louisiana car that had spent a good amount of 10 years garaged in Pittsburgh. Owner moved Connecticut and lost motivation to restore it.
It was priced to sell since it needed almost every seal replaced. That weekend we drove to get it with my dads truck and a tow dolly. As life has taught most of us, cars are meant to be driven and not be stored. The previous owner bought the car after the original owner brought the car up to Pittsburgh. He bought a brand new 1997 Jetta Vr6 as a daily driver and kept the rabbit as a weekend car. The limited use took its toll and parts just wore over the years. He told me to take care of it, as he too was a volkswagen lover. I’ve held up to that deal.
In the 12 years I’ve owned the car, I’ve managed to restore and replace everything mechanical. It’s not the fastest, not the cleanest, but in every single way this car is part of me. Those who know me know of this GTI which has never left my side in 12 years. I’ve owned over 100 volkswagens in my 32 years yet this one just stuck.
One day I would like to say I kept the car that gives me the greatest joy. It’s the imperfections, the nicks, the scratches, the smell of gas, the subtle bouncy suspension on a turn all add to that love. Even the smell of a Mk1 GTi is unmistakable once it’s in your system. She has been babied, with only 164,000 original miles on the odometer. Like a loyal dog, my GTI has been the only constant in my life. Windows down, some rocking 80’s tunes, some twisty roads is all the little Volkswagen ever wanted.
Car stories aren’t about perfection. They are about the drive. That moment when you hold that wheel, the world around you is gone. Gear after gear, turn after turn, you smile like a 10 year old. Find that car, hold on to it for I feel everyone should have their own version of my “1983 Rabbit Gti “.