1983 Volkswagen VW Rabbit GTI

  • Location: Caribou, Maine, United States
  • Condition: Used
  • Make: Volkswagen
  • Model: Rabbit
  • Type: Hatchback
  • Trim: GTI
  • Year: 1983
  • Mileage: 159599
  • VIN: 1VWDC0171DV041912
  • Color: Red
  • Engine size: 1.8
  • Number of cylinders: 4
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Drive type: FWD
  • Interior color: Red
  • Drive side: Left-hand drive
  • Vehicle Title: Clean

1983 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI Description

The GTI was purchased new in May 1983 from Presque Isle Volkswagen Inc. by an Airman in the 42nd CES (Civil Engineering Squadron) at nearby Loring Air Force Base. I contacted him after finding his name on the original "Rusty Jones" warranty card. He immediately recognized the car and told me how much he enjoyed driving it. He ended up trading the car in to Danny Brewer Inc. in Presque Isle, Maine on April 18, 1984 with a slipping clutch.
On April 27, 1984, a highly-respected local technology teacher, motorsports enthusiast, and car nut, bought the GTI from Danny Brewer Inc. in Presque Isle with 18,435 miles and a 60-day warranty. He was beginning his career as a teacher at Caribou High School, and this would be one of the newest cars he would ever own. Because of this, he was meticulous in maintaining the car and keeping receipts. He drove to Caribou every day from Westmanland, about a 30-mile commute round trip. The miles quickly racked up. He drove the car up until 2000, when he purchased a black 1983 Rabbit GTI to use as a winter driver.
In the fall of 2007, he was at a local tire shop flipping through the September 2007 issue of “Automobiles” in the waiting room. On page 78 was the Volkswagen Rabbit GTI; #25 on the "Greatest Cars of All Time" list. This moment was the turning point in his obsession with Rabbit GTIs. After the Red GTI had sat for about 5 years, he towed the car to Caribou High School and began work on what would become his "sleeper".
The engine and suspension were removed and rebuilt. The suspension was rebuilt with Prothane polyurethane bushings, 21mm rear sway bars, 17mm front sway bars, and Vogt land coil overs. The engine was rebuilt by Caron & Sons engine shop in Caribou. It was bored .020. Other work includes: brake line kit, braided brake line kit, front left and right calipers, rear drums, heater core, shift kit, etc. While the engine and suspension were off the car, the engine bay and undercarriage were cleaned. New left and right floor plans were welded in, other spots were riveted and covered in undercoating rubber. Basically, every moving part was replaced or rebuilt with documentation to prove it. Hood pins were added to eliminate the hood release cable, which he was tired of breaking all the time.
The car was back on the road in July 2011, after about 3 years of work. In August 2011, he brought his newly rebuilt GTI to the former Loring AFB for an autocross event hosted by Cumberland County Motor Club, that happens once a year. Sometime after the event, he began to experience trouble with the CIS system and thought the fuel pump was bad. After driving the car less than 500 miles and spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours working on it, he was weary to spend anymore. The car sat for about 6 years in his yard alongside his other GTIs until I stumbled upon them.
In September 2019, I became the proud owner of the GTI. I immediately started working on it. He said he believed the fuel pump was bad, it wasn't. I replaced the fuel filter, cleaned the pressure regulator and fuel lines, and replaced the CIS distributor from another car and it fired up.

The following I have done in my ownership:

New OEM molded carpet
New rearview mirror
New grille
New vinyl side decals
New wiper motor
New blower motor
Repainted front + rear bumpers
New headlights
New front pads + rotors + right caliper
New fuel filter
New CIS distributor
New battery
New door handles
The Royal Red paint is completely original. I used a single stage buffing compound to restore the shine from the faded paint. I restored all the plastic fender flares and bump strips back to black. I removed and painted the front and rear bumpers. I re-applied the vinyl side stripe. There is a new wiper motor, blower motor, front grille, headlights, front rotors and pads, and new door handles with locks. The interior is in great shape for a 36-year-old car. The driver’s seat was modified to sit more like a bucket seat but retaining the original cloth, it also has a bracket so the seat wouldn't move during racing. The bracket must be removed in order to adjust the seat. I fit comfortably in the seat, so I haven’t removed it. There is a tear on the right-side bolster. The passenger seat has a small split in the cloth. The Kenwood head unit does not work. The rearview mirror needs a new lens. The rear seat is mostly intact other thansome tears on each side in the brittle cloth. I purchased and installed NOS frontal molded carpet. The other carpet pieces are original. It retains the original spare tire and lug wrench. The cardboard headliner is completely gone. The roof unfortunately has several dents caused by the weight of the snow that accumulated during the winters outside. It is not noticeable unless you are looking at the roof. The hood also has a similar large dent. I think a talented auto body person could pop out these dents and at the same time save the original paint. The battery tray was unfortunately cut out and is missing. This was done to redistribute weight by placing the battery in the spare wheel well in the trunk, for whatever racing purpose. I RE-relocated the battery back to the engine bay, but must use a ratchet strap to secure it in place.

For documents, I have the original dealer packet including the original Window Sticker, owner’s manual, "Rusty Jones" warranty, touch up paint bottle, Warranty & Maintenance booklet, Pirelli tire warranty booklet, paperwork from when it was traded in, various registration papers, a complete folder of receipts before the rebuild, and a complete folder of receipts during the rebuild.
As for rust, the body is really not that bad. I have been living in Northern Maine for over 10 years and the only cars that are not rusty are ones that are never driven. This car was a daily driver for just under 20 years and despite how well taken care of it was, there are rust spots. The rust on this car however in no way effects the drivability. Any rust found during the rebuild was repaired. Please see the pictures for detail. If more pictures are desired, please contact me. I have videos of me driving the car but cannot figure out how to add them.



On Nov-04-19 at 17:15:17 PST, seller added the following information:

Video of drive-by: https://youtu.be/Ish41TBg_vE Video of takeoff: https://youtu.be/lWOkLc3ShNE The previous owner, Tom Hale, recommended I reveal who he is and provide a link to his blog. Tom is a blogger for the Bangor Daily News, and writes about current motorsport events in and around Northern Maine. The following link chronicles the sale of his GTIs to me and details some of the work he did, including photos. 

On Nov-05-19 at 16:24:19 PST, seller added the following information:

For more pictures----- http://s1378.photobucket.com/user/walker_e/slideshow/

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