Used Car of the Day: 1983 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Today we're featuring a car entering its fourth decade of life -- and apparently, it's still in decent shape. Not everyone who is in their 40s can say that.

This 1983 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI is on sale for $7,200 and has about 130K miles -- the odometer is broken.

It's a manual-transmission car, and the seller says it runs well and has only limited rust issues. It also needs some windshield, upholstery, and interior trim parts. The seller has replaced/maintained a long list of factory parts and has also gone deep into the aftermarket.

The A/C has been deleted, though the parts remain.

Give it a look-see here.

[Images: Seller]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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2 of 26 comments
  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Feb 28, 2023

    My first car that had sporting brother lent me his '84 GTI (black of course) when he was out of the country for a few months. Wasn't particularly fast, but compared to my Fury that I drove during that time, is felt like a slot car. Nice shift as well. I had to have it repaired several times in those months. Stereo was stolen too. The scum broke in by jamming something under the driver door handle. Apparently that was a design defect that thieves figured out pretty quickly.

  • Mikedt Mikedt on Mar 01, 2023

    Would love to have one of these in rust free condition. Crisp clean lines, snappy handling and acres of glass to see out of. The perfect "more fun to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow".

    My first car was a Sirocco from the same era. It unfortunately was already starting to rust.

  • 28-Cars-Later "The unions" need to not be the UAW and maybe there's a shot. Maybe.
  • 2manyvettes I had a Cougar of similar vintage that I bought from my late mother in law. It did not suffer the issues mentioned in this article, but being a Minnesota car it did have some weird issues, like a rusted brake line.(!) I do not remember the mileage of the vehicle, but it left my driveway when the transmission started making unwelcome noises. I traded it for a much newer Ford Fusion that served my daughter well until she finished college.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Couple of questions: 1) who will be the service partner for these when Rivian goes Tits Up? 2) What happens with software/operating system support when Rivia goes Tits Up? 3) What happens to the lease when Rivian goes Tits up?
  • Richard I loved these cars, I was blessed to own three. My first a red beauty 86. My second was an 87, 2+2, with digital everything. My third an 87, it had been ridden pretty hard when I got it but it served me well for several years. The first two I loved so much. Unfortunately they had fuel injection issue causing them to basically burst into flames. My son was with me at 10 years old when first one went up. I'm holding no grudges. Nissan gave me 1600$ for first one after jumping thru hoops for 3 years. I didn't bother trying with the second. Just wondering if anyone else had similar experience. I still love those cars.
  • TheEndlessEnigma A '95 in Iowa, I'm thinking significant frame and underbody rust issues.