1977 Volkswagen Rabbit Track Day Car For Sale SOLD!

Rabbit GTi Track Car Wallpaper

It is time to part with our faithful ‘77 Rabbit that has served as a great entry into amateur motorsports over the last 7+ years. We’ve done numerous track days at Portland International Raceway (where the Indy cars used to race), autocrosses, and several runs at the Larison Rock Hillclimb. Unfortunately the car has been sitting for a couple seasons and just isn’t being used anymore with other projects in the stable. It’s time for a new owner.

This car was built by a professional Volkswagen mechanic who was working at Independent Auto Werks (Bug Werks) here in Corvallis at the time. Together we carefully pieced together all the proven parts for this MK1 platform:

– Engine is an MK2 2.0L bottom end with 1.8L 16 valve head. This combination is well documented to provide an immediate 15hp gain over the base 2.0L 16v configuration for 155hp total. At around 1850lbs it really scoots! We opted for the simpler CIS-E fuel injection as it’s easier to work with than the later Motronic setups. While the motor has seen action over the years, it still provides lots of power. It is still fitted with stock cams to maintain reliability and driveability to and from the track.

– Exhaust is optimized with a dual outlet manifold for reliability, then routed to a Techtonics race downpipe and on to a matching Techtonics exhaust with Magnaflow muffler. Yes it’s noisy but not in a ricey way. Very distinctive tuned 4 cylinder VW water-cooled sound.

– Engine is coupled to a lightweight VW Motorsports flywheel and Sachs clutch combo which allows the motor spin up with ease. Power is sent through an 84 GTi close ratio transmission. The transmission makes some noise on deceleration but has since we built the car some 7+ years ago. I expect it’ll be fine for limited track usage as there is no issue finding or using all the gears, but may require a rebuild at some point considering.

– Suspension is simple but well sorted. An H&R Cup Kit consists of matched springs and shocks (non-adjustable) for a mild drop and more sporting ride. Front upper and lower stress bars are fitted along with a rear strut tower brace. Also a heavy duty rear sway bar is fitted. All bushings were refreshed when fitted. The ride is very flat but not harsh. This combination helps to dial out a lot of the understeer and cornering is easily controlled with gentle throttle response.

– Brakes are upgraded discs up front from an MK2 GTi and we retained the drums in the back. We had originally fitted rear discs as well but had issues with lockup in the back due to the light weight. Willwood proportioning valves are installed for fine tuning.

Two sets of wheels are included. The car is currently riding on “snowflake” GTi rims with mismatched tires to get you to and from the track. Also included are aftermarket alloys with used road racing slicks. Available for separate negotiation are some very rare, period correct Intra 14×6 German alloys that replicate the look of early Porsche 928 rims. The Intra rims would be perfect if you’re considering this car for a GTi restoration.

Interior is stripped and focused on only what is needed for track work. An early Passat steering wheel is fitted for better feel and textured race pedals are in place. A Sparco Pro 2000 race fixed back bucket is fitted for the driver and a generic aftermarket seat is in place for the instructor. Both seats have 4 point Schroth harnesses. The stock dash is removed and a custom console is fitted with gauges to monitor oil, water, charging, and revs. The heater core is still intact but it blocked off at the moment. Can be reactivated to warm the interior on cold mornings. Rear defroster works as does instrument lighting. Most carpet and sound deadening is removed, so it’s very loud inside the car and you hear every creak, rattle, bang, and bump. But with a helmet on it’s just part of the experience.

– The exterior is a decent 5 footer. In honesty it’s a poor Maaco paint job that was applied before we acquired the car, but it can be made to look decent as seen in the photos. There are lots of chips, dings, dimples, and yes surface rust. I have tried to capture the worst of it in the photos. This car is not ready for the show circuit but plenty presentable as you make your entry into amateur motorsports. Features GTi fender flares and aftermarket replica European bumpers. All lights work. Headlights are European H4’s with city lights in the park position. Color matched GTi airdam is also fitted.

The good: This car is very well sorted and should clear inspection for autocross, trackday or hillclimb. A simple tuneup should be applied but runs fine with no stumbling and tracks straight. To be used for road racing or rally you’ll need additional safety equipment like a rollbar or cage, fuel cell, window netting, fire suppression, etc… But even after sitting for a few seasons it is running well with just a new battery and a full tank of gas. I also put new tags on the car today so it’s registered until 2013. I drove the car in a spirited manner this afternoon and it made me wish I had space to put it on jack stands and come back to it someday.

The bad: It does have some surface rust on a 5 foot paint job and a couple holes in the floor boards. But for what it was built for it’s ready for more action with just minor TLC. After a thorough once over, I wouldn’t hesitate to drive up to Portland, track it, and drive back like we have numerous times over the past several years.

This car is perfect for someone who is looking to get into local amateur racing or a GTi restoration project. Please email me for more information or to arrange for a look in person. Here are links to my personal blog with stories about how we used the car (note the time stamps):

Please email me if interested in more information or a closer look at the car. I am asking $2350 obo and the Intra wheels mentioned are available at additional cost. With a full price offer I’ll include a used but legal autocross helmet, magnetic numbers, and the fire extinguisher. I’d love to see this car find a home that will appreciate it and the time spent putting it together. Thanks for looking.

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Good Looking Datsun 1200 Race Car For Sale on the Cheap

Paul and I are going to prep the Rabbit for sale soon. It’s been a fantastic introduction to track days, auto-x, and hillclimbs, but it’s time to move on to new endeavors.

That said, if I was going to be looking to get back in, I’d be looking for a used race car that was already built. And this little Datsun 1200 looks like a perfect way to get to the next level: amateur road racing. Making the step from track days to actual road racing is an expensive proposition, especially if the car you plan to campaign isn’t prepped already. Think cage, fuel cell, fire suppression… not to mention the gear! Might as well start with a budget car that’s ready to go considering. Hell, the DCOE’s and Minilites have to be worth half of the asking!

If you’re curious about budget racing, check out a new site I’ve set up for some friends that are going ChumpCar Racing: RoadToChumpCar.com Sounds like Leo and Gabe are guest driving a car late in January at Willow Springs. I’m really excited for them and looking forward to following their progress. Good luck guys!

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Lancia Delta S4 Onboard Video at Bergrennen HillClimb

I was browsing one of my new favorites, RetroSceneMagazine, and their latest blog post featuring some link love and this great video of a Lancia Delta S4 running up a hillclimb event:

The pace and scenery are so fantastic! I’m so glad that events like this still exist! Strips of beautiful road closed off for time trials that run right in the middle of small villages, rolling country side, and deep forests. And it always reminds me how lucky we are to be able to run the Larison Rock Hillclimb right in our own backyard.

The video is stamped by DasRacingTeam.ch. Their website fails the translators so I’m not sure if they’re a club, or group of owners, or what. But they do have some nice photo galleries and full videos on the site if you care to stumble around.

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2008 EESCC Larison Rock Hillclimb: Two New Personal Bests!

I had a fantastic time again this year at the EESCC Larison Rock Hillclimb. This group has to be one of the friendliest in amateur motorsports. I feel so lucky to be able to participate in such a great hillclimb each year, less than 2 hours away, in a really scenic part of Oregon!

This year my buddy Paul joined me for the weekend event. After loading up the Rabbit at the Sports Car Shop after work on Friday, we hustled our way down Highway 58 and pulled into the (now-outrageously-priced $348 for two days!) Best Western in Oakridge. We swallowed the price because the A/C does work, it also serves as race headquarters for the event, and the internet was reliable enough for us to lose all our sit-n-go’s on Pokerstars. After flying through tech that evening, we did a couple of reconnaissance laps up the course and settled in at Mazatlan Mexican Restaurant for a really nice dinner and some cervezas. We were off to a good start already!

Larison Rock 2008 Day 1 001

The next morning we dragged our asses out to the track by 7AM to be in time for the track walk/school at 7:30. Instructed by Brad Moffit, he reminded us of all the proper lines, areas of concern, and tips for success. As usual he did a great job, though we would be lucky to remember only a few tidbits as we returned to the pits. Realizing we hadn’t used the car at all in a long time (in fact I haven’t driven it all since the last Larison Hillclimb), the butterflies and anxiety started to mount. The forecast for the day was mid 90’s and when standing in the morning sun, you knew it was going to be a hot one. We enjoyed the cool morning shadows knowing the afternoon was going to be a killer.

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Larison Rock 2008 Day 1 003

I was up first in run group 2 of 4 and I made a leisurely run up as I got familiar with the car and the course again. The car was loose and I noted that downshifting to 2nd in tight corners was really working much better than lifting and pressing on uphill in 3rd at low revs and no torque. After Paul’s run, he was in agreement. Our afternoon runs both showed improvement with the hotter temperatures really helping the tires and utilizing the 2nd gear redlining method in tight corners.

Larison Rock 2008 Day 1 014

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Larison Rock 2008 Day 1 007

Day 1 was concluded with pizza and probably several gallons of Coors Light, going with the “light beer rehydration” theory after the hot afternoon. We drank a few with Derek who was pitted right in front of us on the hill. He campaigns a white 4 door 72 Datsun 510 out of San Francisco. Great looking car with a lot of cool mods like retrofitted MegaSquirt fuel injection on the L18, full cage, and gun metal grey alloys on both the race and road wheels. Cool Canadian guy with some impressive credentials including two trips to the Targa Newfoundland (!) and track time at Laguna Seca, Thunderhill, and Sears Point to name a few. Nice to meet you Derek, and hope to meet up next time we’re in the Bay Area.

With our times still well short of Ed’s best run last year, Day 2 started with a more serious tone. At least it did for me. While I really wanted to improve over my run the day before, what I really wanted was to beat my personal best time at Larison Rock of 2 minutes 14 seconds (and change). And it would be extra sweet if I could beat Ed’s best time, the best time ever in our Rabbit at Larison, of 2 minutes 11 seconds.

Paul was up first and posted a 2 minute 17 second run to match my best of the previous day. Fueling up on RedBull, I was ready to lay waste to the track feeling confident and juiced. After what felt like a good run, I actually ended up 3 tenths slower than the previous day. And I was bummed out big time. Having been beat by Ed the previous year at his first time at the hill, for my 3rd visit, I still had a bad taste in my mouth. I mean, he’s my close friend and all, but I’ll be damned if that wasn’t still leaving me with a rash!

Then Paul made his afternoon run after lunch, and came back in with a 2 minute 16 second run. I was really stoked for him for a while. Until it dawned on me that I may not have the goods to do any better and be bested two years in a row. As we melted back in the pits on a day that felt even hotter than the day previous, I decided to keep a good attitude at the event I look so forward to each year. I figured why not try a few changes and see how things go. No sunglasses (which had been working well for Paul), and only use 2nd gear for the two most uphill and tight corners, 6 and 8. Having reviewed the video for Ed’s best run last year, this method seemed to work for him.

Ed’s best 2007 run:

After waiting on the grid for what seemed like an eternity (the most overused cliche in all of automotive writing), I made my run. And it was going really well through the first 7 of 14 corners on the track. I knew I was doing well and it really put me at ease. As I entered the long and fast turn 9 from the uphill climb of turn 8, I had just finished a rather bright sun-in-the-face ascent. I entered the darkness of the forest and my eyes took a second to adjust. The narrow road section of the “forever corner” number 9 was a touch scary and I was going faster than I ever had through here. My fastest radar speed out of 9 the day before was 70 miles per hour, and as I blew past the radar complex and slid through the bend towards 10, I knew I was going to post a really good time. I handled the last few corners before the finish and arrived at the top of the course shaking very badly with a huge adrenaline rush. Turning around to park at the top, the upper grid marshal greeted me with my time written on a yellow sticky. I accepted it from him without looking and remarked, “Tell me it’s 136 [seconds] or better”. He grinned and said, “you did alot better than that!” I looked down and saw a new best time ever at the hill for me at 133, nearly 4 seconds better than my best the whole weekend, and I was really, really stoked!

While I’m still really excited and proud of my new time, I need to give props to Ed as his time stands by nearly two seconds! Paul and I both left the hill that day thinking there wasn’t much left with the car we have in the current configuration. But I guess there’s at least two seconds before we make excuses like that. Nice job my man! And as a side note, let me also add congratulations on your wedding this weekend 😉

So before anyone goes thinking that we’re made of the Right Stuff, there were many more notable entries for the weekend. Including Sonny, who is always a top contender for the fastest time of the weekend, who posted a new personal fast time of 1 minute 49 seconds. One of the coolest dudes at the hill and almost always the fastest too. His good friend Dave Kipperman was back as well with a new Z concoction with a 364 all-alluminum v8 and massive flare and body work special (pitcured below). And the hill is dominated with a field of probably 40% A1 and A2 Volkswagens. Hard core one’s like Ty’s Red GTi and Brad’s 300+hp Scirroco. They both made sub 2 minute times look like common place — and they’re not. These guys have balls of steel and the right machinery to match their skills.

Larison Rock 2008 Day 1 013

After a year out of the car, my first impression was that Paul really did a nice job over the winter freshening up of the car. Hard to believe our project car has seen nothing but basic maintenance over the last 6+ years and some severe beatings in the process. It’s a true testament to Paul’s abilities and decisions in the build. Thanks again for the best “arrive and drive” car I could have ever imagined!

And a big thumbs up to Emerald Empire Sports Car Club for another well run, safe, and really fun event. I can’t wait to go again next year!

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