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.