Callaway’s Volkswagen Rabbit GTI Turbo is the wildest Golf 1 on the market
The latter debuted in Europe in 1975, the same year that regular golf was introduced in the US. However, the GTI didn’t make it to the States until 1983. Volkswagen offered a Rabbit with the GTI logo in Canada from 1979 onwards, but at 78 horsepower it was significantly less powerful than its European counterpart (109 horses).
The U.S. model introduced in 1983 wasn’t as powerful either, but the 1.8-liter in-line four-cylinder had 90 horsepower and 105 pound-feet (142 Nm) of torque to throw. Enough to accelerate the hatchback from 0 to 97 km / h in 10.6 seconds.
That’s far from impressive today, and in 1983 it wasn’t as fast either, but the Rabbit GTI was quite agile when it came to corners. Still, some customers asked for more power, so Callaway launched a Stage II turbo kit.
The package included a turbocharger, an intercooler, an oil cooler and a modified exhaust system that increased the performance of the four-bang to a whopping 200 hp. That is more than double the series performance of the GTI Mk1 and only 41 horses less than the current eighth generation GTI! Callaway also included a front stabilizer bar, lower load bar, and higher fifth gear to help the tiny hatch handle the extra momentum.
Needless to say, Callaway didn’t release too many GTI kits for the Mk1, largely since Volkswagen introduced the second generation model just a year later. So these pimped rabbits are pretty rare and tend to switch hands for over $ 40,000 if they go under the hammer.
If you’re wondering how quick these Callaway-tuned GTIs are, YouTube’s “Tedward” just took a spin. And he is quite impressed by it, praising the immediate throttle response, the nimble handling and the fact that its handling is not negatively affected by the turbocharger. Click the play button below to start a cool POV style driving test of the wildest Golf GTI Mk1. An angry wolf in sheep’s clothing.