Volkswagen GTI

The Volkswagen Rabbit GTI, which is the North American version of the high-performance Golf GTI, made its first appearance in Canada in 1979 and in the United States in 1983. It was assembled from parts made in Mexico, Canada, Germany and the United States in Volkswagen's Westmoreland, Pennsylvania assembly plant. Thus, this is not really a model that can be claimed by any particular nation. It did have the same Mark 1 chassis, and the same A1 body type as the Mark 1 Golf GTI which had been on sale in Europe since 1976. Key features of the Rabbit GTI were its squared front end and its uniquely designed alloy wheels. On the interior, it was detailed with either a red or blue themed felt and leather trim. Oddly enough, the squared styling of the front end, particularly the wraparound indicator lights, gave it added safety and a slight improvement in performance. The GTI was equipped with a JH 1.8 liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine that ran on unleaded fuel. The engine was transversely mounted, and it would peak in stock condition at 90 HP. In terms of fuel economy, a near-perfectly tuned Rabbit GTI would range between 25 and 30 miles per gallon. There was a delay in the model reaching the United States. It seems that the delay in North America was due to Volkswagen's decision to supply the United States and Canadian dealerships with the Golfs from the VW plant in Puebla, Mexico. This was further aggravated by the fact that quality control problems forced Volkswagen of America to reject the Golfs and the Jettas being manufactured in Mexico. This was then followed by labor unrest at the plant, which delayed production even further. On another note of importance, the second-generation Golfs had higher insurance premiums, due in part to stereo systems that could easily be stolen.