Volkswagen Rabbit Features and Specs
Engine Type and Required Fuel
Displacement (liters/cubic inches)
Maximum Horsepower @ RPM
Maximum Torque @ RPM
Cooling System Capacity (quarts)
Transmission Order Code
Number of Transmission Speeds
First Gear Ratio (:1)
Second Gear Ratio (:1)
Third Gear Ratio (:1)
Fourth Gear Ratio (:1)
Fifth Gear Ratio (:1)
Sixth Gear Ratio (:1)
Final Drive Axle Ratio (:1)
EPA Greenhouse Gas Score
CO2 Emissions, 15K mi/year (tons)
Range, city/highway (miles)
EPA Fuel Economy, combined/city/highway (mpg)
EPA Fuel Economy Equivalent (for hybrid and electric vehicles), combined/city/highway (MPGe)
Fuel Capacity / Gas Tank Size
Aux Fuel Tank Capacity (gallons)
Width, without mirrors (inches)
Front Track Width (inches)
Rear Track Width (inches)
Minimum Ground Clearance (inches)
Liftover Height (inches)
Passenger / Seating Capacity
Total Passenger Volume (cubic feet)
Front Head Room (inches)
Front Leg Room (inches)
Front Shoulder Room (inches)
Front Hip Room (inches)
Second Row Head Room (inches)
Second Row Leg Room (inches)
Second Row Shoulder Room (inches)
Second Row Hip Room (inches)
Trunk Space (cubic feet)
Cargo Space/Area with Rear Seat Down
Cargo Space/Area with Rear Seat Up
Turning Diameter / Radius, curb to curb (feet)
Turning Diameter / Radius, wall to wall (feet)
Front Suspension Type
Rear Suspension Type
Front Shock Absorber Diameter (mm)
Rear Shock Absorber Diameter (mm)
Front Anti-Roll Bar Diameter (inches)
Rear Anti-Roll Bar Diameter (inches)
Front Brake Rotors, diameter x thickness (inches)
Rear Brake Rotors, diameter x thickness (inches)
Rear Drums, diameter x width (inches)
Front Wheel Size (inches)
Front Wheel Material
Front Tire Size
Rear Wheel Size (inches)
Rear Wheel Material
Rear Tire Size
Spare Wheel Size (inches)
Spare Wheel Material
Maximum Trailer Weight, dead weight hitch (pounds)
Maximum Tongue Weight, dead weight hitch (pounds)
Maximum Trailer Weight, weight distributing hitch (pounds)
Maximum Tongue Weight, weight distributing hitch (pounds)
Base Curb Weight (pounds)
Cold Cranking Amps @ 0° F
Maximum Alternator Capacity (amps)
Volkswagen Rabbit Specs for Other Model Years
Volkswagen Golf Mk1
For an overview of all generations of the Golf, see Volkswagen Golf.
|Volkswagen Golf Mk1 (Type 17)|
Volkswagen Golf I at the Autostadt ("ZeitHaus" exhibitions section) in Wolfsburg, Germany
|Production|| million units|
|Designer||Giorgetto Giugiaro at Italdesign|
|Class||Small family car (C)|
|Platform||Volkswagen Group A1 platform|
Pickup: 2,mm (in)
later 3,mm (in),
USA in (3,mm),
Pickup: 4,mm (in)
later 1,mm (in),
Pickup: 1,mm (in)
|Height||saloon: 1,mm (in),|
Cabrio: 1,mm (in),
Pickup: 1,mm (in)
USA 1,–2,lb (–kg)
|Successor||Volkswagen Golf Mk2|
The Volkswagen Golf Mk1 is the first generation of a small family car manufactured and marketed by Volkswagen. It was noteworthy for signalling Volkswagen's shift of its major car lines from rear-wheel drive and rear-mountedair-cooled engines to front-wheel drive with front-mounted, water-cooled engines that were often transversely-mounted.
Successor to Volkswagen's Beetle, the first generation Golf debuted in Europe in May with styling by Giorgetto Giugiaro's Italdesign.
VW Golf I Facelift with wider rear lamp clusters
VW Golf LX with twin headlights
In Lotz and Italian Volkswagen importer Gerhard R. Gumpert visited the Turin Auto Show. After selecting their six favourite cars of the show, they discovered that four of the six were designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and his Italdesign studio.
Giugiaro was invited to Wolfsburg in January to work on development project EA The first thing he saw when he arrived at VW's research centre was a Fiat , completely disassembled and labelled. The design brief provided by Volkswagen specified a C-segment car with a two-box body in three- and five-door versions. The client also provided Giugiaro with the basic dimensions and the power-train options.
Giugiaro produced a design that reflected his signature "origami" or "folded-paper" style, emphasizing sharp corners and flat planes. Giugiaro would come to consider the Mk1 Golf the most important design of his career. Early prototypes included rectangular headlamps and wide tail-lamp assemblies. At least one pre-production car was modified with a sliding side door.
During development, candidates for the name of the new car included "Blizzard" and "Caribe", but these lost out to the final choice of "Golf". The origin of the name is variously attributed to the game of golf, the Gulf Stream current (German "Golfstrom") or the name of a horse.
The Golf Mk1 received VW model designation Type 17. Production started in March , and sales officially began in May  By this time Giugiaro's rectangular headlamps and wide tail-lamps had given way to round headlamps and much narrower rear lamps. On these earliest cars the lower horizontal bodyline running under the tail-lamps on the rear hatch dropped down in the location of the rear license plate. This feature has been dubbed "Swallowtail" by some Golf enthusiasts. The surface between the raised sides on the bonnet on early cars also blended smoothly into the leading edge.
The Golf was not the first example of Giugiaro's work for Volkswagen to reach production. His design for the first generation Passat was released in , and the first generation Scirocco, a Giugiaro design prepared concurrently with the Golf, was released months ahead of the Golf.
From October 2, to January 14, two Golf Mk1s were driven over 30,km (19,mi) from Fairbanks, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego as a test of their durability.
The right-hand drive Golf went on sale in Britain in October For the sales year it was the 14th best selling car in Britain with more than 19, units sold. In the facelifted Golf GTI was voted Car of the Year by What Car? magazine, ahead of all-new models like the Austin Metro and MK3 Ford Escort. In its final sales year of it sold more than 25, units and was Britain's 14th best selling car despite being almost 10 years old.
Air conditioning became available as an option on the domestic market in August  The ability to retrofit the system, together with installing a larger battery, was offered to owners of existing cars.
In December a minor styling revision deleted the Swallowtail line on the rear hatch, replacing it with a simple straight horizontal body-line. The bonnet also received a transverse line connecting the two raised sides across the front edge of the panel.
The Golf was introduced to Japan in , where it was imported by the Yanase dealership chain. Its exterior dimensions and engine displacement were in compliance with Japanese Government dimension regulations, which helped sales.
The Golf Mk1 was runner-up for European Car of the Year in , losing to the Citroën CX.
A minor exterior revision in December replaced the narrow front and rear bumpers with moulded units that wrapped around the sides of the car. Another minor facelift in saw the adoption of wider rear lamp clusters and a new dashboard with a more modern-looking instrument display featuring LED warning lights. US versions also received rectangular headlights. This was the last major update before the MK1 was replaced by the MK2 Golf in most markets in September and in the British market in March
The Golf was West Germany's best selling new car for much of its production life, and was among the most successful cars in the whole of Europe during its nine-year production run.
The Golf adopted an efficient "two-box" layout with a steep hatchback rather than a formal trunk. The chassis was a steel unibody.
The car's engine was mounted transversely in the front, and drove the front wheels. Engines from two Audi engine families were offered. Both were water cooled inline four cylinder four-stroke engines. Both also had two valves per cylinder operated by a single-overhead camshaft driven by a timing belt. The early engines used 2 barrel Zenith carburetors. The L and L engines were from the original EA line. In this engine the valves were operated by rocker arms. The EA was mounted with a 20° forward tilt. The L, L and L engines were from the EA family. In this engine the valves were operated by bucket tappets. The EAs were mounted tilted 15° rearwards.
The car was originally available with two transmission options; a four-speed manual and a three-speed automatic. A five-speed manual became available in
The front suspension was made up of MacPherson struts and helical coil springs with lower wishbones and an anti-roll bar. The rear was semi-independent with dual trailing arms connected by a twist-beam rear suspension and coil springs over telescopic shock absorbers.
Steering was by rack-and-pinion.
Front brakes were mm (in) disks with solid rotors. In the rear were mm (in) drums.
The car's tires varied with the power-train, with SR13 Pirelli Cinturato on the , and SR13s on the and  Tires on the GTIs were larger, with /70R13s on the GTI and /70HR13 Pirelli Cinturato CN36 on the 
|VW Golf:|| L|
| L Formel E|
| L Diesel|
| L Diesel|
| L Turbodiesel|
|Engine family:||EA Petrol||EA Petrol||EA Diesel|
|Displacement:||1,cc (cuin)||1,cc (cuin)||1,cc (cuin)||1,cc (cuin)||1,cc (cuin)||1,cc (cuin)||1,cc (cuin)||1,cc (cuin)|
|Bore × Stroke:||mm ×72mm (in ×in)||75mm ×72mm (in ×in)||mm ×80mm (in ×in)||mm ×mm (in ×in)||mm ×80mm (in ×in)||81mm ×mm (in ×in)||mm ×80mm (in ×in)||mm ×mm (in ×in)|
|Max. Power at rpm:||50PS (37kW) at 6,||60PS (44kW) at 5,||50PS (37kW) at 5,||70PS (51kW) at 5,||70PS (51kW) at 5,||75PS (55kW) at 5,||PS (81kW) at 6,||PS (82kW) at 5,||50PS (37kW) at 5,||54PS (40kW) at 4,||70PS (51kW) at 4,|
|Max. Torque at rpm:||77N⋅m (lb⋅ft) at 3,||80N⋅m (lb⋅ft) at 3,||93N⋅m (lb⋅ft) at 3,||76N⋅m (lb⋅ft) at 2,||N⋅m (lb⋅ft) at 3,||N⋅m (lb⋅ft) at 2,||N⋅m (lb⋅ft) at 3,||N⋅m (lb⋅ft) at 5,||N⋅m (lb⋅ft) at 3,||80N⋅m (lb⋅ft) at 3,||98N⋅m (lb⋅ft) at 2,||N⋅m (lb⋅ft) at 2,|
|Induction:||1 down-draft Solex carburetor||Electro-Mechanical injection||Distributor injection pump (TD: + turbocharger)|
(5-speed after August )
|Transmission (optional):||-||3-speed Automatic|
(or 5-speed manual after August )
|Front suspension:||Independent with MacPherson struts and lower A-arms|
|Rear suspension:||Semi-independent Torsion beam axle with trailing arms and coil-over dampers|
|Brakes:||front disc brakes (Ø mm) - 50 PS up April front drum brakes|
Rear drums, 50 PS up July optional brake booster
|Steering:||Rack and pinion steering|
|Track front/rear:||1,/1,mm (/in)||1,/1,mm (/in)||1,/1,mm (/in)|
|Length:||3,mm (in) (L: 3,mm (in))|
3,mm (in) after August
|Weight:||–kg (1,–2,lb) (Cabriolet: –kg (1,–2,lb))|
|Max. speed:||km/h (mph)||km/h (mph)||km/h (mph)||km/h (mph)||–km/h (–mph)||–km/h (–mph)|
Cabriolet: km/h (mph)
|–km/h (–mph)||km/h (mph)|
Cabriolet: km/h (mph)
Cabriolet: km/h (mph)
|km/h (mph)||–km/h (–mph)||km/h (mph)|
|0–km/h (0–62mph) (seconds):||17||18||17||13–15||13–15|
|Fuel economy:||l/km (mpgUS)||l/km (mpgUS)||l/km (mpgUS)||l/km (mpgUS)||–l/km (–mpgUS)||–l/km (–mpgUS)||–l/km (–mpgUS)||l/km (mpgUS)||l/km (mpgUS)|
Cabriolet: l/km (mpgUS)
|l/km (mpgUS)||l/km (mpgUS)||l/km (mpgUS)|
Mk1 Derivative models
Due to the negative political reaction to the release of the Beetle "Gelb-Schwarzer Renner" ("GSR", or "Yellow-Black Racer"), Volkswagen had little inclination to develop a faster Golf.
VW Press Department head Anton Konrad and VW engineer Alfons Löwenberg began development of a high-performance "Sport Golf" as a skunkworks project rather than as an official factory program. The two were joined by Gunter Kühl from the Press department, suspension expert Herbert Schuster, Hermann Hablitzel, who smuggled parts from the project into regular tests, Jürgen Adler, whose chassis analysis led to additional reinforcements, Horst-Dieter Schwittlinsky from the marketing department who coined the "GTI" acronym, and Franz Hauk, developer of the EA engine.
A prototype was built based on a Scirocco, rather than a Golf. This proof-of-concept had an EA engine with dual carburetors and a lowered and stiffened suspension. When this prototype was driven by Volkswagen's Chief of Research Ernst Fiala, he objected to the harsh suspension and excessive noise from the intake system and declared the car "undriveable".
The ad hoc development team arranged to use the fuel-injected version of the EA engine that had been developed for the new Audi 80 GTE. That engine's Bosch K-Jetronic system reduced intake noise and raised power output.
The car's name is typically described as an acronym of either the Italian phrase "Gran Turismo Iniezione", or the English "Grand Tourer Injection", and is usually written in all capitals.
The GTI was presented to Volkswagen's management early in , and the project was approved 28 May 
At this point a ninth person joined the original eight-member GTI team. Working under Chief designer Herbert Schäfer, Gunhild Liljequist was tasked with creating a set of features that would set the GTI's interior apart from the normal Golf. Her contributions included the bright Tartan plaid upholstery, and the dimpled golf ball-like gearshift knob.
The Golf GTI debuted in March at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and wasn't unveiled until the autumn of 
Production was not expected to exceed units, which was the number needed to qualify for the Group One Production Touring Car class.
In addition to the modifications already mentioned, the GTI was distinguished from the stock Golf by external changes that included black-plastic wheel arch extensions to cover the /70HR13 tires on Jx13 wheels fitted, a larger front spoiler, a matte-black frame around the backlite and a red frame for the grille. Ride height was reduced by 15mm (in), and the standard car's solid front brake discs were replaced with in (mm) ventilated discs. Anti-roll bars were also fitted front and rear.
The engine in the early GTIs had a bore x stroke of mm ×80mm (in ×in) that displaced 1,cc (L; cuin). The compression ratio had been raised to :57 This resulted in an engine that produced PS (hp; 81kW) at 6, rpm and N⋅m (lbf⋅ft) at 5, rpm. This was mated to a close-ratio 4-speed manual transmission.
With a curb weight of kg (1,lb), the GTI could accelerate from 0–km/h (0–62mph) in seconds. Top speed was km/h (mph).
In August a 5-speed manual transmission became standard.
In the engine's bore and stroke were enlarged to 81 and millimetres respectively, which resulted in a total displacement of 1,cc (cuin). Compression had also been increased to Power rose to PS (hp) at 5, rpm, and torque to N⋅m (ft⋅lb) at 3, rpm.
The GTI appeared on the British market in as a special order only in left-hand drive form. A factory right-hand drive version finally became available in July , priced at £ The Rabbit GTI did not arrive in the United States until the model year.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI is considered by many to be the archetypal "hot hatch", a class of sporty small cars popular in the s and early s, although cars of a generally similar concept, such as the Simca Ti and the Autobianchi A Abarth had appeared earlier.
Total production of Golf Mk1 GTIs eventually reached , units.:26 In , Sports Car International declared the Golf Mk1 GTI to be the 3rd best car of the s.
GTI special editions
After the GTI was upgraded to litres, special editions of the model were sold under different names in several European countries. These were distinguished externally by a quad-lamp front grille, tinted glass, factory sliding sunroof and Pirelli P 6Jx14 alloy wheels. The interior featured a leather-wrapped steering wheel, internal mirror adjusters and the MFA trip computer system.
The names of these editions, by country were:
- GTI Campaign (England)
- GTI Pirelli (Germany)
- GTI Plus (France)
- GTI Trophy (Switzerland)
- GTI Special (Sweden, but without Pirelli wheels, these were fitted with Avus 14" rims)
Two additional special editions of the GTI were available in France and Norway. One was called the Golf GTI Rabbit. This model was a GTI with some normally standard equipment deleted, making it less expensive than the regular GTI.
The other French special edition, which pre-dated the L GTI and was also available in Switzerland, was the Golf GTI 16 S Oettinger. GTIs were shipped from Germany to the Oettinger factory where they received, among other modifications, a valve double-overhead cam cylinder head. The resulting engine developed kW (PS).
A Golf powered by a normally aspirated diesel engine first appeared in September Equipping a compact car with a heavier, noisier and less powerful diesel engine was unusual in Germany at the time, with Peugeot among the few competitors offering a comparable model. The litre Golf Diesel, which used fuel at the rate of l/km (mpgUS), was one of the most fuel-efficient compact cars of the s.
The diesel engine was derived from the existing EA Audi petrol engine. To withstand the higher stresses imposed by the diesel conversion, many engine components, including the cooling system, crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons and piston pins, cylinder head and timing belt, were reinforced or otherwise redesigned. Swirl chambers were added to the cylinder head. In the place previously occupied by the ignition distributor was a vacuum pump for the brake booster. The diesel injection pump was driven by the camshaft drive belt. The diesel engine was no larger than the litre gasoline engine.
Early diesel engines had a displacement of liters and developed the same 37kW (50PS; 49hp) as the litre petrol engine. Later engines displaced liters and produced 40kW (54PS; 53hp). The noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) characteristics of the early diesels were still unsatisfactory. When the turbocharged 51kW (70PS; 69hp) diesel engine appeared the turbo not only boosted the power output but dampened engine noise as well.
Rabbit Pickup/VW Caddy
Main article: Volkswagen Caddy
A Golf-derived utility model with a pickup truck style rear bed was developed for the American market. This Mk1 variant was called the Rabbit Pickup in the US, and entered production in at the Westmoreland plant. An almost identical version for Europe called the VW Caddy went into production in at the Tvornica Automobila Sarajevo (TAS) plant in Vogošća near Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Approximately , units were produced at this location until the factory was destroyed in during the Bosnian War.
Main article: Volkswagen Jetta (A1)
In August a sedan version of the Golf called the Jetta was introduced. Essentially a Golf Mk1 with a trunk grafted on, this three-box sedan body style was offered in two- and four-door versions and was targeted at more conservative buyers. In North America the Jetta was a sales success, but sales numbers in Europe lagged behind expectations.
In Karmann produced a prototype of a convertible Jetta based on the 2-door body. Sales of the Jetta sedan did not justify putting the convertible into production.
A convertible version of the Golf was presented to Volkswagen's management by coachbuilder Wilhelm Karmann GmbH as early as This early prototype lacked the roll-over bar of the later version, and had a flat body line in the rear, where the soft top folded down below the sill level.
The production version of the convertible Golf was designated Type . In Europe and Canada it was called the Golf Cabriolet, while in the United States it was sold as the Rabbit Convertible until the model year. As the Rabbit was replaced by the Golf II in the United States, the Mark 1 Cabriolet was renamed simply "Volkswagen Cabriolet" (without either the Golf or Rabbit nameplate). The Cabriolet was sold from to It had a reinforced body, a transverse roll-over bar, and a high level of trim. From stamping to final assembly the Mk1 Cabriolet was built entirely at the Karmann factory. Volkswagen supplied engines, suspension, and interior trim for Karmann to install. The tops, of vinyl or cloth, were heavily insulated, with a heated glass rear window. The top was raised and lowered manually until , when it became electrically operated.
The body of the Cabriolet did not change through the entire production run except for a larger fuel tank. It kept the pre style of rear lamp clusters. A space saver spare wheel was fitted from the outset, including pre-production models, unlike the saloon which did not adopt this until All Cabriolets from on left the factory fitted with a "Clipper" bodykit that featured smooth body-coloured bumpers, wheel-arch extensions, and side skirts.
Prior to the model year the highest standard specification Cabriolet was the GLI, which was essentially a GTI in all but name. It was only in late with the introduction of the model that an officially badged GTI version of the cabriolet finally became available.
Cabriolet special editions
Special editions of the Cabriolet included the Etienne Aigner, Carat, CC, Wolfsburg, and Best Seller models.
Presented at the March Geneva Motor Show, the Golf GTD combined performance and economy. The car's appearance package and suspension were based on the Mk1 Golf GTI. The engine was a version of the model diesel, with power boosted by a forced induction system. To increase the performance of the liter naturally aspirated diesel, the GTD was equipped with a Garrettturbocharger with a maximum boost of bar (psi), which raised power output to 51kW (70PS; 69hp) and maximum torque to N⋅m (96lbf⋅ft) at rpm from the 40kW (54PS; 53hp) and 98N⋅m (72lbf⋅ft) at rpm of the naturally aspirated engine. To make this power increase possible, more than 30 changes to the base engine were made, including increased oil circulation, a more efficient oil pump and reinforced or higher quality components such as head gasket and cylinder head. Due to the increased thermal load on the pistons, they were cooled from below by means of oil jets, and the engine was equipped with an oil-to-water heat exchanger on the flange of the oil filter element. The turbocharger was mounted between the engine and the firewall.
The turbo engine weighed about kg (lb) more than the naturally aspirated diesel, and once all the accessories were factored in weight grew by 18kg (lb). Average fuel consumption of less than 6l/km (mpgUS) was possible, as long as the driver endeavored not to use the turbo.
Volkswagen Caribe (Mexico, )
In May , the Mk1 Golf was launched in Mexico as the Volkswagen Caribe. It came standard with a 4-speed manual transaxle and a litre 66hp (49kW) carbureted engine. The car was an instant success. At first only the 5-door body was offered, but in , the lineup expanded with the 3-door body. Two initial trim levels were offered: "Base" and "L", with the "GL" trim level added in 
The Caribe lineup remained essentially unchanged except for a slightly restyled front grille with squared type headlamps.
In an improved Caribe was offered to the Mexican market, with looks matching the recently face-lifted North American-spec Mk1 Golf: the Volkswagen Rabbit. New features included revised bumpers, new taillights and a new front grille design. A diesel engine became an option that year.
In , the Caribe range got an improved dashboard designed for the European Golf. Trim levels were also updated, with the previous "Base" entry-level rebadged as the "Caribe C", the "GL" level unchanged, and the mid-level "L" trim level being dropped.
In , inspired by the worldwide success of the Mk1 Golf GTI, VW Mexico produced its own "hot" derivative: the Caribe GT. This version featured an 85hp (63kW) L engine with dual-carburetor fuel delivery system, rather than the electronic fuel injection of the GTIs.
Close to the end of the model production, VW Mexico offered, through and , three special Caribe versions: "City", "Pro" and "Plus":
The "Caribe City" was primarily based on the entry-level Caribe "C". It was offered only in Pearl Gray or Turquoise Blue paintwork and featured a distinctive "City" badge. The "Caribe Pro" was a somewhat downgraded version of the GTI-like Caribe GT. The "Pro" retained the sporty feel of the GT and was offered only with a 3-door body, with two paint choices: Tornado Red or Black. "PRO" label graphics were attached to the lower doors and the hatch. The "Caribe Plus" was the last special edition in the range. The "Plus" had GL level trim, and was offered only in Alpine White paintwork for the body colour and much of the trim, including the front grille and the bumpers (which were of the plastic-molded type sported by European Mk1 Golfs since ). The interior's upholstery and carpets were also Alpine White in this edition.
After 10 years of success, was the last production year for the Mexican Mk1 Golf-based Volkswagen Caribe series. The "Plus" special version could be considered the "Last Edition" Caribe, since it had a short production run before the discontinuation of the model lineup in March , when the whole Caribe range was dropped in favor of the production and introduction in Mexico of the Golf MkII.
Volkswagen Rabbit/Golf (U.S.A./Canada)
The Golf Mk1 was first introduced to the United States in , but in that market the car was called the Volkswagen Rabbit. These early US Rabbits were produced in Germany and exported to North America.
In Volkswagen began building the Rabbit at its Westmoreland plant. Former Chevrolet engineer James McLernon was chosen to run the factory, which was built to lower the cost of the Rabbit in North America by producing it locally. McLernon moved to "Americanize" the Golf/Rabbit (Volkswagen executive Werner Schmidt referred to the act as "Malibuing" the car) by softening the suspension and using cheaper materials for the interior. VW purists in America and company executives in Germany were displeased. For the model year the Pennsylvania plant went back to using stiffer shocks and suspension with higher-quality interior trim.
Rabbit Diesels arrived in mid and were originally German-built. During , production was shifted to the Pennsylvania plant, with the most obvious change being a switch from round to square headlamps. The color schemes also changed; period testers noted a lower quality of materials being used, although fit and finish was as high as on German-made cars. The US-market liter diesel had a claimed 48hp (36kW; 49PS) at 5,rpm. This model was short-lived, with Rabbits receiving a facelift with wraparound turn signals and larger taillights, while the diesel engine was changed to a 52hp (39kW; 53PS) cc unit. The plant also began producing the GTI for the North American market in the fall of , for the model year. 'Rabbits' were built in Pennsylvania until The first Volkswagen Caddy pick-up, based on the Mk1 Golf, was also created at the Pennsylvania plant.
Canada continued to import the German-made Rabbit until the model year when Volkswagen Canada began to import the US-made version.
The original U.S.-spec Golf saw use in a taxi fleet. The Yellow Cab Company of Lexington, Kentucky, bought eleven Rabbits in the late seventies as part of an effort to save money on fuel, estimating an annual savings of $, in gasoline costs. Two other companies considered using the Rabbit as the basis for a taxicab. The Checker Motors Corporation and the Wayne Corporation both built prototype taxis using Rabbits with much longer wheelbases than factory. Checker built one prototype and Wayne built three, but neither project went into production.
For the gasoline powered Rabbit received a fuel injected 1,cc (cuin) engine, an iteration used only in North America, which offered 74hp (55kW). The carburetted versions were discontinued.
The Volkswagen Rabbit GTI, the North American version of the high-performance Golf GTI, debuted in Canada in and the United States for Assembled from parts made in Mexico, Canada, Germany and the U.S. in Volkswagen's Westmoreland assembly plant, it had the same Mk1 chassis, and the same A1 body type as the Mk1 Golf GTI that had been on sale in Europe since , with a few exceptions. Key distinct features of the Rabbit GTI were its squared front end styling, and its alloy "snowflake" wheels. The interior came in red or blue felt and leatherette trim. The squared styling of the front end, particularly the wraparound direction indicator lights, gave it added safety and slight improvement in performance. Under the hood, the engine was a JH litre four-cylinder gasoline engine that ran on unleaded fuel, In addition to being marginally larger than the regular engine it also had lightened pistons, bigger valves, a higher compression, and a free-flow exhaust as well as other minor improvements. The JH L would peak in stock condition at 90hp (67kW), delivered through a close-ratio five-speed manual transmission. For the Rabbit GTI was back, now with an updated engine offering hp (75kW). In total, 30, of these L Rabbit GTIs were built in Pennsylvania.
When the Rabbit GTI first appeared in Canada, it featured the 78hp L () and L () K-Jetronic engine and wide ratio five-speed transmission. It was initially available in red, white, and black. These Canadian cars were German-built and were nearly identical in body shell and interior appearance to the 81kW (PS; hp) Golfs built in Europe. Unfortunately for enthusiasts, the entire drive-line and running gear was identical to the other Canadian versions. Five-MPH bumpers were fitted as well as anti-intrusion bars within the doors. The towing eye integral to the front of the European car was deleted as the crash-worthy bumper's shock absorbers had towing facilities as part of their design and the car had been crash-tested for Canada with the North American front apron. The car was very attractive but drove no better or worse than a Rabbit of the same era. Only with the arrival of the American GTI was a faster Golf available in Canada, and it was down 22hp (16kW) compared to the L Golf GTI Mk1. A small number of European specification GTIs made it to Canada under an agreement with the government that allowed foreign soldiers training at Canadian military facilities to bring their personal vehicles with them. As a result of this, VW made available (for many years) all unique European model parts required through VW of Canada. It was thus possible, although expensive, to build a "real" GTI. Some enthusiasts did so based on the reputation of the European car.
Volkswagen CitiGolf (South Africa, )
Main article: Volkswagen Citi Golf
From to , Volkswagen of South Africa manufactured two variants of the Mk1 Golf; the five-door Citi Golf and the Volkswagen Caddy. Earlier, the original Golf Mk1 had been manufactured with petrol or diesel engines.
To celebrate the continued success of the Mk1 based Citi Golf in South Africa, on 22 September Volkswagen SA announced the limited edition Citi R powered by a 90 kW ( hp/ PS) L fuel injected engine with a five-speed manual transmission as well as a GTI trademark red outlined front grill.
The VW South Africa Citi Golf range starts with a standard Citi Golf, in either or litre fuel injected models. Variations of the standard version with different options packages included the Citi Rhythm, Citi.com and others. The range topper is the CitiRox, also available in i and i, made as sportier versions of the standard Citi to replace the previous sports version, Velociti and Citi Life. The later Citi Golfs feature modern amenities such as a new dashboard adapted from a Škoda Fabia, and minor body "facelifts" such as revised tail-light clusters.
The VW South Africa Citi Golf range consisted of four new models:
- CitiRox i and i
- CitiSport i and i
- TenaCiti i
- CitiStorm i
Production of the Citi Golf ended on 2 November after , cars had been built. The final vehicles manufactured were a special edition Citi Mk1 with a i engine. The colors available for the Citi Mk1 were "Shadow Blue" and "Black Magic Pearl".
Experimental versions and Specials
Volkswagen used the Golf Mk1 as the basis of several experimental cars of their own. These included:
- ESVW II (). This was an experimental safety vehicle that included passive belts and airbags.
- Elektro Golf 1 (). An electrically powered prototype built by the factory. It was used for several years.
- RVW and IRVW (1). These two vehicles were experiments in turbo-Diesel engines. The IRVW also implemented extensive changes to the chassis to improve crashworthiness. Both vehicles were tested by the EPA in the United States from February to May 
- Golf 1 CitySTROMer (). Another electrically powered prototype, this was a follow-on to the Electro Golf and the first CitySTROMer. Using lead-acid batteries this car had a range of 60km (mi). Only 25 were made.
- Auto (). This streamlined, highly fuel efficient prototype was designed to preview the cars of the year and used the platform of the Golf Mk I.
- EVW II. This prototype adapted a Golf to an experimental two-shaft hybrid drive system that had both a petrol engine and a 5kW electric motor.
- Seegolf (). This water-going Cabriolet was a special project of Ernst Fiala. With retractable pontoons, and a PS (kW) engine driving the wheels and propeller, it achieved a speed of 22kn (km/h) on the Wörthersee.
Günter Artz was director of the Hannover Volkswagen dealer Autohaus Nordstadt. Artz and Nordstadt produced several specials that were either based on or had the appearance of the Golf Mk1 or its derivative models.
- The Nordstadt Golf by Artz, also known as the Super Rabbit, was a Porsche with a custom body in the style of the Mk1 Golf built in The body had to be widened by approximately 9in (mm) as well as lengthened to fit the Porsche chassis. It produced bhp (kW), could accelerate from 0–km/h (62mph) in seconds, 0–km/h (99mph) in seconds and could reach a top speed of km/h (mph). It was featured in the December issue of Road & Track. Six were built. A second-generation model was based on the S.
- The Artz Speedster was a Cabriolet whose roof-line had been lowered by 10cm (in). Ten were produced.
- The Artz Cabrio and SuperCabrio were convertibles based on the two door Jetta. The donor car's B-pillar was retained in the Cabrio, while it was eliminated in the SuperCabrio.
Swiss fabricator Sbarro built several cars with the look of a Golf Mk1 but with greater performance. These included the following models:
- Golf Turbo (). This car had a PS (kW) Porsche flat-six engine mounted amidships in a Golf Mk1 chassis. The engine was accessed by scissoring the rear sub-frame down, pushing the back of the car upwards.
- Sbarro S (). This Sbarro project mounted a Porsche V8 driving the rear wheels in a Golf Mk1 body. Power was PS (kW). Two were built.
In , Rinspeed released their Golf Turbo 1, and, in , they unveiled the Aliporta, a modified Golf Mk1 with gull-wing doors.
In Italy the ACM company built a vehicle called the "Biagini Passo" from to This crossover-like car started with a Mk1 Cabriolet body and mounted the engine, transmission and Syncro four-wheel-drive system from a MkII Golf Country using a custom subframe. Approximately 65 were built.
In the late s, the Mk1 Golf GTI was campaigned in a variety of international rallying events, taking wins at Sweden (, , ), Monte Carlo (), Great Britain (), and Portugal ().:41
In , drivers Alfons Stock and Paul Schmuck won the German Rally Championship in a Golf GTI Mk1. The bright green Golf, sponsored by Rheila, was nicknamed the "Rheila Frosch" (Rheila Frog). In its final iteration it was powered by a kW (PS) Oettinger valve engine.
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- Sloniger, Jerry (). The VW Story. Cambridge: Patrick Stephens. ISBN.
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- Hayes, Russell (14 May ). The Volkswagen Golf Story: 40 Years of the Second People's Car. Behemoth Publications Ltd. ISBN.
4-Door 4dr Hatchback
Volkswagen Rabbit Specs
|Front head room||39|
|Rear head room||39|
|Front shoulder room||55|
|Rear shoulder room||55|
|Front leg room|
|Rear leg room|
|Maximum cargo capacity||cu.ft.|
|Fuel tank capacity||gal.|
|EPA mileage estimates||22 City / 30 Hwy|
|Base engine size||liters|
|Base engine type||I-5|
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