I had an ‘81 Rabbit pickup that had a lot of GTI parts under the skin; I kept it beige and ran 14" steelies with P600s from a Golf GT in an attempt to make it more stealthy. The motor started life in a Jetta GLI, but was bored out, had lots of porting and polishing work on the head and a rather lumpy cam. With tubular headers, no cat and barely a muffler, this thing was loud enough to wake the dead (and that played a factor in its demise). The acceleration actually dropped off a bit when I switched to a close-ratio GTI gearbox from the stock 4-speed, probably because of the change in final drive ratio, but it was still scaryfast.

I bought the pickup because it was the lightest weight water cooled VW available. Mine had -zero- options (except maybe the vent windows) and I think tipped the scale at around 1,800 lbs. With the motor as described earlier it was an absolute screamer, probably one of the fastest cars I had ever driven. I used to take it out to Crown Valley Parkway and find victims in Porsches, BMWs and other expensive machinery to humiliate, doing this repeatedly, light after light after light. I did this one evening without realizing that a CHP officer was behind us watching the whole thing. The BMW got away, the Benz got pulled over, and I had to wait my turn for a visit for Mr. Officer. I remember him strolling up to me, laughing, telling me that the guy in the Benz said that was only doing 55, the posted speed limit. I joined in the laughter and conversation, agreeing with the officer that the guy was high if anyone was to believe that. Oh yeah, I got a ticket, but the cop was pretty cool about it and we ended up sitting there talking cars for half an hour, with me showing off all of my modifications, legal and otherwise.

Back to the noise. One night at about 11:30 I heard my little beast repeatedly revving up to redline. I went out the side exit of the house and saw my car across the street in my neighbor’s driveway, somewhat askew, with one of the turns signals on. I had just been in it 15 minutes earlier and wondered if I left the keys in the door or something and my friends were playing a little joke on me. I ran inside and checked, and my keys were there. Like a fool I ran over to my car to see what was going on. I was pissed and obviously wasn’t thinking clearly, with my plan being to shut off the car, pull out whoever was in it and then repeatedly beat the shit out of them, and if they survived the beating I would ask them what the fuck they were thinking. I’m sorry, but you don’t mess with a man’s ride if you want to live.

I didn’t think about weapons or anything, and forced my way into the occupied driver’s seat. I was practically sitting on the guy, fumbling around the ignition switch trying to shut off the car. Well, he decided that this was a good time for him to leave so he put it in gear, dropped the clutch and took off at full speed

The two of us, occupying the same seat, drove through one neighbor’s yard. I flew out of the car at speed into the middle of the street and watched (as best I could once I stopped tumbling - my glasses went flying) as he drove through another neighbor’s yard on the other side of the street, completely out of control (obviously...), and then smashed into their garage, rear-ending their new E32 735i. I went back to my place and asked my folks if we should call the cops (well, duh - yeah, we should call them).

The moron was caught around the corner from me by the cops coming up to my place to investigate. He was attempting to break into another car, one that turned out to be unlocked, according to the officers. Months later, the last thing that I heard was that he had skipped out on a probabtion violation hearing, which came as no great surprise. Anyway, we pried the two cars apart, and obviously mine was in pretty sad shape. The lightweight euro bumpers, if you could even call them that, provided absolutely no protection, and the front of my car was rather caved in. I drove it for a bit more, but one day the oil cooler mount broke and one of the lines rubbed against the alternator belt, spraying hot oil over the engine compartment. I almost caught it in time but there was some lifter noise emanating forth and I really didn’t feel like fixing it. My mom didn’t like me driving this smashed up thing and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. She had recently destroyed her knee in a skiing accident and could no longer drive a car with a stick shift. She offered me her E21, with the selling price being whatever I could get for the truck. I asked $1350 and accepted a $950 offer, taking a huge financial loss, but was finally rid of that stupid-fast but ill-handling demon spawn.