The colorful story of the VW GTI Mark 1 is such a well documented and glorious one. Even Jeremy Clarkson has high regard for the original hot hatch. But then again the Mark1 GTI has a continental divide that makes it even more interesting. Jeremy’s beloved Golf GTI was the 1976 European version with the 1.6 liter 110PS that started it all. Then from across the pond, there is the Rabbit GTI of 1983 U.S. release with the 1.8 liter engine.
Of course, the Golf was never called one for the 1st series in the American market, but was known as the Rabbit. The succeeding generations were properly named Golf, in whatever market they were sold, up to the 4th generation. VW of America revived the Rabbit nameplate again, on the Golf Mark 5. Confusing? I am as well. It’s purely marketing to me!
Small-scale talk-wise, HotWheels didn’t miss the opportunity to model this famous hot hatch. Made in HongKong and marked ‘Hare Splitter’ it is an obvious spin of the Rabbit nameplate. Surely HW was suggesting this to be the GTI version of the Mark1 VW Rabbit, as this was ought to be a sportier version. But then again, there a continental divide that makes this particular diecast interesting like the real Mark1 GTI! The Rabbit version has square headlights and the Golf version has the round ones, as easy visible differentiation. So HW actually modeled the European Golf GTi, not the U.S. Rabbit GTI. A wonderful mix-up of sorts! Another interesting tidbit to add to the colorful GTI Mark1 story!
I love this Hare of a Golf….
Or Golf of a Rabbit….
GTI spotting #1 (above): backdrop #1 is the HotWheels Golf5 GTI (custom by Komenda VW). No Rabbit5 GTI exist! Another one of those amusing marketing move!
GTI spotting #2 (below): On background is Matchbox Golf GTI Mark2. No confusion of hare whatsoever :-)