Thursday, March 04, 2010

How to Spot a Rabbit

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 :-)


danielh said...

very interesting, erwin, you are VW encyclopedia of facts and origin and i've learn something new today,hehe

thanks for sharing!
that custom works are nice!

komenda said...

Thanks Danielh! It's a pleasure sharing this VW trivia with you :-)

BRIAN VESPA of Diecast Japan! said...

cool VWs! but I got lost in translation hahahaha!

I hope to see your real VW Bug soon.

Jovet's Garage said...

Love that old school with it's tire on the roof rack, keep hunting down those rabbits Erwin! =)

komenda said...

Thanks Brian! My real 1:1 VW's are the ones with front engine and radiator like the Golf ;-) I'll post some pics soon!

komenda said...

Hi Jovet, glad you liked the hairy rabbit! I'm constantly on a hunting expedition for this car species :-)

JDMike's Diecast Site said...

Holy!!! I had one of those Golf rally but mine was so battered already which I found at an ukay ukay store. Congrats on such a beauty Erwin!

Oh and I saw a 1:43 rally golf on ebay, still thingking though. :-)

komenda said...

Thanks Mike! This rally Golf is a wonderful keeper :-) my VW friend from California sent me this vintage HW. On the 1:43, I think I have one in my shelf! Any old-school racing Golf is very interesting addition in your collection IMHO :-) a rally version is tops! Go for it my friend :-)

shaz @ kurz said...

WOW i love that custom Golf5 GTi!
the wheels if not mistaken from muscle machine/tamiya JGTC car! superb..i dont even dare to touch my JGTC car to extract the wheels..hehehe
very well done!

komenda said...

Glad you liked it shaz!
The wheels from a Ferrari, its body wass chipped and cracked. Got it for less than a dollar only :-)