Somebody spent supercar money to build the perfect VW Rabbit GTI
The original VW Golf GTI was unveiled in 1974 but it only arrived in the U.S. in 1983 and, for reasons that I've never quite understood, it was marketed and sold as Rabbit GTI. The German hot hatch was a sensation and everyone wanted one. Well, this is the story of a man who bought it new, sold it and years later spent an insane amount of time to build the Rabbit GTI of his dreams.
Derek Spratt was a 21-year-old college student in Ontario, Canada and acquired a brand spanking new GTI in 1984. He sold it years later and in 2011, presumably experiencing strong seller's remorse, he bought it again and decided to set out building the "perfect" Rabbit GTI.
Mr. Spratt spent the next seven years modifying his Rabbit and documenting every step of the process, which took over 12,000 hours to complete, by uploading over 180 videos on social media. He began with the engine. He hired a custom engine expert and designed a naturally aspirated engine capable of 220 hp, twice as much power as in the original GTI which "only" produced 90 hp. He also modified the chassis, added an electronically adjustable brake system, a touchscreen dashboard, heated seats and, we might want to sit down for this, a push-start button.
Spratt said he wanted to preserve all the elements that made the original GTI special, while also adding a few creature comforts for the modern world and, after spending over $140,000 on the car, he sold it to a couple of VW enthusiasts, losing quite a bit of money in the process but he didn't seem to mind. In fact, Mr. Spratt said that he's actually quite happy with the end result and that "If you get into restoration and modification for the money, you should find a new hobby".