"Silver Monster"

1983 Rabbit GTi
Acquired 5-00 for FREE ($250-Wheels & Tires=FREE)
4th car I have owned.

  • 1.8L? Gas (don't think it's the "right"one)
  • wide ratio 5-speed
  • No AC
  • No power anything
Tires, Suspension & Brakes:
  • 4 inch Rear lift
  • 3 inch Front lift
  • Generic 165/80/13 snow tires
  • 13 X 5 Steel wheels
  • It has brakes?!?
  • Removed headlights
  • Removed front turn signals
  • Removed rear side markers
  • None
  • Gutted
  • Sunroof
  • Removed bumpers
  • Removed GTi spoiler
  • Removed rear wiper
  • Removed rearview mirrors
  • No front fender flares
  • Custom rust


Well lets see. I've always kind of wanted to try lifting a Rabbit, I don't know why, just thought that it would be fun. So, there I was looking at this "free" GTi sitting in my driveway & going "what the hell am I going to do with this thing?" All of the sudden it hit me, Lift it. So I did. Just in case you were wondering the whole suspension is made up of real VW parts, well except for a couple of washers, but they don't really count.


For the Front:I used Springs from an A2 Golf (non-GTi) & also put some washers between the upper spring perch & the strut bearing. The washer were about .5", so this would indicate that the springs lifted the front end about 2.5 inches. Getting this much lift using the springs puts you way to high in the struts travel range & causes them to top out VERY easily when going over bumps.

The washers worked well for lifting the front end, because they fit between the upper spring perch & the strut bearing. This has no affect on travel. The way I determined what size washer to use was to do this:

You can then use a lathe make up some steel washers to those dimensions or go to your favorite parts store/hardware store & find washers as close to the correct dimensions as you can.

I have heard of people cutting the lower spring perches of the strut tubes & welding them back on higher up the tubes. This will lift the front of the car, but it presents the same problems with travel that using taller springs presents.

I have also heard of (and considered making my own) spacers that used to be available from the aftermarket. These spacers fit on the top of the strut bearing assembly & spaced it downward from it mounting place in the cars strut tower. This will affectively lift the car, similarly to my washer trick, but I have not tried it.

Also, I believe that EM Sport used to have some similar spacers listed on their website, but I was unable to find them today. If you look HERE, find the crappy little picture on the bottom right, I believe that that is one of the cars that they lifted, but I can't find any info. If I remember correctly from the past it was pretty thoroughly buried on their site. If you get in touch with them & get any info, please let me know.

For the front, you can't really lift it more than 3", unless you get &/or build an equal length drive shaft set-up. The long axle, just barely clears the A-arm mount at 3". If you were to use a short drive shaft, that would gain you clearance to go higher, but by then you'd probably be running the CV's at angles extreme enough that they wouldn't last very long.

For the Rear:I used A2 Struts with stock Rabbit springs. A2 struts have exactly the same amount of travel as the A1 struts, the body is just 4" longer. The lower spring perch sits the same distance from the top of the strut, but 4" further from the bottom that the A1 perches. The perches for the A2's are slightly different, so I hammered them off & used all the A1 spring perches, springs & upper bushings. The over all longer length made them a little tricky to get them into the car, but once they were in, I had stock travel & spring rate.

I have heard (from a reliable friend) that VW Fox, Audi 400 & VW Corrado rear struts are also the same travel etc, but that they fall right between the A1 & A2 struts, meaning that they would offer 2" of lift for an A1 or 2" of lowering on an A2, both with no change to available travel.

What it looked like when I first brought it home.

This car has now been stripped for parts.

Previous Car or Next Car