The name Rabbit was the name given to first generation of Volkswagen Golfs sold in the US market. After that, VW returned to the European Golf namplate until it was briefly reinstated for the Mk5 Golf range fitted with the 2.5L five-cylinder engine. This car was also known as the Rabbit. However, the name wasn't used on the respective performance versions, that were simply known as the VW GTI. The Rabbit name has remained exclusive to the American market and we understand there are no plans to bring it back any time soon.
Small displacement engines and an affordable price point makes the Rabbit desirable for both tuners and those requiring a reliable and fuel efficient daily driver. Starting in the mid '70's to today Rabbits have been a popular choice for many in the Euro tuner scene.
While some go above and beyond standard aftermarket bolt-ons others stick to a tight budget of DIY additions - both types of tuner can be found within the list below. Each, though, was built with passion and dedication. This list is the culmination of the most popular eurotuner VW Rabbit features over the best 10 years based on page clicks by you. Whatever your preference, let us know in the comments section below, which build you like best.
1979 VW Rabbit - Tom & Cherry
Article excerpt: "'I had it all planned out. The goal was to make it Euro-spec - almost like a factory GTI from '76. I collected factory parts and was just going to run steel wheels and a big motor.'...The combination of Techtonics 288° race cams, dual 45mm Weber carburetors plus Eurosport header and exhaust allowed the motor to breathe nicely, improving throttle response, torque and noise."
Why we love it: "A timeless body didn't warrant much modification. So instead, Tom made minor improvements to maintain the stock appearance. However, the tasks he had in mind weren't a walk in the park..."
Full article: 1979 VW Rabbit - Tom & Cherry
1982 VW Rabbit Pickup - Caddy Shock
Article Excerpt: "'The only thing salvageable from the car was the engine,' Sal continued, 'I was looking for a four-door Rabbit to put it in but came across this Pickup. I couldn't test drive it because I was banged up from the accident, but I picked it up for $1800.'"
Why we love it: "After a number of Mk2s, he traded a 1.8 for a Jetta 2.0 16v, and that was all it took..."
Full article: 1982 VW Rabbit Pickup - Caddy Shock
1984 VW Rabbit - Bubble Boy
Article excerpt: "The task [motor swap] took about three months in total, but it didn't matter since he was too young to drive. They swapped the engine and tranny mounts so the ABA motor and transmission simply dropped in. Getting it to run was more complicated, requiring the Jetta wiring harness and ECU to be spliced into the Rabbit."
Why we love it: "The story behind this car is one of thrift, imagination, ingenuity and perseverance. It's one of those stories that is often requested by readers but rarely exists in the real world."
Full article: 1984 VW Rabbit - Bubble Boy
2007 Volkswagen Rabbit - Bunnies Gone Wild
Article excerpt: "It would be remarkably easy to lose your license in a car that's this much fun to drive. And it's remarkable how far it's come from its lowly beginnings as a lowly 170hp Rabbit...C2 Motorsports again returned to NGP to work its magic during the final dyno tuning, resulting in a very solid 378whp and a huge 441wtq - not bad for pump gas and super-smooth drivability."
Why we love it: "Right now, you're looking at the two most highly developed, street-driven Rabbits in the world. Big power, big brakes, widebody and more, they have it where it counts and both were built to be driven hard."
Full article: 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit - Bunnies Gone Wild
2007 Volkswagen Rabbit - Rabbit Punch
Article excerpt: "Having insane horsepower is awesome, but front-wheel drive with more than 350whp tends to be useless until the higher gears. So Unitronic and DMM performed the next logical step and converted the Rabbit to a 4Motion drivetrain."
Why we love it: "Not just any old project, this Mk5 goes beyond the norm. The car is built like a weightlifter, summoning an astounding 600+whp."
Full article: 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit - Rabbit Punch
1975 Volkswagen Rabbit Mk1 - Resurrected
Article excerpt: "Joe decided to transform the Mk1 into a dedicated SCCA GT4 race car. The stock 8v barely had 80hp, so Joe installed an Abt intake manifold, dry-sump and side-exit exhaust. Later, it was rebuilt with a big valve head, 11:1 forged pistons, an aggressive cam and dual Weber carbs."
Why we love it: "Local enthusiasts saw the car and had expressed an overwhelming desire for a European aftermarket parts retailer in the region. Stephen found his calling and returned to GMP fulltime, re-igniting the retail business with a website."
Full article: 1975 Volkswagen Rabbit Mk1 - Resurrected
1984 VW Rabbit L - Cosmic Bunny
Article excerpt: "'I started looking at the Mk1 forums and saw I could buy an '84 Rabbit L for the same price as winter tires for my 20AE,' Ivan explained. 'The previous owner had swapped in a rebuilt 1.8 GTI motor with cams, and the car even came with winter tires!'"
Why we love it: "Having never attempted a motor swap before, Ivan was smart and got a great deal on an Mk3. He sold all the unwanted parts and set out to transfer the engine in his own garage. The swap would ditch the 90hp 1.8 for a much more versatile 115hp 2.0 8v."
Full article: 1984 VW Rabbit L - Cosmic Bunny
1977 VW Rabbit - Two Blue Hares
Article excerpt: "Pat's approach was a bit more traditional, and basically followed the old hotrod credo, 'there's no replacement for displacement.' Under his Rabbit's dainty hood resides 2.8L of VR6 goodness. And you'd be excused for thinking an additional 100hp in a lightweight Mk1 would be more than sufficient, but Mr. Kirwan would disagree. 'I wanted a Rabbit you don't see every day, and I wanted big power with daily drivability. For me, a VR6 turbo was the only option.'"
Why we love it: "As disheartening as it must be to learn you're not the only local with a pristine Miami blue '77 Rabbit ('Oh, crap!' was Jeff's initial reaction), the final results have convinced both owners that such coincidences make life more interesting, especially when the only thing these Dubs have in common is their color and birthday."
Full article: 1977 VW Rabbit - Two Blue Hares
2007 Volkswagen Rabbit Mk5 - Bunny on a Budget
Article excerpt: "Some creature comforts would follow inside, including GTI seats and steering wheel. To spice it further, ABD added its line of aluminum accessories including door sills, mats, climate control rings and pedals."
Why we love it: "Having built a portfolio of VW project cars in the past, including an Mk4 GTI, Angel wanted progression. Once the Mk5 chassis hit our shores, it was clear he needed to be rolling the latest metal but he didn't have the funds when the GTI touched down. And then a little bunny came into the picture."
Full article: 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit Mk5 - Bunny on a Budget
2007 VW Rabbit - Jacked Up Rabbit
Article excerpt: "For Ryan Constantinescu it 'felt like an appliance after I began driving it daily. So I started researching modification immediately,' he explained. 'I looked at everything from body kits to power mods because I had to make the car better at any cost.'"
Why we love it: "There are tuners who take years to build their vision, then there's Ryan. Think about it, a war couldn't prevent him giving this car his full attention. When Ryan began to tell us how the car came to be, we looked at our own projects and hung our heads. Yet without the support of his family, friends and the Dub community, this Rabbit wouldn't have been so well executed."
Full article: 2007 VW Rabbit - Jacked Up Rabbit
*Photos provided by eurotuner archives