Project '79 VW Rabbit
This car started life as a stock worn out mechanically fuel injected 1.6L '79 4 speed Rabbit. It was covered in various colors of primer and black paint left over from the previous owner. Ethan chose to build this primarily as a back road rocket and something to tear up the local Autocross events with. Given that, it was time to let the 1.6L find its way to the dump, and put something with a bit more torque under the hood.
In an attempt to stay true to the spirit of the stock Rabbit, a ported and polished 1.8L solid lifter 8v head and 272 Techtonics cam were slated for the top end, and a 2L OBD1 ABA bottom end would round out the motor. The 8 valve managed to retain its street-ability, and had more than enough low end power to move the car through traffic on those days when it proved to be a more entertaining alternative for the commute to work.
To complement the engine change came a complete gutting of the chassis. Which brought the already light Rabbit down to a total of 1680lbs wet. H&R coilovers and a full disc brake swap from a Mk2 GLI took care of the turning and stopping, while a custom nose to tail wiring harness helped save more weight when the factory harness was thrown out. The dash consists of a one off panel with VDO gauges and is tied into the custom wiring, along with the requisite minimum amount of switches. A 9A transmission from a 16v Mk2 was installed to give the new motor another gear to use for freeway cruising, and bring the lower gear ratios closer together for some added grunt at the Autocross. To clean up the appearance of the car, the exterior was given a coat of satin black paint, diagonal red and yellow stripes and a set of lightweight European bumpers.
The Rabbit runs a v2.2 MegaSquirt with fuel and spark control, MS controlled three stage shift lights and a 7300 RPM redline. The cold starts have been fine tuned down to freezing, and the Rabbit idles better than stock thanks to the MegaSquirt and some hours spent tuning the warm-up and idle.
The future continues to remain bright for this project, as plans are currently underway for rear wheel drive, a more modern motor with a couple more cylinders, and a wasted spark MegaSquirt setup. Keep checking in for updates as we take this Rabbit to the next level with MegaSquirt power.