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Some things in life are just so outrageous that you simply have to love it, even if it arguably is quite horrific. The eighties were a decade which practically defined debatable taste – some might even go as far as saying an utter lack of taste. The purely optical aftermarket tuning available up through the eighties is a perfect example of this. It’s certainly neither stylish nor pretty, yet I can’t deny that it makes me smile and even feel a little bit better about life in general.

Remember the cheap plastic spoilers and wheel arch extensions which throughout the eighties were so trendy to tack onto your otherwise mediocre family hatchback or saloon? What a statement they were! Perhaps even better were the go-faster stripes. Some came in an array of 80’s rainbow colours, but my personal favourites where those stripes, which when you looked closer where made up tons and tons of small black dots. Remember them? They seemed so in tune with the whole digitalisation of society. Tacky for sure when seen in retrospect, but oh-so-cool in period.

There were several manufacturers of these glorious add-ons. The likes of Zender, Foha, and Kamei spring to mind, and I’m sure there were several others. In fact, even high-end, quality brands such as BBS got in on the game and started to offer spoiler kits along with their range of alloy wheels. There were even companies like Koenig, Strosek and Gemballa who would happily perform similar acts of cruelty on expensive sportscars from Ferrari and especially Porsche – although engine tuning was usually a part of the transformation when you moved into this exclusive niche market. But the very first company to offer an aftermarket spoiler for a normal road car was in fact Kamei. Established by Karl Meier in Wolfsburg, Germany in 1952, Kamei launched their frontspoiler for the VW Beetle already in 1953.

From here things continued to evolve and by the time we reached the early 1980s, the Kamei X1 bodykit was available for everything right from a humble VW Polo to the imposing Mercedes-Benz S-class W126 – and of course pretty much everything in between. But in terms of sales, the most successful of the many Kamei X1 bodykits was definitely that for the first-generation VW Golf. So much so that Kamei bodykits almost became synomonous with the popular Golf GTi.

This week’s Prime Find is for one such Golf 1 Kamei X1 bodykit in what appears to be absolutely perfect condition. Mind you, it’s not cheap! But then again, if you purchase this wonderfully 80’s bodykit, as an added bonus you even get a complete Golf GTi with it. These first-generation Golf GTi’s are of course relatively common, and since the iconic ur-GTi has become a fully accepted classic car for all but the most conservative enthusiasts, many have even been beautifully restored to their previous glory. So this Prime Find isn’t really about the Golf, but rather about the ultra rare and thoroughly eighties Kamei bodykit. Still, there’s no denying that it is nonetheless practical that it comes fully fitted to a car…

The car is a 1983 – so verylate first-generation – Golf GTi presented in a rare and very handsome olive green metallic. The seller claims that the ur-GTi has never been welded, still retains all factory panels and is matching numbers too. It was apparently taken off the road in 1997, and has since been recommissioned with among other things, a full bare metal respray. As such, the private seller says that the Golf is now “absolutely immaculate”. It’s had three previous owners and there’s a reasonably modest 80,900 miles on the clock. However, let’s get back to that Kamei X1 bodykit! The seller believes this Golf is apparently one-of-two UK delivered Golf’s which came with the Kamei kit factory-fitted (or maybe dealer-fitted; that’s a little unclear). He subsequently admits to having no proof of this, but it’s a good story if nothing else. Regardless, with fresh New-Old-Stock decals supplied by Kamei after the respray, there’s no denying that this eighties blast from the past looks fabulous.

The eighties-tastic Kamei X1 kit including decals, alloy wheels and all can now be yours for £ 13,750 – currently equating to approximately Euro 15,700. And as I said, you even get a very good looking, freshly MOT’ed Golf GTi thrown into the deal. Seems alright to me… For more details, you’ll find the full advert here: 1983 VW Golf GTi Kamei X1

Now I expect there will be severely divided opinions on this one among our ViaRETRO readers. To be honest, I see both sides of the argument. The tweed-and-flatcap-wearing, single-malt-enjoying, GT-driving-gentleman within me finds it awfully garish and crude. Some might even go as far as saying that a perfectly good first-generation Golf GTi has been ruined! But on the flipside, the dance-on-the-bartop-till-you-drop, Mojito-guzzling, live-life-to-the-fullest part of me finds his Kamei Golf truly invigorating. Just treat it with as little seriousness as you would all of the decade it came from, and it’s bound to make you laugh out loud. Surely that’s a good thing…? What say you dear ViaRETRO reader? Love it or hate it?

 

 

With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to primefindoftheweek@viaretro.co.uk

6 Responses

  1. Claus Ebberfeld

    BRILLIANT find, Anders! And you are definately on to something here.

    Now, personally, I don’t like it at all: The pure shape of the Ur-Golf was a masterpiece of Giugiaro’s and it is of course completely ruined by this plactic operation.

    However it is truly a piece of its time and I find myself more and more drawn to / fascinated by these symbols of the Eighties: What WERE they thinking?!? Like the Berlin Wall they should indeed be remembered for what they were and why, and in that sense I think this GTI (especially if the best story of the seller’s is correct) should be treated with the utmost respect.

    And I also think I am not alone in feeling this way: These cars are gaining a following. Which is indeed why I instead of stripping of the Lorinser-kit of my Mercedes SLC more of went along with the general theme of the car (started by someone else in period, not me now, mind!) and added gold alloys – I am on a trend here :-).

    Luckily my SLC still looks decidedly discreet compared to the Golf!

    Reply
  2. YrHmblHst

    I think it is WAY cool…and I dont even particularly like VW Golf/Rabbits. This one is in incredibly good condition and the body kit makes it ; w/o it, its just a front drive econobox. [ok, I understand that its a GTi, so its not JUST an econobox – its actually a pretty neat car for its genre, but allow me a bit of poetic license here, wouldya?]
    Yes, some aftermarket body kits were tacky, but many added to the cars shape. AND, they are SO period.
    See, personally, i think the 80s were great. In fact, that was the last decade of note for Western Civilisation. [I’ll not get into politics/sociology here even tho such is my bent] Of course, what do i know? I’m sitting here listening to a ‘pirate’ New Wave station over the internet as I type…

    Reply
  3. Dave Leadbetter

    Yes! If you’re going to go 80s, go full 80s. My personal favourite purveyors of this kind of tat must be Irmscher with their *tasteful* Opel accoutrements but I fear they really only exist in old photographs these days. Even seeing an aftermarket Hella grille causes my pulse to quicken so to encounter this Kamei Golf in real life… well, let’s just hope the new owner gets it on the show circuit and let’s us all have a gawp.

    Reply
  4. Tony Wawryk

    I’m with @claus-ebberfeld on this one, does nothing for me, I’m afraid – I belong to the school of thought that thinks the ’80’s were indeed the decade that taste forgot. Wouldn’t say no to a straight ur-GTi, though…

    Reply
  5. Anders Bilidt

    HeHe… @tony-wawryk, I knew you would hate it. :-)
    But I’m glad that I don’t stand alone with my appreciation of this rather outrageous 80’s bodykit. Pretty it’s not, but it makes me laugh, and we really shouldn’t take ourselves or our hobby too seriously, so what not…??

    Reply

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