Celebrating the life and 'death' of VW's iconic 3-door hot hatch GTI

(October 21, 2018) The now-departed, 3-door Volkswagen GTI is being honored with a Dia de los Muertos graphic. Following the Day of the Dead tradition, the team at VWPartsVortex.com created this infographic to memorialize VW’s original hot hatch. Although the team has illustrated the U.S. versions of the 3-door MkII through the MkVII at altars, they maintain their support for the 5-door GTI models that have now become the norm.

“Since the GTI hasn’t actually died, we don’t really have anything to be sad about,” says Rocco DeMas, director at VWPartsVortex.com.

“Still, the end of the 3-door is the end of an era. This graphic is our farewell salute, so we wanted to represent it with the positivity of Dia de los Muertos.”

Originating in what is now Latin America, ancient peoples thought mourning death was disrespectful, so Day of the Dead was created to celebrate those gone on the continuum of life. Although they have passed, the souls are said to return to earth for a couple of days to enjoy the ritual and party with their earthly loved ones. Depending on where you celebrate, the holiday falls between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2 each year. The team at VWPartsVortex.com thought they’d use this 2-day celebration as a setting to celebrate and honor this stage of the continuum of the 3-door GTI’s journey.

In 1983, the 3-door GTI Rabbit hit American highways and started the “hot hatch” niche in the U.S. This economical, compact performance car was not like Porsches, Corvettes, and Camaros of the day, but it did have one similarity — only 2 doors. Of course, its hatchback eventually came to be called the 3rd door.

Set up on individual ofrendas, the graphic illustrates the stages of each GTI’s exterior, from the MkII through the last 3-door MkVII. VW now builds only 5-door GTIs.