"The Rab... wait, that's a Rabbit?"

Dogbert

Helsinki Smash Rod
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A VW-enthusiastic coworker sent me a local CL ad for a 1981 VW Rabbit Truck, which I had never even heard of before, and said it might be a laugh to buy this and asked if I could even imagine owning one.

Three days later... well, yes, it is a laugh. He went with me on the test drive for moral support (and because I don't do CL deals alone) and we both determined this was the craziest thing I've ever paid US currency for to-date, and more or less on an impulsive whim at that.



... but when do you ever see one of these, right?

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Foibles?
- First and reverse were essentially the same gear when I got it, which made for an interesting week until I fixed it... and when I say fixed it, now first and second both require pressing down to get over the lockout, which doesn't always go super smoothly.

- The alternator cable and battery terminals were janky, which meant that the battery died the one time I've needed to rely on it for transportation while my daily was at the body shop... 25 miles (40km) from my house.

- The radiator leaks and the fan temp power wire is basically taped to the positive terminal. Neither of these are ever really an issue, because the engine hardly ever gets hot enough to warrant them. Seriously, it's a chore to put some heat into it.

- There's old and new fluid all over the underneath of the engine and transmission, and I assume all the seals are just gone. It still drives happy, though, so I'm sort of indifferent.

- Actually filling the tank takes about ten minutes, because diesel likes to froth up inside it. There's a lot of slow, tedious pouring involved.

- There is a larger-than-a-fist sized hole in the right front wheel well.


Future ideas?
- I bought a VW Cabrio shell to swap a round headlight non-rusty front end onto it

- I am buying an ALH TDI engine to swap into it

- I'm putting said ALH TDI engine in the truck bed ahead of the wheels and making it MR
 

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Spectre

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There's one of those at a surplus electronics shop near here.
 

Dogbert

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I'd never actually noticed them until I bought one, and now I've seen another personally, and then there was that Reddit picture yesterday.
 

Spectre

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Is that German or Pennsylvania built? That can impact what body parts you can use, IIRC.
 

Dogbert

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Penn.

We're planning (and I've been told and read) that the front clip swap would be a direct weld-on. It's going to be a frunk anyway once the engine swap (mercifully*) takes place, so I'm not particularly worried.


* I rag on it, but at 247,000 miles, the thing is mechanically sound. It's very temperamental below 60-odd degrees and the cold start doesn't work, but it fires right up and doesn't miss a beat.
 

ScarFace88

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I have a model of one of these somewhere...
 

Heathrow

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A VW Caddy, as it is known here.

It looks in very good condition, for a 1981, well done for an odd-ball purchase.

.. and good to see you back on FG. :cool:
 

Dogbert

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A VW Caddy, as it is known here.

It looks in very good condition, for a 1981, well done for an odd-ball purchase.
It keeps tripping me up, because some people refer to it as a Caddy, and I look at them like they're stupid. Then they look at me like I'm stupid.

And if I'm honest, the biggest reason I pulled the trigger on it was because I was seeing non-running ones going for almost 50% more than what I paid. This was owned by a kid who just moved here from CA and needed some quick cash. I felt bad for him, he clearly liked it a lot; came with a hardback FSM and tons of spare bits and bobs that he hadn't gotten around to fixing.
 

Dogbert

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Proof:


attachment.php
 

Perc

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I always go :blink: when someone on here says they own (or spotted) a Caddy and post a picture of a Cadillac. A Caddy is a Volkswagen, goddamnit. :lol:
 

luokyio

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Nice Caddy. :D
 

Dr_Grip

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Is that the 1.6 Diesel engine? Great fuel economy, unkillable, one of my favorite engines ever.
 

MWF

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Is Dogbert actually Rutledge Wood?
 

Dogbert

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Is that the 1.6 Diesel engine? Great fuel economy, unkillable, one of my favorite engines ever.
It is! I'm actually hoping it warms up a little again so I can burn enough diesel to figure out what the fuel economy is like now. And to be honest, it's more fun to drive than my Mazda2. I love the 2 dearly, but the Rabbit just has... I don't know, more character?

It's like, I just figured out how to drive it without killing it or smashing it into another car, and now I feel like I can't stop. It makes me deaf and only one 3" speaker barely works and the HVAC is totally dead and the drivers seat is totally nuked and I don't care.

Is Dogbert actually Rutledge Wood?
Would you believe me if I said no?
 

Dr_Grip

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It is! I'm actually hoping it warms up a little again so I can burn enough diesel to figure out what the fuel economy is like now.
Check your thermostat. The engine shares a block with the 1.6 petrol and normally warms up real quick.
 

Hemily

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You can use a lot of the MK1 Golf/Rabbit parts on it too, at least the front end of it. so they tend to look fairly cool around here, with GTI parts and the like.
 

Heathrow

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Is that the 1.6 Diesel engine? Great fuel economy, unkillable, one of my favorite engines ever.

You can use a lot of the MK1 Golf/Rabbit parts on it too, at least the front end of it. so they tend to look fairly cool around here, with GTI parts and the like.

.. and the GTI petrol engine swapped in would make it very quick.
(And probably lethal too. :p)
 
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