Oh, goody. It is tough to put into words how excited how I am for this one today. As you might have noticed, this is a 2000 Mercedes-Benz E320 ”Pickup Truck”. This job was done by the custom builders at Binz, a company in Germany that produces work on par with that of the Mercedes-Benz factory. I’ve actually looked at one of their creations before, but none as clean at this one today. What is interesting is that this W210 started life as a E320 estate and then was converted to the pickup. The amazing thing is that Binz just didn’t slap a bed on this thing and call it a day, they actually went above and beyond on every single detail. Despite being built in Germany, this thing is actually for sale on US soil in California. So let us dig into this sedan with some extra cargo capacity.
I’m sure you’ve seen it once before. Someone takes a regular sedan or wagon, grabs a sawzall, then three months later out rolls a car with a bed on it. Usually the rear window is something out of a truck at the junkyard and is held in by some leftover bathroom caulk. The entire car now has the structural integrity of a pool noddle and it’s only a matter of time before the entire thing collapses. But what if I told you that there is now a way to make a ute from your VW or Audi without risking your life and everyone elses lives on the road? Thanks to this 2001 Jetta ”Ute” in Detroit, I now know there is an entire market for these conversions.
Often we complain about the numerous times German manufacturers have failed to send models enthusiasts want to U.S. shores. But in the case of the Volkswagen Pickup – affectionately nicknamed the “Caddy” after the model that was released later in Europe – was first debuted out of the American Westmoreland, PA plant. The chassis was lengthened and unique bodywork and rear axle were fit, and the Rabbit Pickup was marketed as a comfortable, car-like utility vehicle. Between 1980 and 1982, Volkswagen even offered the Rabbit “Sportruck”. While most would presume this was primarily an appearance package, the Sportruck actually was quite a bit more sporty than the diesel options in the rest of the lineup. You got a 5-speed manual (opposed to 4) hooked to a 1.7 liter 8V, a front spoiler and special “Rally” wheel trim, along with a 3-gauge console and bucket seats with a Scirocco steering wheel. It wasn’t a GTI, but it was a half step in between.
This Caddy, though it isn’t one of the Sportrucks, is a huge leap for Caddykind:
The W461 Mercedes-Benz is a rare build of the G-Wagen that was dedicated for military and parapublic service. They are still as stripped down and basic as any W460 but the interesting thing is that production for these ran all the way up until 2001. Since the W463, the version that was catered for civilian use and still in production today, started in 1991, that means Mercedes was building two different G-Wagens at the same time for over 10 years. Once discontinued in 2001, Mercedes-Benz just decided to equip the W463 with whatever the specific military requests were at the time and carry on their building process that way. So when a W461 popped up for sale in Spain, I had to take a closer look at it. Of course, this one has a few specific features that makes it quite unique.
Engine: 2.3 liter inline-4
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 71,600 mi
Price: Reserve Auction
1991 Steyr-Daimler-Puch (Mercedes-Benz) 230GE Pickup/Canvas Back
ACTUAL VIN: VAG46121917906304
Ex-Swiss Army, with rare automatic transmission and petrol engine. This w460 was one of the well-appointed Geländewagens supplied new to the Swiss Military, and it spent its entire life in that capacity as an Army support vehicle. Very low mileage and always beautifully maintained, it is entirely rust free and needs nothing. Runs and drives perfectly.
A true mil-Spec G-wagen, the Swiss trucks are exceedingly rare because they were equipped with the desirable 4-speed automatic transmission. This example is relatively unique in that it has been configured as a pickup truck (although a steel frame and rear canvas back is supplied, and photos of it fitted on the vehicle can be seen in the gallery.)
A tow hitch has been fitted (the vehicle is rated to tow more than five tons), and hydraulic fittings on the front can be utilized to operate various different types of equipment if desired, including a plow.
Longtime reader Sam was selling his “Blue Colonel” Rabbit Pickup in Portland but saw another extremely clean Caddy for sale at the same time. It looks like the Blue Colonel has sold, but this beautiful little LX – leatherette and wood dash included – is still looking for a new home. It’s covered 134k gentle miles and spent most of last 15 years in a temperature controlled garage. Everything looks original in the best of ways, including the clean engine compartment. $6k is a pretty common number for diesel Caddys, but we’ll see if this excellent gas pickup can swing that much too.
Here’s an interesting dive into Volkswagen T3 history. We’ve seen special camping editions and even Tristar DoKas, but this green monster came with a special options list Volkswagen deemed the “Jagdwagen” (“Hunter”) package. It was never released as a real model, but reportedly 12 were made in this spec, which includes a full exterior cage, winch, spot light, gun rack and side gun drawer and rear bucket seats. The Jagdwagen options commanded an extra ~$11k over the already-pricey DoKa Syncro.
This example is one of a reported four in North America and features a TDI engine from a MkIV Jetta. Besides a few exterior scuffs, it looks to be in good shape and has received some attention like new bumpers to keep it looking spiffy.
After Friday’s wallet-busting Rabbit Pickup, we have a sweet little diesel model that doesn’t have quite the top-to-bottom shine as the low beige caddy but is looking to pack quite the value. Pretty much everything under the hood has been redone with top-notch parts from OEM supplier The Parts Place, so you can bet this little pickup is going to run for many decades to come. The value comes in because there’s still work to be done on the interior and running gear, but those are things you can do over time, improve, and customize in much simpler ways than the motor. The reserve is still on the auction and bidding is hot, but it’s looking like this is going to be a right-priced economy truck with tons of potential.
When I saw the first picture and almost $16k asking price for this beige Rabbit Pickup auction, I thought it was yet another grossly optimistic seller shooting the moon for a wealthy ’80s VW fan that doesn’t exist. It just looked like another slammed Caddy on black wheels, and the weird and vaguely inappropriate intro in the description doesn’t really help. A closer look at the extensive work and the quality inside and out – if you can sort through the horribly formatted ad – starts to paint a very different picture. A rebuilt stock 1.8 and 5-speed are from 1986 Golf (my Rabbit Pickup had the same swap), and the whole undercarriage looks better than new. Recaro Trophys from a MkII and door cards and carpet from a MkI Jetta highlight the very clean interior. Refurbished black Snowflakes and a duckbill spoiler bring some OEM+ to the party, and LED head and tail lights are surprisingly attractive and unobtrusive.
From 20 feet away it looks like a budget slammer, but up close it looks like the “showstopper jaw dropper” that the seller describes. If it was white or black on silver rims, it might look like the classic clean German style. Maybe that’s the point, a play on the Caddy slammer scene while actually keeping most of it restrained and well-chosen. I’m still not sure if that makes it worth $16k.
It’s been a while since we’ve featured a crazy low-mile imported 4WD Volkswagen from whoever these folks in Avenel, NJ are that keep bringing these insane examples stateside. Whether it’s Golf Countrys or DoKa Syncros, they have the least traveled and most original forbidden fruit. Today is no exception, with another blue DoKa Syncro with a completely enclosed metal bed cover. Big white steelies complement a the white lower half and contrast the all-business black roof and steel bumpers. It looks brand new because it almost is, with just 15k original miles on the clock (or rather, 24km). It’s as good as they come and is bringing a lot of bidders to play, though still only in the teens as I write this.
Pickups come in all shapes and sizes, from heavy duty brawler to car-based cruiser. The Volkswagen Type 2 falls somewhere in between, a definite workhorse but geared more towards light duty. While Volkswagen still sells plenty of commercial vehicles, we haven’t been privy to any in the US market since the early 1970s, thanks to your friendly government and a little thing called trade wars. This restored 1959 Type 2 Single Cab for sale in California comes from a time well before that legislation and looks absolutely amazing in metallic green sitting on mag wheels. Rarely do these VW trucks catch my attention, but this one has.