1980 Volkswagen Rabbit diesel

There’s restorations, and then there are restorations. This Mk1 Rabbit (Golf) falls into the latter category. A labor of love by its owner, this German built Rabbit is about as close to buying a new Mk1 as you could get.

The seller states:

A weekend project that turned into an obsession, here is the result of three years of work on a car I intended to keep forever and built accordingly.

This is a German built car which was purchased and imported from Canada. I purchased the car from a couple in Palatka Florida who had brought it from Washington State where I suppose it originally made its way into the US.

No expense was spared in this restoration which involved over $9,000 in new German parts. Absolutely no re-built or used components were used for the assembly. For example, the CV axles are OEM Lobro units running about $400 per side. The brake calipers and master cylinder are new (not rebuilt) Ate units. There are over $300 in new nuts and bolts each matching the original hardness grade and yellow zinc plating other than the addition of stainless wherever strength isn’t required. Below is a list of some of the major parts that have been replaced though there are many more.

The paint is a single stage PPG Urethane in the original color. To be honest I feel that the paint is the weakest point of the car when compared to the thorough mechanical restoration. There are a few minor dents that the shop didn’t get completely out as well as a few places that could use more polishing. The most noticeable area is probably along the bottom of the rear hatch where you can see some waviness. There is also a small dent on the left side of the front skirt which occurred during the restoration on a lift that I never got around to addressing. In short, the paint is not concourse but still quite good by most collectors standards.

As you can see in the pictures I have not yet found an original Becker radio to install. The dash panel for it is in place and has the hole plugged with a vanity panel. The antenna mounting hole on the left front wing is plugged with the NOS VW rubber plug used on cars sold without the radio option.

The second item I never found was a new sun roof seal. The sunroof operates perfectly but I’ve sealed off the gap with polyurethane flashing adhesive until a new seal is found. As you can see in the pictures I did this very neatly so that you cannot tell by looking at it. If you are fortunate enough to find a new seal you would only need to pull away the adhesive and install it.

The mileage (or kilometerage) on the Odometer is accurate. Since the restoration I have driven it about 200 miles to ensure everything is operating correctly. Since every consumable component on the car is new down to the little light bulbs behind the dash you will not find any problems to speak of. The car runs and drives as flawlessly as the day it left Wolfsburg.

This car is bio-diesel ready meaning that all fuel hoses are J30R9 grade and the injector pump has been updated with new Viton seals.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email or call me at 352-562-2412 as there is too much to write without this becoming an essay.

New major components (I’ve noted the brand wherever I could remember):

Rear Suspension:
Spindles
Wheel bearings (Timken)
Brake drums (German Ate)
Brake Cylinders (German Ate)
All drum brake hardware
Parking Brake cables (GEMO)
Rear axle beam bushings (polyurethane upgrade)
Brake hoses
shocks and springs (sachs)
All hardware (original spec hardness and coatings)

Front Suspension:
Control arms (OEM)
Control arm bushings (OEM)
McPherson struts (OEM Sachs)
Strut bearings (FEBI)
Wheel bearings (Beck Arnley)
CV axles (OEM German Lobro)
Brake calipers (NEW OEM German Ate zinc plated)
Brake pads (OEM)
Brake hoses (German Febi)
Ball Joints (Beck Arnley)
Tie rod ends (Beck Arnley)
All hardware (original hardness and plating)

Engine and Trans:
All engine oil seals
All engine mounts
Injection pump resealed with viton gaskets (bio-diesel approved)
Glow Plugs/ relay
All fuel hoses replaced with Goodyear J30R9 (bio-diesel approved)
Metal fuel pipes
Clutch
Clutch cable
Transmission end cover
Transmission fluid (redline synthetic)
All Transmission mounts
All gear shift bushings/linkage
Throttle cable
Metal reinforced rubber valve cover gasket
valve cover studs with stainless nuts
Camshaft oil baffle insert update
Oil pan
All coolant hoses including NOS expansion tank hose
Hose clamps (Swedish ABA)
Timing belt
Timing belt tensioner
Water pump German Ate
accessory belt (NAPA lifetime)
Alternator (BOSCH)
Brake Master cylinder (German Ate)
Coolant expansion tank
heater core
heater valve
Vacuum pump diaphragm and check valves
Vacuum hose with check valve (NOS a rare find)
Rain tray (NOS VW )
New horn (German HELLA)
Exhaust system after down pipe (OEM)
Exhaust pipe hangars (OEM)
hood bumpers (NOS)
new MANN air Filter
new Mobil 1 oil filter
new Bosch fuel filter

Electrical:
Head lights Halogen bulbs
All light bulbs including dash

General:
Tires (Firestone FR380)

At the time of writing this, there’s a little less than four days left and no bids, with a starting bid of $8,000. There are much worse cars you could purchase for $8,000, and probably none are in such good shape as this diesel Rabbit. This car would garner more attention, of course, if it was a GTI, but then again, that’s part of the charm of this particular ride.

-Paul

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One Comment

  1. Good grief. I am in love with this car. That looks like a 1980 brochure photo.

    I am also in love with this blog

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