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1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup Diesel

This post is in our archives. Links in this post may have been updated to point to similar cars available to bid on eBay.


For a country that loves its trucks, it’s curious we have so few options when it comes to new compact trucks. The Japanese have been in the game for quite some time, but even their offerings have grown to the point of not quite compact of late. There have been rumblings that Ford is going to get back in the game with an updated Ranger and GM is about to unleash a new Chevrolet Colorado for those who many find their full-size offerings a bit too much. Beyond compact pickups, there was another option years ago, the car-based truck.

Still available in some markets from certain manufacturers, these type of trucks were mainly used for light hauling and delivery duties. Volkswagen decided it would try its hat at its own version of the El Camino formula by offering US customers the Mk1 Rabbit Pickup years ago, known as the Caddy elsewhere. Offered for a few years alongside Rabbits and GTIs, these small trucks have a dedicated following, with many folks tuning them or adding GTI trim. This diesel version for sale in Oregon is in splendid, original condition, having been owned by one family its whole life.

Click for more details: 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup Diesel on eBay

$_57 (3)

Year: 1981
Model: Rabbit Pickup Diesel
Engine: 1.6 liter inline-4 diesel
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 73,755 mi
Price: Reserve auction

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Here is a super clean, one family owned 1981 VW Rabbit LX pickup truck, with only 74k original miles! This Rabbit is equipped with the 4 cylinder, 1.6L motor, a 5-speed manual transmission and front wheel drive! The body of this truck is very straight, no dents. The paint shines and looks great, however the hood and roof are starting to oxidize, please see pictures. California & Oregon truck since day one! There are some very minor and superficial scratches, blemishes and rock chips in the paint/clear coat, expected for the age of the vehicle. Also, the pasenger side black fender strip was lost many years back and was replaced with a close match, please see pictures. The drivers side front fender has a small ding above the chrome molding, please see pictures. The inside of the bed is in excellent shape, no major scratches and no dents, please see pictures! The canopy has been on the truck since new and is included in the sale! Also, this truck has never towed anything! The underneath of the truck has some surface rust, oxidation expected for a 33 year old vehicle. This truck is all original, never wrecked and never painted!

The interior is in great shape! There are only two small cracks in the dashboard, please see pictures. The drivers and passenger seats are in great shape as well, the drivers has a small split, please see pictures. The carpet is in great shape, no rips and no stains, please see pictures. The sun visors as well as the door panels are also in great condition aside for one small tear in the drivers side, please see pictures. The headliner is starting to sag a bit towards the back, please see pictures. The windshield is original, no chips and no cracks! The horn and radio do not work. Also, the temperature guage stoped working and an after market unit has been installed. The truck is equipped with factory AC which turns on, but will most likely need a charge. Also, the truck will come with the original owners manual and a Custom Craft fiberglass canopy, please see pictures!

The motor starts instantly and purrs! The 5-speed manual transmission shifts very smooth! This Rabbit has been well maintained and always serviced on time! The motor was just serviced, a fresh engine oil & filter service, fresh fuel and air filters installed, complete timing belt & water pump job including the timing belt tensioner, camshaft seal, balance shaft seal, front crankshaft seal, etc, coolant flush, new thermostat, new drive belts, front motor mount and a brand new Interstate diesel battery!! Also, the fuel injection pump has been rebuilt&re sealed a few years back! All 4 tires are matching, Bridgestone sf471, size P175/70R13 m/s, all mounted on factory wheels with original hub caps. The tires are old, cracked and should be replaced in the near future, we wanted to leave that up to the new owner. This truck was not used much since it’s original owner passed away.

Please keep in mind that this is an older vehicle and is not in new condition! Please expect normal wear and tear for a vehicle of this age and miles, this is not a brand new vehicle and it is not perfect! If you are looking for a super low milage, all original VW diesel Caddy, than this is the truck for you!

Please view all pictures and ask questions before bidding. I reserve the right to end auction at any time! Buyer is responsible for pickup and or shipping. If you do not plan on buying this item do not bid. NO DEAD BEATS!!

If you have zero or negative feedback you must contact me before bidding. For any questions please email or call me at 541-941-6754.

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Short of those Rabbit pickups that have been modified, rarely do you find one in such nice shape. For the purist, this truck is a stunning find. The diesel might put a few perspective buyers off. While they are good for economy, these engines are not known for their power. However, the condition and low miles tend to even that factor out. Somewhere in the $5,000 to $6,500 range is about realistic for one of these Mk1 haulers.



  1. Sam
    Sam April 2, 2014

    A great car in great condition, nice find.
    I purchased a near identical version about eight years ago (1982 with 67k miles). I’ve put over 100k miles on it since, mostly on biodiesel, and it has been terrific. With good tires, this truck will take you a surprising number of places.
    I’d love to bid on this Ashland, Oregon version.

  2. Akiruno
    Akiruno April 3, 2014

    Someone contact Rutledge Wood from Top Gear; he love these.

  3. Doug
    Doug April 3, 2014

    I think you might be underestimating what these diesel caddys can pull. My (admittedly faulty) memory tells me that with 2-300K miles they still sell for 5 or 6 grand. Wouldn’t be surprised to see this little beauty go for twice that. Serious Pacific Northwest Eco-Hipster Style Points!

  4. Carter
    Carter April 7, 2014

    Sold for $6,700 – looks like Paul just about nailed it!

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