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Tag: Pickup

1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup

Volkswagen of Americas small pickup truck offered a unique experience at the beginning of the 1980s; basically, the front half of the pickup was a Rabbit, which meant relative comfort, reliability, easy of use and driving and good fuel economy. In back, Volkswagen stretched the wheelbase nine inches and swapped in a tubular axle supported by leaf springs giving the pick up 1,100 lbs of payload capacity and a six foot bed not too shabby! They even launched a Sportruck model, which gave you bucket seats and some really trick decals that covered most of the side. You also got some amazing options for the period, like a tachometer (wooooow) and a 5-speed transmission. However, even with the 5-speed the 1.7 liter low compression 8V motor available wasn’t exactly going ignite your enthusiast dreams. Unleashing the 78 horsepower would return a not particularly stunning 0-50 time of 9.7 seconds. 60, youll remember, was illegal in the United States at that time, so why bother designing a car that could approach it?

Still, the Rabbit Pickup was one of the rare occasions when the U.S. got a desirable model which wasn’t available in Germany. We spend much time lamenting the cars that never came here, so it’s worth while to take a bit of time to appreciate the Rabbit Pickup – especially one in this condition:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup on eBay

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1978 Barkas B1000 Pickup

And now for something completely different.

Just left of zero of you will have ever heard the name Barkas, and yes – it’s German. Well, at least technically it’s German, because it was built in half of Germany. And if you had to venture a guess, which half would you suppose that would be?

That’s right! While the Trabant was the people’s car, the Barkas was the worker’s truck. Produced starting in the late 1950s in Chemnitz Karl-Marx-Stadt, the Barkas stole some technology from DKW, who had moved their pre-War headquarters from Zschopau to that fatefully renamed city in 1932 when they joined the Auto Union. Under the “hood” was the same 0.9 inline-3 two stroke you’d find in a DKW F91 and (rather unsurprisingly) the Wartburg, which also stole all the DKW tech. The drivetrain was borrowed, too, meaning that unlike the Volkswagen T-models, these vans were front wheel drive. The layout left Industrieverband Fahrzeugbau Barkas with the flexibility to create all sorts of configurations right up until they (and, the GDR) closed their doors in 1991; from mini-buses to delivery vans, from semi-trucks to even a pickup:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Barkas B1000 Pickup on eBay

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El Jettamino: 2006 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Smyth Pickup

Although I’ve espoused my love of wagons and their do-everything nature, the reality is that I live in the suburbs and there are certainly some times (read: pretty often, actually) that I could use a pickup truck. But, if I’m completely honest, I’ve previously owned a big Chevrolet 2500HD pickup and I’m still not convinced that I’m a pickup kind of guy. Worse still, have you priced a pickup out lately? HOLY MACKEREL. A base Silverado starts at almost $30,000 and if you want things like…seats, and/or wheels, you’ll quickly need more than $40,000. When I see $40,000 asks on a pickup which a) I know will be rusting in 5 years no matter what I do and b) because it’s a GM, will almost certainly break, I get pretty annoyed. Worse still, the “Heartbeat of America” isn’t built in America. I know. I live right by the port where they all come in on a boat. Beside the steady stream of Fiats, Volkswagens, Porsches and Alfa Romeos, there’s a long line of Chevrolet and GMC pickups being driven into the United States for the first time.

So how about a pickup that’s a bit more my speed? Built in America with tons of European flare by utilizing recycled Audi/Volkswagen products, there’s always the Smyth Pickup:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Smyth Pickup on eBay

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2000 Mercedes-Benz E320 ‘Pickup Truck’

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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Mercedes-Benz E320 ‘Pickup Truck’ on eBay

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1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup

The advertising tag line for the 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup was “So American, it’s not available in Germany”. Since the mid 1980s, though, the opposite has been true as the truck range of Volkswagen was removed from the U.S. lineup. In some ways, that’s a bit strange since the small truck market was so strong in the mid-to-late 1980s, but starting in the 90s and culminating in the early 2000s, the small truck market evaporated as the crossover to large trucks became so easy and prevalent. But big trucks have gotten very expensive, and smaller trucks (which really are the size of 1980s full sized trucks) are experiencing a minor resurgence – so much so that VW is rumored to be thinking of bringing the Amarok starting as early as next year. So, let’s take a look back at where the VW pickup began:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup on eBay

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