Last summer I saw this insane VW Rabbit Pickup concoction rocking an extended cab, air bags, and monochrome dark green interior to match the exterior. It still has the 1.5-liter diesel lump to pull all that extra weight, but that’s not the only explanation for it still sitting outside the same garage it was almost a year ago. At first, the seller had it for sale for $11k, but it didn’t sell. Then he made it a reserve auction with the Buy It Now at $11k and it got up to $4,600 but didn’t crack the reserve. He tried again, and it only reached $4,500. Third times a charm with the same auction, right? Nope, then he only got to $4,300. It’s almost as if the eBay bidders were taunting him. Well, he’s trying a different tack now: Start the bidding at $6,500 and lower the Buy It Now to $8,500. I feel a little bad for the guy; as stated in my original post, this truck has clearly taken a ton of time, money, and work. Unfortunately, the market for custom extended, ground-rubbing diesel Rabbit Pickups seems to be very small and capped around $5k. I wish him the best, but wouldn’t bet on it selling yet.
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Every once in a while I see something that’s so horribly wrong it’s somehow right, and when it comes to 1980s German tuning there was plenty to go wrong. But while some wrong is predictable (I’m looking at you, Keonig Testarossa strakes on everything), sometimes the very wrong is unpredictable. Take today’s unassuming 1988 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL. I’d like to think when it was conceived and born, no one in Germany would have thought “Do du what we can do with this know?” and then sketch out a 2-door pickup truck. No, that takes American know-how and strategery. And if you were going to do it, why not do it poorly? As in, take a mid-range model (so not cheap, but also not as powerful as it could be!), make a very awkward transition to the bed which, by the way, doesn’t have a tailgate, adorn said unusable bed with plenty of diamond plate and then throw in some extra taillights for good measure? And then make it two-tone and fit some later model AMG wheels. Yet, again, somehow this goes so full-on horrible that it becomes kitschy. This is dogs playing poker art for cars:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL Pickup on eBay10 Comments
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.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1959 Volkswagen Type 2 Single Cab on eBayComments closed
Way back in time, before the proliferation of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – indeed, before the Internet really got off its feet at all, dreams were made not with by-the-minute browser refreshes eagerly anticipating the next clever comment or picture of someone eating an avocado. If you weren’t actually traveling the automotive scene, you were totally reliant on your monthly delivery of new automobile magazines. In high school, I had at one point four different subscriptions and poured over the details of every single car that graced the pages of what was my Bible. But it was in the mid 1990s that I stumbled across a magazine that really spoke to me much more than the BMW-loving Car and Driver or the fairly vanilla Automobile; I found a copy of European Car. It was a complete revelation to me, to see the cars that not only I dreamt about but could actually afford parts for. Nearly as good, if not perhaps better, than the feature articles were the advertisements. The “Dr. Feelgood”s of the European tuner scene, companies like Techtonics Tuning and Total Audi Performance spoke to my specific needs in ways that the mainstream magazines couldn’t. And within those advertisements, one particular company became something of a legend among a small group of friends who all shared the enthusiasm for Volkswagens. That company was AutoBahn Designs, better known as ABD Racing – and what they had created was an absolute monster. In the days before the ubiquitous VR-swap for VWs, dropping a 16V into the nose of your car was about as hot as you could get. But ABD took that recipe to the next level with a custom-built 2.1 16V with massive compression and side-draft carburetors. But it was really what they put it in that set them apart, as ABD chose a Caddy for the massive build. The result, stripped out, painted up and dominating the import drag scene, still gives me goose bumps when I see it all these years later:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup ABD 2.1 16V on eBayComments closed
“Looks good, runs good” is the perfect opening line for this ad in its simplicity and lack of hoity-toity grammar. No matter what people try to charge for them as time goes on, Volkswagen Rabbit Pickups will always be about honest practicality. No frills, no big tires, no in-dash DVD players. These trucks are about getting you from A to B faster and carrying more stuff than a bike could. And probably using less energy as well, especially with these diesels that approach 50 mpgs.
This red on red example is very straight with good paint, a nice spray-in liner that will battle the elements and rust, and a clean interior (other than some hidden, reportedly beat seats). The seller has done his part to address any leaks and squeaks, and prior to him there was an alleged rebuild around 30k miles ago. 160k is pretty early for these diesels to need much attention, but with a new owner willing to address any further drips and noises that arise, you can be sure the motor will keep going until we finally burn this green and blue sphere to dust.