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.
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.
Instead of Friday Fail, today we’ve got Sunday Smokers. I’m not sure what kind of dust is floating around the Dusty Old Cars warehouse, but I think it might be crack. I love Rabbit Pickups – not only was my first car one, but they’re precisely the kind of European oddity that we rarely get in the US but, for some magical reason, were blessed with for a few years in the early 80s. Practical and putting a heavy dose of fun in funky, they even came with a diesel! Today’s example is one of those oil-burners, wears a fresh coat of baby blue paint, and – despite 187k miles – the engine bay looks a great. However, a little closer look reveals some big question marks (like any description at all?) and possible rust spots that were just painted over. Even if it is just cosmetic and the truck were perfect, their asking price of $14,950 (down from $17,899, lucky you!) is top dollar for perfectly restored, low-mile, and modified Caddys. I realize New Hampshire is all about Live Free or Die, but with the amount of drugs these guys are doing, it doesn’t sound like they’ll be living free much longer.
Ah, the first car. Like the first love, it will always be special, though these cars are pretty special anyways. Most of the time when you mention “Volkswagen Pickup” to anyone you get a scrunched up face and inquiries as to what the hell you’re talking about. What I am talking about is an awesome little car. In addition to its unique nature, my Pickup (known as the Caddy in the rest of the world) had great steering feel, a peppy engine, and an 1800 lb curb weight that made it plenty of fun in curves. Eventually too many things went wrong and we had to sell it for something more reliable, but it went to a VW nut in Ohio, so I feel okay about it. This example, for sale on eBay and located in Arkansas, is what I would have loved to do with my little Rabbit. The ad says it’s been restored and it looks pretty nice inside and out, but the key here is a 1.6l turbodiesel. Many Rabbit Pickups came with diesels, but those are known as, well… slow. Real slow. The turbo on this one sounds like it makes it a lot more fun while still returning Prius-like gas mileage.
I’d want to correspond with the seller a bit to get a better idea of the specifics than the ad provides, and “restored” may be a slight overstatement, but it looks like a clean and solid example of a fun car. Useful, fun, and most of all unique, a truck like this is absolutely on my “must-own-again” list.