1981 VW Rabbit Truck with TDI swap

I love the VW Caddy, and not just because it was my first car (though that certainly has something to do with it). The oddity, the 80s-ness, the practicality, and their playful driving nature make them a unique proposition in the weird car world; that is, one that makes total sense. A clean brown example was at my mechanic’s this morning and, in light of dropping off the pinnacle of my car ownership for yet more work, provided a nice moment of reflection on my roots. This red beauty on eBay is the beneficiary of a comprehensive restoration, including a TDI swap from a 1997 Passat. Worthy of respect in the more common state of grmiy workhorse, Caddys this nice are worthy of a few extra looks. It’s unclear how many miles the TDI has, but even if it were the 172k the chassis has covered, that’s barely broken in by diesel standards.

1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Truck with TDI swap for sale on eBay


Nailing it in the quality department, the price runs a bit astray with bids starting at $7k and an $8,995 Buy-it-Now. Objectively reasonable for a 35mpg fun commuter that can haul some miscellany, nine grand is way up there on the Caddy-Price spectrum. I’d give him $7k for a job well-done in making a unique car truly great.

-NR

2000 Volkswagen Passat TDI Wagon 6 speed manual

I have lengthy discussions with a good friend of mine in the Boston area about how there is a lack of decent diesel and performance wagons available in the United States with a manual transmission. Coincidentally, my friend drives a 2003 Audi A4 1.8T wagon with a manual gearbox. Here’s an interesting Passat wagon for sale on eBay that he passed along to me earlier this week, one that was brought over by someone in the German military working in the United States. This could very well be the only Passat wagon with the TDI engine and a 6 speed manual in the US at the current time.

The seller states:

Up for sale is a a very rare ONE owner 2000 Volkswagen Passat TDI wagon, with 217k original kilometers which is 135k miles. This is a one owner car that belonged to the original owner who was working in the US on behalf of the German military. This is the legendary diesel wagon which achieves almost 50 miles per gallon, but was never offered for the US market. Best color combination, Black mettallic on Gray. Fully legalized with a clean and clear Maryland title, ready to be registered in any state! This is the only Passat TDI wagon of this body style in all of US.

Features a 1.9 Turbo diesel ALH engine, mated to a 6 speed manual transmission

Loaded with the following options:

Monsoon Sound System
Alloy wheels
Power locks/windows/ mirrors
Climatronic climate control
6 CD changer
Side Impact Airbags
6 SPEED MANUAL
Keyless entry
Here is your chance to own the one and only Passat TDI wagon with a 6 speed manual transmission in all of the US.

Please note the car is a 2000 model, not a 1980 like listed on ebay, as the ebay system cannot decode the vin number. The exterior of the car is in excellent condition. The black paint looks great and has a deep gloss to it, as can be seen from the pictures. This Passat has NEVER been in an accident and has no previous paintwork of any kind! This TDI has a completely clean Autocheck report.

The interior is in great shape with no rips or tears. All power options work great! The entire interior is very clean! Has a spare tire with tool kit. As well as a set of original floor mats. Has nearly new tires all around!

Timing belt and water pump has been replaced at 101k miles at Stohlman VW in VA!

Mechanically: Starts, runs, and drives like a solid german built car. The suspension feels strong and tight with no rattles. The engine runs smooth, and is very powerful. . There are no check engine or warning lights on of any kind. The manual transmission shifts smoothly through all the gears. This car has been taken care of all its life and it really shows. If you wouldnt see the odometer, you would never believe that this car has 135k miles. It looks, and drives like a car with a quarter of its miles.

One thing that I noticed about this car is that it has power front windows and manual rear windows, something not seen on US Passats. This feature is similar to the setup my grandfather had in his 1982 Peugeot 505. A neat touch, I think. Granted this is a rare piece in this country, but in Europe, this would be any old Passat on the market. Over $16k for an 11 year old Passat with about 135,000 miles seems a bit ridiculous. Other Passats of this vintage are regularly trading in the $5,000 to $7,000 range on average. Given it’s rarity, I could see a $1,000 to $2,000 premium, not one which puts it in line with a new Jetta.

-Paul

1991 VW Doka Vanagon Truck for Sale

Since everyone seemed to be so upset by the price of the last VW Van I posted, I figured I’d post a very rare example at a much more reasonable price: just $57k.

1991 VW Vanagon DOKA Tristar Syncro for sale

Before everyone gets their collective leiderhosen in bunches, I’ll let the seller explain WHY this VW is deserving of a such a price.  It’s a long but entertaining read, and I highly recommend it to fans of obscure VW knowledge.

These trucks are pretty common all over the world, EXCEPT in the USA. VW technically did not import ANY Vanagon trucks into the USA. This is one of 18 that was brought into Canada under very special circumstances. Indeed, there is a great story behind this Vanagon TriStar Double Cab (DOKA) Syncro (4WD) truck.

As the story goes, there once was an oil exploration company in Canada that ordered 18 Syncro DOKAs just like this one. And, they were not just ANY Syncro DOKAs, but all TriStar models—more on that in a moment. The company ended up going out of business before the trucks arrived. So, VW of North America ended up selling these 18 trucks through their distributors in Canada.

Well, one of the ex-employees of the company snagged two of these, and brought them legally back home to Southern California. Check out the photos of the current California title. That is right: This is one of those 18 DOKAs made with the correct VIN for North America. This may seem like an inconsequential detail—but it is actually quite a big deal in this case, because this DOKA is diesel powered. Currently, it is not possible to bring a diesel powered vehicle into California if the vehicle in question was not a model offered somewhere else in the USA. NO WAY. So, the first amazing thing about this DOKA is that it is a totally LEGALLY REGISTERED DIESEL: That alone would be crazy enough, but it gets better…

Every DOKA ever made, except for these 18, was sold outside the USA. They were sold in Northern Europe and Scandinavia, and were mostly work trucks, put into service in severe weather (especially the Syncro models). Of the 18 that made it to North America, most were sold in Canada. What does this mean? It means that just about every DOKA ever made is now a rust bucket. By contrast, thistruck has lived all its life in Southern California, and has spent its time on the freeway. Therefore: NO RUST. Anybody who has ever spent time staring at a DOKA, like me, is simply amazed by how incredibly rust free this example is. But wait, it gets better…

This is not just any ol’ DOKA. This is a TriStar. So, unlike 90% of all VW DOKAs ever made that were basically 3-door, stripped-down work trucks, the TriStars were built super plush. TriStar means it has every factory option, including:

• Full plush cloth interior
• Padded dash
• Wall-to-wall carpet
• Heated driver’s seat
• Rear window defroster
• Cruise control
• Arm rests on both front seats
• Power windows
• Rear differential lock
• And last but not least: FOUR DOORS

And, that’s not all…

The guy we got this from is a super duper, over-the-top Vanagon NUT. He went totally overboard and did the following:

– Complete repaint inside and out to factory color
– Gray color redone all around the bottom
– Lots of seals and gaskets replaced
– All new carpet throughout
– Syncro.Org springs
– Old Man Emu shocks
– All new brakes
– Driveshaft decoupler (still has viscous coupler)
– Nice stereo with new larger speakers under rear seat
– All new power door lock system with remote entry

PLUS, HE ADDED:

– Air conditioning system (that kicks ass, BTW)
– Fresh transaxle with much taller 3rd and 4th gears, for the…

LAST BUT NOT LEAST:

– 1.9 liter Turbo Direct Injection (TDI) diesel engine with intercooler

Now, a few words about the AC and TDI engine:

AC in a DOKA? That is not possible…. that is, unless you are some sort of super duper, over-the-top Vanagon NUT. The owner had the AC unit painstakingly removed from an early 80s Vanagon, painted to match the interior scheme, and custom-installed so it looks like it came that way from the factory. Now, we have added NORMAL, FACTORY AC into a run-of-the-mill Westy that did not have it. It was a fairly straight forward job, but still cost north of $5k—all said and done. I just can’t IMAGINE how much time THIS took.

So, again, I admit that this kind of car is highly overpriced for most people. However, there is a dedicated group out there for whom the words DOKA, Syncro, and TDI are holy terms and nearly soul-shatteringly awesome when combined altogether.  For someone out there, this rare gem is easily worth its price.

-NR