1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup TDI


Today we have a sweet Rabbit Pickup that has gone through a complete restoration and updated to a rebuilt 1997 TDI motor from a Passat. These were efficient little buggers in the first place, but now it’s got a little more power while maintaining the best gas mileage of any truck out there. It may not be the most attractive Caddy we’ve seen, as the emblemless grille and tacked-on hood scoop scar the front while the innocuous grey has that slightly dull finish marking a budget repaint. But the interior is quite nice with Recaros and a nice wood wheel-and-knob combo, underscoring the fact that this little pickup is built for comfort and utility. With just 15k miles on the renewed package, the seller is looking for top-Caddy dollar, asking $11,400.

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1983 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup

I still miss my first car, a white 1981 VW Rabbit Pickup, and can easily recall the smell, the feel of the golf-ball shifter, and the way it liked to be tossed into corners. It doesn’t surprise me that they (along with what seems to be every funky, cool 80s German car) are slowly rising in value. There are pristine examples out there, both original and restored/modified, but the vast majority are survivors that have experienced some swaps and exploitation of the interchangeability of 1980s VW parts. Mine was certainly such a truck, and today’s 1983 example has been kept alive with a healthy appreciation for the OEM+ school of thought. It’s running a 1983 GTI engine, transmission, Snowflakes, and instrument cluster – nothing crazy, but if you like the GTI, you’ll have just as much fun (if not more) in this little hauler. Mk3 GTI seats are a nice upgrade, and overall the little Caddy looks decent and functional even with some like the bed showing age and use. It definitely makes me nostalgic, but does nostalgia make a piecemeal minitruck worth over five grand?

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1994 Mercedes-Benz 290GD


Many of my G-Wagen posts are centered around finding examples that counter the G-series unfortunate decline into status symbols as overblown as watches with four-inch faces. Today’s brings all the tough with a few bumps and bruises as well as an aftermarket truck bed. With a long wheelbase, 4WD, and bulletproof diesel, this would be an outstanding work truck. It looks pretty rough for being just 20 years old – a mere childhood in a G-wagen’s lifespan. The downsides are a rather optimistic asking price and the fact that it currently resides in Amsterdam. If the seller is serious about getting international interest, he’d do well to provide a bit more information.

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1985 Volkswagen Transporter DoKa


Earlier this week I posted a DoKa of such questionable taste that I would have posted it in our Friday Fail series if the auction had lasted long enough. Well, today we’ll right those wrongs with a Friday Win in the form of a gorgeous but barely-modified DoKa. It comes one owner removed from GoWesty, who, for all my gripes about their ludicrous prices, certainly do things right and take excellent care of Volkswagen vans. This one has been repainted in the Playmobil-perfect and T2-correct light blue with black bedliner on the lower portions as well as the bed and hinged sides. With just 95k miles, it has decades of life left in it. It may be on the utilitarian side of things with no frills inside or out (not even a Euro-map GPS!), but you can bet that the condition and GoWesty history will help it collect some serious interest.

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1989 Volkswagen Transporter DoKa

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Most of the DoKas we see come with a healthy patina and air of “roughing it.” Today’s is more an exercise in German modification, and wouldn’t be out of place carrying some baddies in Run Lola Run. With a redone interior, pickup bed cover, and newish black paint over late-model Jetta wheels, there’s nothing utilitarian about this. The interior does look decent (if you can handle the orange accents), but the GPS system currently only has European maps on it. That kind of caveat seems to be a theme here, making it funny in a very German way.

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1969 Mercedes-Benz Unimog 404


We’ve seen some differing takes on the Unimog recently, including a more modern 90s example and a nice change of color on a white 416. Those were cool, but today’s rings truest to the original inspiration of my Mog love, owned by my childhood best friend’s dad (also owner of an Estoril E36 M3 sedan and a strong collection of Ducatis). When it comes to affordability, even restored versions of the barebones original 404 are way up there when it comes to cool, weird, classic 4x4s. For less money than a brand-new, 2WD, no-option pickup, you could scare every other car off the road. These are certainly a want and not a need, but their impracticality in everyday life (or at least my everyday life) is strongly countered by rather low prices.

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1986 Mercedes-Benz 300GD


Today we have a Geländewagen that covers a lot of ground, and not just in the typical all-terrain beast way. Sure, it can do all the badass stuff, but it’s looking unique and clean with a low-mileage diesel and an amazing interior. Seriously, plaid AND jump seats?! It all looks pristine and the price reflects it. If red is your color and you want to have a little of the GWagen panache without the overwrought AMG details, this is a great choice.

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1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Truck Turbo Diesel

What price would you be willing to pay for perfection? For most people, restoring a car is more a labor of love than a prudent investment. First there’s the massive amount of time that you need to invest to make the car right; presuming it doesn’t have massive body damage or corrosion, even what many would consider only a reasonable paint job will still cost thousands of dollars. Then there are the countless trim items that need to be replaced, seats and carpeting. Do them right and you’re looking at several thousand dollars more. Move to the suspension, brakes and drive line and another few thousand dollars will be gone. At the end, you’ll receive a disproportionately small amount of kudos for the large amount of effort and cash that you’ve infused into your project. But, it’s a labor of love – so it doesn’t matter that no one else appreciates your work, right? That’s why it’s so strange when these projects go up for sale:

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1980 Mercedes-Benz LP809 Firetruck

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I suppose if I were born in Europe, I might think that firetrucks from the US would make cool cars, but that’s not the case. Alas, I’m born and bred in the US and thus think that the variety of trucks utilized over there are all awesome. While I’m usually looking for ones that would easily convert to a unique RV, you’d have to get pretty creative with this one. With the ability to seat 7 up front, however, I’m thinking you could turn one of the equipment bays into some sliding cots. I’m not a burner, but the top deck looks prime for it.

Regardless of your planned use, it’s only covered 20k miles in 34 years. It is commensurately clean, from the classically utilitarian interior to the sweet roll-up sides. I’m not sure what you’d use it for, but the auction is just crawling along, so get creative. As of writing, you could buy it and have it shipped over for less than $10k, making for a pretty sweet anything-truck.

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1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup


Even though I feel very fortunate to have two cars I love, every time a Rabbit Pickup drives by I follow it longingly. It was an amazing first car – different, a blast to drive, moderately useful, and completely hilarious. There are quite a few still out there that could be acquired for decent prices, but the diesels and the really clean examples have begun commanding some severe premiums. Today’s example isn’t quite the modded-out tuner machine like a few that I’ve written up here, but it’s not an all-original example either. It sits as a nice in-between, with an attractive, low stance and awesome, plus-sized Snowflake wheels. The only other modifications are a duckbill front spoiler and trimmed bumper mounts, creating a subtly unique look that is more of an exaggeration of the original car rather than a revamp. The real story here is that it’s covered less than 100k miles and shows it, with the white exterior clean and the VERY RED interior in great shape.

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