RAD Rabbit: 1982 Volkswagen Golf Caddy GTI Swap – SOLD!

Sep 2020 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Truckin Tuesday

Update – we confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Not everyone is into classic, full-size V8-powered pickups like the F100 and GMC Sierra we’re also featuring today.  There are other enthusiasts who prefer the look of early eighties Volkswagen Rabbit pickups.  They are a nice size that fits into standard size garages and the number of aftermarket parts available for these can have you take it from mild to wild. One of the more popular engine swaps is to drop in a Golf GTi powertrain and a prime example is this very orange 1982 VW Caddy originally listed on Craigslist during the fall of 2020 in Paradise, Pennsylvania where the current caretaker has it listed for $8,000.   Unfortunately, neither Hagerty Insurance nor Collector Car Market Review provides pricing estimates for these Rabbit UTEs.  Even worse, the NADA Guides Collector Car Valuation Tool as yet does not reflect the popularity of these mini trucks as the asking price is well above the current “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range of $1,250, $1,850, and $2,575, respectively.

Volkswagen produced Rabbit pickups in its stillborn Westmoreland, Pennsylvania assembly plant from 1978 to 1984 with two engine choices:  a 1.7 Liter gas engine or the 1.6 Liter diesel power plant featured in this example.  Connected to a five-speed manual transmission, the fifth overdrive gear was uniquely labeled “E” rather than the traditional “5.”  Outside of the U.S. Volkswagen branded Rabbit pickups as the VW Caddy but over the years enthusiasts in the U.S. picked up on the nickname as well.

We came across this Volkswagen commercial introducing the 1979 Rabbit pickup with several interesting technology comparisons:

We like the RAD look of this custom Rabbit truck.  About the only thing that gives us pause is the amount of custom wiring under the hood that may be hard to troubleshoot down the road.  Otherwise, we’d love to see the next caretaker add an air ride suspension to this Rabbit to get it low to the ground. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1.8L engine with close ratio 5 speed from a Gti
Engine is not original, so mileage is unknown. The odometer does not work.
Transmission rebuilt 2013, less than 5000 miles on it.
Upgraded 2.0 oil pump for better pressure
Weber carb and intake
Race line adjustable coil overs
Rear Air shocks with compressor (rear axel is flipped) It is currently set high, can easily be lowered several inches!
Polyurethane bushings on most suspension
New axel half shafts
Front : EBC vented rotors with Green Stuff Ceramic pads (calipers, hoses, and master cylinder are also new)
Rear : cylinders replaced, shoes are 95% (have brand new ones that will come with truck)
15 inch Enkei gold rims with Hankook Ventus V2 tires (195/50R15)
Exhaust is newer from flex plate to back (exhaust is pretty quiet unless you get on it!) This truck has been garage kept and is really great condition. The struts are perfect and there is very, very little rust anywhere else. She is a sweet little ride!

What would you do to make this Rabbit Caddy your own?  Comment below and let us know!


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