aka Caddy: 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup

The Rabbit Pickup was developed by Volkswagen as part of a line of “leisure activity vehicles” known as the VW Caddy in Europe. It was based on the Golf Mk1 and first released in 1979. VW of America wanted in on the action and production of the Rabbit pickup would commence at VW’s assembly plant in Pennsylvania where variations would be built through 1984. This 1982 edition is a one-owner vehicle that’s said to have only 13,000 miles on the clock. The downside may be that the title is missing. It’s located in Santa Cruz, New Mexico and available here on craigslist for $22,000 (wow!). Hats off to Ian C for bringing this one to our attention.

The Caddy nameplate was never used in the U.S. The Rabbit pickup in the States came with either a 1.6-liter diesel engine or a 1.7-liter fueled by gasoline (the seller says this one uses gas). With front-wheel drive, it competed with other compact pickups like the Ford Courier, Datsun Truck, Toyota Hilux and Subaru BRAT. Because of the seller’s low reported mileage and the mention of many new parts having been installed, we’re going to assume this vehicle has been off the road for quite some time.

But if it has been inactive, that hasn’t negatively impacted the body or interior. The sheet metal, paint and chrome all look in good condition and the truck bed doesn’t look like it’s hauled much of anything given a lack of scratches or rust. We don’t see much of the interior, but what we do see looks like it was gently used. So apparently this is a truck with a great deal of life left in it.

These little trucks aren’t littering the internet with for-sale signs. One in a similar condition recently sold in North Carolina for half the asking price on this one and the last time we covered one of these pickups, the bidding wasn’t running too high. Without a title, the seller may have to rethink his pricing strategy.

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  1. swm

    Have not seen one of these in a long, long time. And the last ones I did see always seemed to be humpbacked – sagging in the middle.

    Like 2
  2. JBD

    Rare little truck. A truck with this low of miles has most likely been sitting. Oil leaks, coolant and all lines would most likely need replaced and redone.

    Like 2
    • Keith

      A little naive of me. Just got a 1977 car with 44K miles, and am wondering if I should have lines replaced / redone ? She seems to run well. Happy Easter everyone

  3. Steve R

    You are right, it’s one thing to sell a $1,000 car that’s missing it’s title, but is inexcusable for a car with an asking price of $22,000. If a seller wants a big payday, they need to do the work to justify it.

    Steve R

    Like 24
  4. Jake8687 Member

    Holy unicorn Batman! Yes, Robin. But the Joker has set his greedy eyes on a handsome sum

    Like 11
  5. erik johnston

    If its a 1 owner the seller should be able to apply for a lost title and get a replacment easly. This looks to be very nice,but not 22k thats crazy!!

    Like 12
    • Lou

      And since they have not done so, I am VERY suspicious of the situation. I’m not even sure how one “buys” a document-required item (vehicle, real estate, etc.) without the document. How do you register the item in the buyers name if the seller can’t demonstrate that they owned it with the right to sell it? Yes, I know it’s possible to have a title issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, but I’d expect the seller to have done that. Who would pay $22,000 for a forty year old vehicle knowing they would then have to go through the grief and risk of “maybe” convincing a judge of your ownership? Yikes!

  6. alphasud Member

    22k is not gonna happen. This is a low mileage truck without a doubt. Look at the picture showing the interior. Also in the picture is the door strike pin. It still has the plastic bushing on the pin. That the first thing to wear out and when I worked on these. I replaced them left and right. The upgraded pin had a white nylon bushing. I don’t get the missing title. Pure lazy of the seller not to obtain a title unless their are issues and now you have a seller who is not trustworthy and is trying to pawn this off on a out of state buyer who won’t be able to title. However there are a few states that don’t require titles on old cars. New Hampshire being one.

    Like 7
  7. Rod Plapp

    Pretty nice looking $1,500 truck.Hauls maybe 700 Lbs max and you would not want to be in an accident with one of these.Not really in the same league as a Toyota truck.

  8. Wayne

    I have the diesel twin to this vehicle. (1981 however) Mine has no rust AND a matching camper shell. I wish mine was the low mileage example though. And yes the word door striker pin makes it a rattle trap to drive. (Dual/Stereo rattles from both doors) Other than that it still drives quite nicely albeit slowly. 45-48 MPG around town. And 38 MPG on the road.(75-80 MPH speeds)
    I will have to post it for sale soon as I have too many vehicles right now.

    Like 2
    • JMB#7

      Your vehicle may not have the low miles, but you enjoyed putting miles on it. Great little “trucks” and the diesel adds to the utilitarian appeal. I do see a few around on the road in the greater Cincinnati area which is amazing that they have escaped the tin worm. Some are near stock, and others are lowered & customized (but seldom finished). My brother in law had two of the Rabbit diesels, reliable, and remarkable fuel economy for the day.

  9. Mark

    I had a diesel rabbit for a work car 10 yrs ago. Without question it was the slowest car I have over owned. Rattled and queaked… It felt like I would pull the door off when pulling the door shut. I would never want any of my loved ones riding in one of these.

  10. Jay Souza

    Bought one of these new. What a disappointment. they were very under powered. Had to get a running start to get over a hill and it was wound tight in the lower gear. And as a final straw it blew the head gasket. After talking to others with this mode at the time, they also experienced the same. Stay away from this even at half of the asking price

    Like 1
    • alphasud Member

      You are talking about the Diesel engine not the 1.7 gasser which will run for 300K with oil changes. VW had head gasket issues until the 82 models when at that time they went to larger torque to yield bolts. After that if you kept a timing belt on them and treated the engine to a new pass side mount they were still underpowered but pleasant to drive. My brother got a 81 diesel when he was in high school it was later passed to my sister who drove it through college. I did the maintenance since I was working on VW’s at the Indy and it never left her sit always started in the coldest North PA weather and returned 50mpg. You give up new creature comforts and horsepower but few cars can match. The Prius being one.

      Like 3
  11. Irishwhisky

    My dad had the diesel version
    0-60 was measured with a sundial

    Like 3
  12. Kenn

    Probably stolen, hence no title by the “original owner”.

    Like 1
  13. J N Dwyer

    We had a gas-powered Rabbit from the same era – it was a 1984, first new car we ever bought – and it always felt pretty quick to me.

    Had to have a car at the time, as our first child had been born, so no small-cab truck for me then, but the VW truck embedded the car/truck idea in my little brain, and that itch was satisfied about 27 years later (!) when I bought a used 2007 Honda Ridgeline. Now on my second RL, a 2019 – so comfortable and useful for my needs.

  14. chrlsful

    would not mind it as daily. Like the frnt wheel drive, MPGs, utility, size. Neighbor has 4 or 5 – only 1 diesel, only 1 w/topper. He’s thinkin’ a fleet for his house (6, 8 ppl).

  15. lance

    I have seen a bunch of these parked permanently they rust out badly when they go ! And in the structural areas and the rear ! Very sad because they actually have a decent amount of power for what they are! Especially the diesel ones!

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