The pickup-truck version of the Volkswagen Rabbit might seem like a terrible idea nowadays, but these things actually turned out to be pretty useful in the real world. You couldn’t haul 1,500 pounds of hog entrails in one, but you couldn’t do that in a Luv, Courier, or 620 either.
It’s just weird seeing VOLKSWAGEN on a pickup tailgate! I was surprised to see this reasonably solid-looking example in a Denver self-service junkyard last week, because the Mk1 Rabbit fanatics worship these things and rescue far rustier ones for their fleets. Maybe that’s just a California thing?
With a mere 62 horsepower, the Rabbit pickup for 1980 wasn’t exactly what you’d call quick (though it wasn’t quite as miserable as you’d expect, due to its sub-ton weight), but you had to plan ahead at freeway onramps. The 48-horse diesel, on the other hand, made for a terrifyingly underpowered vehicle; I took my driver training classes in a dual-control Diesel Rabbit and I still get the shakes thinking about taking that thing on the Nimitz Freeway.
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