In some markets VW called their Golf/Rabbit-based pickup the Caddy. Today, Nice Price or Crack Pipe tees up a GTI-infused version of the little trucklet, but will its price prove a hole in one for you?
Fragile, presumptively ricerific, and possibly suffering from the notorious ‘crank walk' issue, yesterday's '99 Mitsubishi Eclipse ended up doing the perp walk to the tune of a 80% Crack Pipe loss. While the DSM's issue with wayward crank transit was pretty much history by the time this car rolled out the Normal factory, the nearly twelve grand price wasn't allaying anyone's reservations about having the Eclipse blot out the sun over their driveway.
Today, coming in at almost a third the cost of yesterday's Illinois Asian, is a truck from the Pennsylvania Deutsch. The Rabbit Pickup - or Caddy to much of the rest of the world - was built for U.S. consumption at VW's Westmoreland PA assembly plant. As such, it sported what Volkswagen thought Americans looked for in car styling, and what everyone else thought was a crappy re-do to the clean Giugiaro-design of the original.
This 1982 VW Sport Truck hails from the last year of truck production at the Pennsylvania plant, and maintains the square headlight, big bumpered looks that make the car appear more like a bulldog than a Rabbit.
The best selling car for much the late seventies and early eighties was the Olds Cutlass (suck it, GM) and VW attempted to emulate that brand's boudoir-esque interior in the Rabbit with a massive plank of woodgrain plastic for the dash, and quilted seats. That dash remains here, and in fact has taken on an even more mystifying Rubik's Cube nature of its own with each individual piece either fading to a different shade, or having been replaced with a piece from a contrasting-color car. Un-cathousing this Sport Truck's cab however are seats that are claimed to be Recaros from a Corrado - in yet another color - and a headliner that has been totally removed because it was falling down- although I suspect it too was had been a clashing hue.
Between those Recaros sprouts a stand-up shifter atop which resides a fat, round ball. It's not whiffled however, which is a shame because that shifter is connected to a GTI's five-speed gearbox. That gearbox is bolted to a GTI's 1,781-cc four. The throttle of the GTI motor is connected to a cable, and that cable ends at a pedal under the driver's right foot. Give a stab to that pedal and instead of cracking the whip to 65 horses you now have 90-plus at your disposal. Can I get a Gawd-DaYUM!? The reason behind the plus is that while the original 1.8 GTI motor had a solid 90, the seller claims this car has a G-grind cam, which is a good round-town mod, and is reasonably worth a few ponies more. The motor itself looks like the rust fairy took an enormous dump on it, but that's probably more cosmetic than anything else. As long as it starts clean and runs quick, just close the hood and try not to think about what it looks like.
In addition to the go-faster hardware out of a GTI, this pickup has, along the way, picked up a set of larger brakes off a Scirocco and some steelies big enough to keep those brakes from rubbing the inside of the tires.
The body appears to be reasonably straight, although this being a Wisconsin car, there is some road rot with which to deal, even if the seller claims it's nothing serious. The tailgate looks pretty serious - seriously fugly that is. He says the original one has a broken latch and that's why he's got the Valtrex ad on the car now. Overall, the truck could use some prep and prime and then a good coat of new paint, but none of that would send you to the poor house.
With a $3,600 asking price, buying this GTI-powered pickup probably wouldn't send you to the pauper's palace either. But what do you think about $3,600 for this quick Caddy, is that price a perfect chip shot? Or, does it make you think the seller needs to take a mulligan?