Volkswagen Made a Compact Truck, and Then Someone Stretched One!
Volkswagen used to build a pickup truck version of its Rabbit. It was a nifty little FWD compact, and actually the vehicle I learned to drive stick in. Recently, someone got hold of a Volkswagen Rabbit pickup truck (or more likely a pair of them) and built a four-door, long-bed version. So is this VW Rabbit pickup a midsize truck now? Check it out and decide for yourself.
The Volkswagen Rabbit pickup truck was an efficient compact
Volkswagen introduced a pickup version of its Rabbit in 1979 and sold it through the 1984 model year. If you ordered this compact FWD truck with the 1.6-liter diesel engine and 5-speed manual, it got an EPA estimated 41 mpg in stop-go driving. On the highway, that went up to an incredible 54 mpg.
With just 52 horsepower (diesel) and 78 horsepower (gasoline), the VW Rabbit pickup truck wasn’t doing any heavy-duty hauling or towing. And it certainly wasn’t winning any drag races. But it is still an efficient and cost-effective around-town truck that can fit into parking spaces some cars can’t.
Someone stretched a VW Rabbit pickup truck
The Cars & Bids website recently listed a VW Rabbit pickup truck, a relatively rare vehicle on a normal day. What’s more, this Rabbit is a four-door model. There’s only one problem with this: VW never built a four-door Rabbit pickup truck.
In this case, it appears someone has taken a pair of Volkswagen pickups and cut and welded them into a tasteful four-door, long-bed Rabbit truck.
What we do know is that the truck with this VIN was registered in Texas until 2020. That explains why this Rabbit doesn’t have Vermont levels of rust–despite the Vermont plates. We also know that Texas issues the truck’s first salvage title back in 1991. So it may have crashed, making it a great candidate for this modification.
The seller reported buying the stretched Rabbit in October of 2021, then driving it for 10,000 miles. Even more fascinating, someone in the comments believes they saw this truck yearly at a car show…in Georgia. This little Rabbit sure hops around.
Would you drive a “midsize” Volkswagen Rabbit pickup truck?
Part of the charm of a VW Rabbit pickup truck is its small size and efficient powertrain. This Rabbit is essentially two trucks merged into one, so it must weigh much more than stock. One major downside I see to this build is that it’s still powered by the original diesel engine and five-speed manual transmission.
This heavy Rabbit wouldn’t be too bad to drive–if you don’t mind shifting often. It looks like the seller did have to shift often; they claim they just replaced the clutch. They also did the drive axle and tie rods.
I honestly wish they’d done an engine swap while they were in there: its relatively common to upgrade these old Rabbits with newer VW Golf turbo engines to double the power. That would make this a much more compelling midsize truck.
This little Rabbit is coming up on its second restoration for several reasons. It has a crack in the windshield, scratches, chips and scuffs, a dented tailgate, upholstery wear, and rust on both the bed and underbody. It was bid up to $8,000 but not sold. Maybe someone will buy it, repower it, and fix it up a bit. They could easily end up with one of the most unique–and functional–VW Rabbit pickup trucks around.
You can see a walkaround of this modified VW Rabbit truck in the video below: