1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup “Caddy” – Project Introduction

Hey everyone, Greg here.

I’d like to introduce the next major project on my shoulders following the Mk.4 Jetta this past summer. We are going to dig into my 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup, or Caddy as they are called in Europe.

I guess we should begin with the back story on this truck. I received this truck from a good friend and VW guru of mine for free. The truck was in such bad condition that it was not even really worth scrap value, however I did give my friend some money for some other parts I got from him for the truck build. He had bought two and a half rabbit trucks for less than $500 so he kept the better one for himself (which is nearing completion now) and so he did not mind giving me the other one. It was almost two years ago that I first brought the truck home and it sat out back in my car collection until just a few weeks ago where we dragged it out of the snow bank and began the long journey of restoring this truck. The truck is in really, really rough condition. It is going to require an extensive amount of metal refabricating and a lot of body work to make it presentable. It had a massive dent on the passenger side when I got it, so our first task after digging it out was to attempt to straighten the dent, at least enough to ensure that the passenger door frame was square, straight and in the correct position before we move forward. That work will be subject to the next and first proper video on this project.

The plan with this truck is to cut the whole front end off and weld a front end from another car onto the truck which will reduce the amount of fabrication needed on the front end by a lot, as the shock towers are basically non-existent at the moment. Once the front half of the truck is strong we can dump the 1.9L AAZ Turbo Diesel engine in which will make the truck mobile finally as we continue to work on the back half of the truck. For the rear, we will have to fabricate an entirely new frame (unibody) and box floor as well as some rear wheel well sections and we will use images and dimensions from the friend’s caddy to make sure mine is as close to correct as possible. After the long road of metal fabrication is nearing completion I plan to make a solid wood tailgate with emblem routering and a nice lacquer finish.

This project will be a long and rather interesting one, so stay tuned!