Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet – 1978 VW Rabbit C

Seems I’m always looking to recreate the past or something – yesterday afternoon, while digging through listings for a completely different car, I stumbled upon a car from my past. Ordinarily, I would curse the advertiser for using misleading keywords on their listing, but in this case, it’s a 1978 VW Rabbit C, which is very close to the 1980 VW Rabbit L on which I learned to drive. In a way, it’s quite surprising how rare these have become, given their historical significance. However, they were cheap drivers for most people (including my parents), so most rusted to pieces or cost more to repair than they were worth. Fortunately, that fate didn’t befall this car, a 1978 model in the most basic “C” trim level, available in Tacoma, WA for $2000.

1978 VW Rabbit right front

For the price, it seems to be in pretty amazing shape. However, the seller mentions it has some rust, and there is a dent along the right side. While it looks like a paintless dent removal service could handle this, it might just be the tip of the iceberg. It’s also had your standard – so common it’s no longer novel or interesting – vee-dubber lowering treatment. At this point, they’re starting to look better with the high-up stance they originally had. On the plus side, this car seems to have avoided the curse of being built at Westmoreland, PA, so it gets round headlights and a less squishy interior, among other things.

1978 VW Rabbit left rear

The rear also looks pretty solid, so the rust must just be bubbling. Of course, the seller offers no rocker or underbody shots, so that may be where the nasties are hiding. What a nice simple design, though: no embellishments and crazy lines going all over the car, just a simple boxy shape. The steel wheels with small center caps are also nice – that dull grey may even be the correct original color for the wheels. And for a car this age, 151,000 miles can be considered low, but not so low you’ll start questioning whether it’s true.

1978 VW Rabbit engine

Wow, there is so little in that engine compartment. In fact, it appears there is no smog equipment on this engine, so Californians will have to do some homework before making a purchase. Perhaps there’s an air pump somewhere in there. Apparently, the car runs a little rough on start-up, so expect some work to get it running properly. The strut bar is a nice addition – this model may be subject to structural issues in its old age.

1978 VW Rabbit dash

Not much to see of the interior, so assume the worst – drooping headliner and torn seats. That dash is in pretty nice shape, though. Base models only got a speedometer and some idiot lights, and this one has a functional factory radio. That hideous Porsche 924 wheel needs to be replaced by the original one or something a bit sportier.

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2 Responses to “Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet – 1978 VW Rabbit C”

  1. Hines Says:

    Thanks for the write up on my car I was surprised when a guy came and looked at it today and said he google searched 78 rabbit and your post came up. Sorry about the steering wheel

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