Schwalbenschwanz – 1975 VW Rabbit “Swallowtail”

Well, in a strange coincidence, two of the most enduring cars of my childhood are showing up here. We already had a pair of Saab 99s, and now there’s a great VW Rabbit just itching to be featured. Introduced to North America not long after it came out in Europe, it was revolutionary as the first modern front-wheel-drive economy hatchback to be tremendously successful. And the first Rabbits in North America had a unique, if unremarkable design feature the later cars didn’t, known as the swallow tail (Schwalbenschwanz is the literal German translation). You can see it below on this Phoenix red Rabbit on VW Vortex for $2000 in Washington state.

1975 Volkswagen Rabbit rear

It really looks pretty good – many early Rabbits have succumbed to rust. This might have a little around the rear glass, or perhaps that’s just silicone sealant. Oh, and the swallowtail is the little descending crease from the reverse lights going towards the license plate. There’s some surface rust on the chromed bumper, and some light rusting (or is it dirt?) at the bottom of the hatch. Looks like there’s a crack in the windshield.

1975 Volkswagen Rabbit left

According to the seller, the car is pretty original and doesn’t have rust in the typical weak spots. It has a little at the bottom of the door, possibly in the rockers, and there’s a dent at the rear that’s taken a chunk out of the side marker light. It’s also missing its rear-view mirror, but other than that it looks largely intact – really nice for a 38-year-old econobox.

1975 Volkswagen Rabbit front

Here’s a front view, and the car looks pretty straight. Only a hint of rust is visible around the windshield, and the mirror on this side is missing too, but other than that it’s a very solid start. Mechanically, it runs and drives, but the brakes need work. The original engine and transmission will likely need some revival as with all off-the-road cars, and the interior is said to be rough, if mostly complete.

1975 Volkswagen Rabbit right

The passenger side looks better than the driver’s, with even less rust (or dirt). The seller says there are also a couple of minor holes in the floorpan, and there have been some questionable fuel and electrical system upgrades under the hood. Considering their success when new, they are a lot rarer now than many cars that sold in smaller numbers. With that, this is a great car to fix up and run as a nimble little oddball in your local rally scene.

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One Response to “Schwalbenschwanz – 1975 VW Rabbit “Swallowtail””

  1. Dennis Fio Says:

    Interested at 500$

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