RustyButTrusty On The Street – Oakland VW Edition

The streets of Oakland and Berkeley share the same variety of obscure cars found in San Francisco, if not more so. The mixture of college professors and students, immigrants from all over the world, and people of diverse political leanings mean you can sell a few of anything there. And that’s how you can see, say, a Lotus Europa, first-generation Mazda 626 coupe, and Subaru DL liftback coupe on the way in to work. While VWs are still relatively mainstream cars, the attrition rate of disposable cars means that many have disappeared from the road. And that brings us to today’s cars.


It’s getting so rare to see any surviving VW Rabbits in decent shape, especially gas-powered versions. But this one is fully kitted out for family duty, with 4 doors and a child booster seat in the rear. Non-child features include mesh wheels on the rear, slim European chrome bumpers, and dual round headlights. The round headlights suggest this is a pre-Westmoreland car, and it is a post-swallowtail car, which puts it between 1976 and 1978. Blue/yellow California plates suggest it’s been here since new. It’s not obvious why the car has larger Mark 3 Golf wheels on the front – in the world of slammed Civics, this usually suggests it’s been modified for drag racing, but in this case, an automatic-transmission Rabbit is hardly a likely candidate for that.


Type 2 buses and campers are still a relatively common sight on both sides of the San Francisco Bay bridge. This one is clearly still in regular use, with a whole bunch of stuff piled inside. Rising values of these vans suggest that this one, even with its dented nose and oxidized paint, is still worth $5000-7000! What’s a rare VW where you live? In other parts of the country, it’s not unusual to see a Mark 3 Golf with rusted out hatch and sills.


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