One-Grand Dubs – 1980 VW Rabbit Pickup and 1988 VW Quantum Syncro Wagon

Two grand too much for your collector car? Well, that’s where VW comes in – it’s the car for Volks like you. Once you get this close to the 3-digit range, things start getting a little doubtful. You start forgoing some systems you’d normally expect to work, or being much more accepting of cosmetic issues. And really, who needs a heater, or electric windows that go up *and* down? Just make sure to steam clean the interior if there are any suspicious smells or spots! First up is this 1980 VW Rabbit Pickup for sale for $1000 in Puyallup, WA.

1980 VW Caddy right side

This is one of the Westmoreland, PA-built trucks, before they were even building them in Europe. This truck is in the all-too-common beige color that was popular with VW in the early 1980s, and is amazingly free of major body damage. The seller concedes there are small nicks, dents, and rust spots, and the front bumper is homemade, while the rear is missing, but overall it looks quite decent for a 34-year-old light commercial vehicle.

1980 VW Caddy interior

Even the interior, while not immaculate, looks to be intact and in acceptable shape. By modern standards (heck, compared to some other 1980s cars) these feel somewhat narrow and very vibratey, but their light weight makes them fun to drive. The car is said to have sporadically functioning lights and wipers – the seller includes a light switch, but what this might suggest is the windshield leaking on the fuse box, causing a wet/bad connection. The engine is the typical early-smog-days snake’s nest of wiring, tubing, and piping, but also looks tidy enough for a car in this price range. Notice the two-bar Westmoreland-VW-specific grill, which is rather unusual since it only shows up on 1980 Rabbits – most of these are equipped with a black plastic grid-pattern piece.

1980 VW Caddy engine

What if you want to carry the same amount of junk, but without having it exposed to the elements? And what if you need fractionally more power (who doesn’t!), Audi-sourced all-wheel drive, and GTI styling cues? Look no further than this 1988 VW Quantum Syncro wagon for sale for $1000 in Everett, WA.

1988 VW Quantum Syncro right front

Not bad, eh? The red paint and sloping hatch give it a bit of a sporting feel, and while these originally came with mark 1 GTI snowflake-style wheels, this one is equipped with mark 3 GTI/Cabrio wheels. Now, in line with the idea of giving up some systems you’d normally take for granted, this one has no functional fuel system. The seller ran the car out of fuel, and the car is refusing to restart. What seems likely is that the fuel pump was fried, either through not being cooled by the fuel supply, or by deposits from the bottom of the tank. So a new fuel pump and a bottle of fuel system cleaner are probably in order, and you have to hope the injectors aren’t blocked or damaged.

1988 VW Quantum Syncro interior

This is kind of a useless photo of the interior, although you can see the GTI wheel and (sweet!) a manual transmission. Oh, and don’t forget the cassette holder, completely useless since the car’s been upgraded with a CD player. Perhaps you can upgrade to the CD holder too. Are the seats torn? Is the dash cracked? Was it bright outside? The answer to at least one of those questions is an emphatic “yes”.

1988 VW Quantum Syncro engine

More power than any other VW (except perhaps the 16 valve GTI) – the world was yours with this car. You could probably give some unsuspecting Audi 5000s a run for their money. It looks like there should be a shroud between that oddly-placed radiator and the front grill – if cooling is an issue, you may have to fabricate one, since early 1980s VW plastic was not known for longevity. Can you pick this car up and get it on the road for just over a grand?


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2 Responses to “One-Grand Dubs – 1980 VW Rabbit Pickup and 1988 VW Quantum Syncro Wagon”

  1. Milo Says:

    The radiator shroud is actually made of cardboard. No idea if they’re still available from VW, but the ones for a VW Fox are so you never know.

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