Sometimes, the goal is to do what the others do, but with better bang for your buck. A couple of weeks back, one of the other car blogs (what, there are others?) featured a stretched VW Rabbit pickup in unfinished project condition for a whopping $7500. At RustyButTrusty, it’s time to challenge the notion a rather obscure pickup with questionable build quality (both from the Westmoreland, PA factory and the conversion) should cost as much, as, hmmm… a pretty nice driver BMW 2002. So here we have a rather obscure pickup with questionable factory and post-conversion build quality for the price of, erm, a project BMW 2002. Check out this 1982 VW Rabbit pickup XtraCab conversion, for sale for $2650 in Olympia, WA.
Perhaps inspired by one too many cans of the city’s namesake beer (“It’s the water” was their slogan – you’d think they’d want their slogan to be “It’s the beer”, though water may have been a more truthful description), this pickup is the combination of a 2-door Rabbit and a pickup bed, completed some time in the 1990s. This first picture doesn’t look too bad – 1980s-correct two-tone paint job, though missing a grill and with a very protuberant bumper that’s probably from a late Cabriolet. Things look pretty straight here – would you retrofit the original 1982 bumpers for a pseudo-factory look, or do the full Cabby front end conversion with dual round headlights?
Since the entire front of the vehicle is from a standard Rabbit, completing the interior should mostly be straightforward. Would it be enough to install rear interior door cards from the donor Rabbit, and then finish the a-pillars and headliner properly in stock-color vinyl? It does appear that the rear seats (sourced from a second-generation Jetta) are further back than the stock placement, so perhaps the stock carpet kit won’t fit, in which case you’ll need a bit more creativity to create something that doesn’t look crappy.
The car was stored for 15 years, and the seller had plans to put it back on the road. The car benefits from new filters and oil, and seems to run strongly, but hasn’t gone much further than the local neighborhood since it needs brake repairs. It does include parts to convert to rear disc brakes, and has a new battery and starter. Lights and HVAC fan appear to work well, and the car actually is equipped with air conditioning, though it’s likely in need of attention after so much time.
The car is said to have been “seamed together” nicely, and then fiberglassed over and painted. You’ll definitely want to carefully inspect the joins here, lest your experience be similar to the Top Gear presenters with their extended Fiat Panda and MGF. As some of the lines don’t look quite straight, you’ll want to measure carefully – is that just a trick because of the sloping rear passenger window? Okay, so this extended Caddy doesn’t have 4 doors like the other one, but what would you do with $4850 in change?