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Autotrader Find: Pristine 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup

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author photo by Doug DeMuro May 2018

Here's a 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit pickup, which, I can only assume, is in better shape than every other 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit pickup on earth. It's currently offered by Curran Volkswagen in Stratford, Connecticut, for $12,995 -- and that's a pretty good deal for what I really believe might be the last decent surviving example of this vehicle.

Before I get into the specifics of this exact pickup, let's discuss the Volkswagen Rabbit pickup in general. At the time, Volkswagen was making its Rabbit hatchback (called the Golf elsewhere), and they decided to see what other derivatives of the hatchback could be made. Since the Chevy El Camino and Ford Ranchero were pretty popular in North America, it was decided that they'd build a pickup version.

And so they did. Dubbed the Rabbit Pickup in North America (and the "Golf Caddy" elsewhere), the truck was built at Volkswagen's plant in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, which avoided the famous "Chicken Tax" on imported trucks. There was no pretense of serious utility: The Rabbit Pickup was only offered with front-wheel drive, and you could only get it with a 1.6-liter diesel engine or a 1.7-liter gasoline engine, neither of which made anything close to 100 horsepower.

Obviously, this truck didn't sell very well -- and the examples that did were usually well worn. This is an unusually well-preserved Rabbit Pickup, with just 90,000 miles and a well-kept interior and exterior. According to the Carfax report, it was sold new in New York but moved to Connecticut in 1996, where it's been serviced at Curran Volkswagen.

Now you can own this unusual piece of Volkswagen history.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Autotrader Find: Pristine 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup - Autotrader