Saturday, August 1, 2009

Weekend Quickies

1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup - This is one of those "what could have been" vehicles.

We love pickup trucks in the US. Big ones, small ones, it doesn't matter, we seem to buy them all. Subaru figured that out and introduced the funky looking BRAT in 1978. It was Subaru's take on the El Camino / Ranchero. Even though it wasn't really practical to use as a working pickup truck, we bought tons of them.

Volkswagen saw that and introduced the Rabbit Pickup Truck (Which was called the Caddy in Europe). It was the first vehicle built at VW's Pennsylvania factory.

While the Subaru looked somewhat sporty and was available with 4WD, the Rabbit Pickup looked like a Rabbit with the back end lopped off and was only available with FWD and a very slow, very noisy, diesel. It's always been my opinion that had VW introduced this vehicle with a GTI engine and suspension in it, they would have had a huge seller on their hands.

Many of these trucks eventually did wind up with gasoline engines in them. You can find all sorts of modified VW Pickups online. Some are done really, really well.

This vehicle is unique in that it's been restored to its original state, complete with the diesel engine. It appears to be in very nice shape. In today's world a diesel is not a bad thing to have if you're not in a hurry. The seller claims to get 55 to 60 MPG. That may be a slight exaggeration, but it's probably not far from the truth.

Ditch the cap, throw on a nice set of GTI rims and you'll have an unusual, nice looking vehicle. Just don't expect to win any races in it.

Located in Granby, Massachusetts, click here to see the Craigslist listing.

1991 Peugeot 405 Mi16 - It's not my intention to turn this blog into some sort French automotive blog, it's just that lately some nice / interesting French cars have found their way to the internet. Here's another one.

This 405 Mi16 has just 68,000 miles on it and appears to be in very nice condition. I suspect it's going to sell for top dollar.

Click here to see the eBay listing for this car.

The seller has an online photo album with more pictures of the car. You can find it here.

1965 Corvair Corsa with Crown V8 Conversion - I owned several Corvairs many years ago. During that time I would go to the local CORSA (Corvair Society of America) meets. There were a few Crown Corv-8s that would do the autocross. They blew everything else there into the weeds.

I'm not a big fan of engine swaps, especially ones as radical as this, but these cars are insanely fast and handled incredibly well. This is not a "lets drop a V8 in a small car and see what happens" type of engine swap. The Crown V8 kit came with the proper suspension mods and even interior pieces to cover the pieces of drivetrain that wound up in the interior. The Crown kit was done right.

I don't know that I'd buy one now, even if I had the room for another car, but seeing this brought back some great memories.

Owned by the same person for the past 30 years, the car is located in Arlington, MA. Click here to see the Craigslist listing for this Crown Corv-8.

You can find an article on the Crown conversion here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On the VW pickup: I had two of them, a 1980 and a 1982. The 80 had a 4-speed and the 82 had the 5-speed. No exageration on the fuel economy. I never got under 38 and, averaged 44 and often got 52 with the 5-speed truck. Without any "hyper-miling" tricks. The problem wasn't top speed, they could belt right along, it was the acceleration. You had to make up for it by never slowing down, it took too much time to regain your speed. So you became a Practicing Momentumist. Slingshot passes, early downshifts (the 82 wouldn't hold top gear up hill at 55, so you had to really wind it up and then slowly bleed off the speed as you climbed the grades on the New York State Thruway.) Biggest problems: They rusted like crazy. The design was too restricted. No frame meant you couldn't put a toolside chassis, 4-wheel drive setup, or a camper on it. Based on the 4-door, the cab was...let's say "snug". But dead reliable. Super durable. Always started. 750 miles + on a tankful of fuel. (15 gallon, plus about another 1.5 gallons in the fill pipe!) I wish I could buy a brand new one today....