1981 Volkswagen Caddy Sportruck with Turbo Diesel Swap

Price: US $7,500.00 Item location: St. George, Utah, United States
  • Condition: Used
  • Make: Volkswagen
  • Model: Rabbit
  • Type: Standard Cab Pickup
  • Year: 1981
  • Mileage: 230,000
  • VIN: 1V1MB0173BV205862
  • Color: Gray
  • Engine size: 1.6TD
  • Number of cylinders: 4
  • Fuel: Diesel
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Drive type: FWD
  • Interior color: Tan
  • Options: Cassette Player
  • Vehicle Title: Clear
  • Want to buy? Contact seller!

1981 Volkswagen Rabbit

Selling my 1981 Volkswagen Caddy Sportruck. Extremely rare and extremely well documented. I love this truck and have taken the best care of it possible. I am a volkswagen enthusiast and when I saw this truck I payed top dollar for it. Sportrucks are very hard to find in this condition.
Pictures were taken while the car was wet, I washed it and it started raining so I took them anyway. The pictures of the clear coat damage on the hood and roof were dry and show the worst of the paint issues. Also the grille emblem is not included in the sale.
Caddy's had chronic rust around the strut towers, this truck is very clean. I haven't been able to find any real rust except for the tailgate. The tailgate is not original to the truck, unfortunately mine which was in perfect condition was backed into in a parking lot. It did not damage anything on the rest of the vehicle thank goodness but the tailgate was unsalvageable. The one on the vehicle was the only original paint tailgate that I could find. This truck from all of my research is all original paint. It had a small accident on the passengers rear which was repaired in the mid 80's. Rockers are in exceptional condition as well as everything else on the vehicle. The passengers door is dented slightly as you can see in the pictures. The bed is waffled as many of them are. They were not designed to carry heavy weight so the area in between the support beams sagged which this truck has. The original sportruck stickers had been removed by the previous owner so when I added the stickers back on I elected to go with black, which I believe looks much better on the Slate Gray paint. I have not installed the sticker on the passenger rear yet as you can see in the pictures but I will before end of auction. It is a very time intensive process and is easier when the sun is out to soften the sticker material so I've been waiting for a sunny Saturday to finish it. Also the truck does have a front bumper, the bumper is in great condition as well.
I pulled the stock 1.7l out of the car and opted for a 1.6 turbo Diesel swap. The engine came from a 1987 Jetta. I wanted a fully mechanical diesel which is why I opted for this swap in particular. I had the turbo is brand new from borg warner and haven't put more than 2,000 miles on it since installation. Engine compression is excellent so I didn't rebuild the bottom end or the head. I did replace rod and main bearings during the rebuild as well as new water pump, thermostat, thermostat housing, timing belt, tensioner, hoses, accessory drive belts. I had the alternator professionally rebuilt as well. The car has the mk2 Jetta Diesel transmission as well. The reason I chose this transmission is because I heard that it has the highest 5th gear that Volkswagen put into a transmission. It is amazing on the freeway. I also wired in and added a 6 psi lift pump to ease wear on the injection pump in the car. I rebuilt all shift linkage, all motor mounts were replaced as well. I had a custom 2.5" exhaust made from turbo back. There is no muffler on the car but it is very quiet. Local laws don't require a muffler so I didn't add one. I also added a diesel fuel filler neck so that fill ups are simple and straight forward. I half wired the glow plug relay but decided for both security and time to wire in a manual push button switch for the glow plugs. It is hidden behind the gauge cluster on the floor of the tunnel. The car absolutely cannot be started without it unless it is an extremely hot day out. It gets up to 120 degrees where I live and I still have a tough time starting it without the glow plugs. Engine runs extremely well and falls down to idle well. The injection pump is well tuned.
The interior of this truck is where I spent a lot of the time and money on bringing the truck back to the state it is in. I drove to Missouri (30 hours each way) to get the dashboard. Carmel dashboards are very difficult to find in good condition. I also was able to find the carmel shift gator NOS but a little dirty while I was out there. The rest of the interior is in great condition. The carpets could use a shampoo but I don't have the time to give it the last 5% it needs. It also needs a good pair of seats. I was going to do a bench conversion but 3 kids happened and I never got to it. I sourced a tweed carmel rear seat from a mk1 jetta which will work perfectly in the car but it needs a frame welded to install in the car. I will include the seat in the sale. I collect steering wheels and the carmel sportruck wheel has spent most of its life on my wall while I have had miscellaneous volkswagen wheels on the car. I'd love to keep it as they are unobtainable, it is literally the only one I have ever seen anywhere and it is in exceptional condition for the age and usage it has but I am including it with the truck. The foam in these wheels disintegrate very quickly but this wheel is in great condition. The car does not have a headliner however. I have the backing board in the car but it is uncovered. With the swap I didn't elect to go with a diesel cluster because I liked the original sportruck cluster. This means that the tach does not work. Also the fuel sender in the tank needs to be replaced, the fuel does not register.
I have not replaced much of the steering and suspension in this car because it was in good shape when I got it. I have all of the original parts for the suspension and would be happy to return it to stock height if the buyer would like me to. It does currently have a 3.5" drop with Raceland coilovers in the front and 3.5" drop plates in the rear. It needs rear brakes I just found out which are cheap but need to be done. I have replaced both rear wheel cylinders and may just replace the rear shoes during the auction because shipping companies require an excessively tight e-brake to ship. I have had multiple wheel setups on the car but I sold my BBS last year so I have steelies with hubcaps on it right now. I lost one of the clips so the front right wheel needs a $3 clip but I have extra hubcaps I'll include and send with the car.
This car is extremely well documented. I have the original purchase agreement laminated as well as the window sticker. I also have (though I cannot find it right now) the original owners manual as well as the manual for the dealer installed alpine deck which is in the car and fully functional.
I love this car... Really it has been an absolutely amazing experience to own it. I know the minute it is gone I will really regret this sale but I have too many projects to keep it. It isn't getting the attention it could have from an owner who is a big VW enthusiast.
If you have any questions please let me know. I have tried to be as thorough as i can possibly be and would list many more pictures but eBay won't let me.
Car is obviously used and is sold as is with no warrantee expressed or implied.
$500 is due at the end of the auction and final funds are to be sent either cashiers check or ACH transfer. I will not release the car until funds have cleared my account. Historically I have had good selling and purchasing experiences in this format. I will overnight the signed title the moment the funds clear and will be available to assist in working with the shipper for pickup but if you are not comfortable with this payment format don't bid. Neither the truck or title will leave my possession without the full payment cleared in my account.
Thank you very much for looking and I truly hope this truck goes to an enthusiastic buyer.
POSTED AFTER LISTING:I forgot to state that the injection pump being used in the car currently is from a 1.6D. It does not have the boost solenoid, but I do have a 1.6td injection pump with the proper boost solenoid that will be included in the sale. The td pump needs to be rebuilt before reinstallation in the car.