I continue to be amazed at how many Mk1 Rabbit/Golfs are still working the streets here. I’ve shot them in every one of their primary colors, but this red on made a nice shot against this equally rectilinear building facade.
I didn’t walk across the street to check, but it’s almost certainly a diesel, as that’s what has kept these in demand and use for so long. The only gassers are in the hands of a couple of VW enthusiasts of a different stripe, like the other red one I shot for my in-depth write up on the Mk 1 Golf/ Rabbit.
It’s been forever since I have seen one of these! It looks identical to my aunts 1981 which was sent to the crusher in 1989 when the floorboards disintegrated and everything started going wrong. Was a fun zippy little bugger when new though, especially with a stick.
There are at least two 1st-gen Rabbits in my neighborhood; one is a diesel, the other debadged so that I can’t really tell. Pretty likely that it is though. We also have a mk1 Jetta and at least five of the Rabbit Pickups (Caddys), plus a bunch of Vanagons. Evidently I live in a hotbed of vintage water-cooled VW enthuisasts?
Mark one’s really look good in red. The more basic the better, so not to distract from the lines. Some years VW got too spartan with the interiors, but on the outside basic is best. A wonder if there was ever a Wolfsburg edition that had the best exterior and interior.
One guy from church has one, still going. Pulls a small trailer with it. He used to have a farm, had several others tucked in the bush behind the yard.
I always like this one. Still do like Golfs, even the new ones, but bonus points to the first one.
The only reason I can imagine why VW thought it necessary to rename it in the States is, golf is considered a rich man’s game here, whereas in Britain at least, I understand the sport is more egalitarian. This from a coworker who played at St. Andrew’s.
Still like the 1st-gen Golf. It’s about 500 lbs lighter than the latest one.
I just saw one of these yesterday on my local Craigslist, that one was the light brown 90% seem to have been painted. Aside from a warped dashboard top and mildly bent rear bumper, it seems to be at least as nice as this one….for $1500 asking.
It looks quite similar to another brown Rabbit a VW specialist here is trying to sell. That one has/had an automatic transmission and A/C that supposedly works. That one is going for $4500.
I prefer the (slightly) older, NON-Americanized Rabbit.
My ’75 had a warped dash from the factory! I figured the chances of getting it replaced under warranty and no problems after pulling the whole dash were pretty low, so I let it be. Mine was made in 11/74, 7xxx sequence number on the VIN. I figure it was probably made in the first couple of weeks of US bound production. Alpine green and saddle tan interior. L model but no other options was $3837 out the door.
Surprisingly enough these are quite rare in Portland, but the pickup version is somewhat common. The last one I heard about in New York was my mama’s 1976 Rabbit which rusted out by 1988 or so, but we still have a tire from it that is used as a weight. Took a while she tells me to find a Yellow one with an AM/FM radio.
Makes sense that the Rabbit pickup would flourish in Portland. It sounds like a perfectly suitable alternative to the hipster standard, a sixties Ford Falcon.
Even those Ford Falcons are not terribly common even when cruising throughout various parts of town. Most Rabbit pickups are driven by people from the Baby Boom or Generation X
I was surprised to see quite a few old Golfs in Berlin in Vienna. They were pretty much the only older cars around… But they were Mk II
Both my Brothers paid well over Invoice back when the Diesel MKI first came out ~ there was a waiting list .
I wasn’t impressed in spite of the routine 40 + MPG .
Time has shown I was a fool , I shoulda sold my Split Window Beetle and bought one , Diesel or gasser as they don’t rust here in La La Land .
I did buy a Convertible in red when I began dating , the girls loved it , it was dead bang reliable in spite of having been totaled out and poorly rebuilt _THREE_TIMES_ before I bought it ~ from a junkyard no less .
These had issues with the radio antenna leaking water into the fuse box allowing them to start and move when parked , banging ito the car they were parked behind .
Living in San Diego, I probably see one Omni or Horizon for every 1st or 2nd generation Rabbit, Golf, Jetta or Sirocco. Some of the Omnis are GLHs, which are probably treasured, but many I see are simply beaters that are still hanging on after the VWs have all been retired from driver duty. It’s amazing because I think the only fuel injected L-bodies were the turbocharged ones, and CARB SMOG inspection kills off most inexpensive cars here.
Best car EVER.
My parents had a 1980 Rabbit L diesel from the summer of 1980 to 1984. Here’s a picture of it with my grandfather in a fishing trip with my father! My grandfather would be 100 in a few months if he was still alive!
A family picture at my grandparent’s place in the spring of 1981..
The wheels were still free of rust after just one winter, soon after that, they started to rust badly!
Here in October of 1982, I’m still searching for a picture of the front!
I finally found one! With me and my mother (that was on a fishing trip I guess!).
Wow, great photos. I love this kind of stuff.
So yours was a 1980 model and it had the round headlights? Hmm. When were the squares used in that case?
It was a Canadian model, I think the Diesel version still had the round headlights in 1980 for the Canadian market only. It also had the smaller taillights and horizontal side marker lamps.
Look at this owner’s manual…
It rust out by 1984? Good photos.
The car was still OK but the wheels looked bad when my father replaced it with a similar 1984 Jetta L Diesel…
This is gorgeous and a timely post. My income as a nurse will soon burn a hole through my pocket and buying an A1 Rabbit would be a fun way to solve that problem…
…I would NOT want a diesel, however, nor would I want a Westmoreland model. It’d be quite a search.
A friend of mine had a 90 or 91 Cabriolet, last year of the first gen Rabbit/Golf. White with primarily black interior. Sweet car to look at. Downside? It was about as reliable as your average Walmart customer. There was ALWAYS something wrong with that car.
We had one of these as a family car in the late 1970s. My Dad traded his 1978 Ford LTD that had some quality issues and drank gas for a 1975 Rabbit, just like this one. 4 speed, an AM radio and seats covered with a plastic that looked like that packing material that people like to pop. On a hot day it was brutal to sit on those seats, even with jeans on.
It was a horrendous lemon. The carb never seemed to work correctly. It has serious drivability issues. My Dad swore and cussed at that car. We used to take it to the German Car Specialist in Southport, NY and they rebuilt the carb but it made no difference…it apparently was a bad design. The car jerked and sputtered and had no power. They wound up returning it under the lemon law to the VW dealer in Vestal, NY, who was probably none too happy to be stuck with it AND the LTD that seemed to be plagued with issues. We drove old Buicks and Oldsmobiles for a long time after that.
A cycling/transit convert for the past 15 years, but with major car lust since the age of 5, I’m seriously tempted by the new Mk 7 Golf.
They’re sooo beautiful. The car is really solid, quiet, and responsive on the road, the new 1.8 turbo is a joy, the new instrument panel is stunning, the doors make this most amazing ‘thwunk’ sound when they close…
Somebody slap me. Must repeat: ‘I don’t need a car and it’s a colossal waste of money.’ So I’m thinking of getting a full size cardboard cut-out of one instead, mounting it on the curb in front of the house so I can look at it longingly, and downloading a ‘Volkswagen thwunk’ ™ ringtone for my phone. And keep running twice-a-month errands with the 2006 Yaris carshare ($4/hour + .40/km) that’s parked 2 blocks away. Sensible, right?
I would buy this Norev 1:18 Golf GTI. Then build a 1:18 diorama of your own neighborhood. Very realistic, with a downscaled neighbor and his pet, working street lamps etc.etc. Done !
I haven’t seen a MkI in ages, decades. Nor anything else from the 70s or 80s, save for one white Cabriolet that I saw last summer. I was amazed at how small that Cabriolet looked compared to my Jetta wagon.
Mk4 Jettas are around, and an occasional Mk4 Golf, but here in the land of rust and incompetent mechanics, that’s it.
Rabbits are getting pretty rare but I still see a lot of Cabriolets running around. I’ve had an 83 GTI and a 82 (I think) Cabriolet. They were ragged out when I got them so Inge were constantly breaking but they were fun cars.
It’s a shame you can t get just bare bones transportation like them anymore.
My diesel daily driver. Still a lot of fun at 265k miles.
Really nice ! The VW Caddy Mk1 has always been thin on the ground here. In the mid-nineties VW introduced the Caddy Mk2, a small van, based on the Polo. Very successful, since this kind of vans is the norm, instead of (small) pickups.
There was also a Caddy Mk2 pickup though, but that was basically a rebadged Skoda Felicia pickup.
I still see the Golf Mk1 diesels, with a 4 speed manual, quite regularly. Used as the ultimate cheap beater runabouts. To get parts for the farm- or construction machinery, or to drive to the jobs where the machinery is used. Just fill it up at the farm’s diesel tank and off you go.
Volkswagen Caddy Mk2 pickup, so the rebadged Skoda.
The Mk I and Mk II Cabriolets are popping up on Craigslist fairly regularly….which is odd as they are supposed to be serious rusters. The probably out number all the other body styles combined. Most are white, too.
There never was a MK2 Cabriolet, at least in the States. They just kept producing the MK1 until the MK3 came out. And I’ve never heard anything about MK1 or MK2 being “rusters”. MK3 on the other hand………
Someone down the street has 2 of these sitting in their driveway. These are not all that uncommon here, but it’s been years since I’ve seen one with round headlights.