The first generation Volkswagen Rabbit has become a rare sight in the Washington, DC/Maryland/Virginia area, but in the immediate vicinity of where I live, there are several that continue to roam the roads and live curbside. Easter Sunday, which is about rebirth, is an appropriate time to present this one, from the rectangular headlight period of 1980-83. Spotted outside of an apartment complex whose parking lot has many CC-worthy cars such as GM H-Body and A-Body sedans of the 1980s, it wears its original wheels, has mostly straight bumpers, and shows some primer spots indicating rust repair on what looks like a generally sound body. In its thirty-plus years, this Rabbit has lived several automotive lifetimes already, and appears to be ready for more.
A cheeky detail on this Rabbit is the round orange reflector on its grille, normally the place for the round VW badge. With brightly colored noses becoming popular on Easter Bunny themed cars in this area, this Rabbit appears to be on the leading edge of holiday style this season.
This blue Rabbit from the same period is in outstanding condition and is an outstanding early 1980s period piece–a Rabbit Diesel. Once seen in vast numbers during the years of high gasoline prices during the late 1970s and early 1980s, these early VW diesels quickly disappeared afterward, with the low power of their non-turbo diesels (1.5L with 48 horsepower in 1978-80, 1.6L with 52 horsepower from 1981-83) and glacial slowness (0-60 in 16.8 seconds and a top speed of 82 miles per hour in a 1977 Car and Driver test drive) no doubt a key factor in their falling out of fashion. This Rabbit Diesel continues to be an all-year daily driver, which I have seen quietly clattering around my neighborhood in sun, rain and snow for many years. If I ever see it with a “For Sale” sign, I will gladly give it a second life as a suburban/city runabout.