Curbside Outtake: A Rabbit in a Fancy Warren

vw rabbit (3)

The average listing price in Brooklyn Heights is around $5.41 million dollars, or around five times the average Brooklyn listing price. This desirable neighborhood is situated on the other side of the East River from Manhattan’s Financial District, and is full of gorgeous brownstones and apartment buildings with stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. It’s a little sleepy, but that seems to suit its wealthy inhabitants quite nicely. I’m not sure if one of those wealthy residents drives this well-worn VW Rabbit or if it belongs to one of the help, but it was certainly an unexpected sight.

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Volkswagen opened its Westmoreland, PA assembly plant in 1978 to manufacture these Rabbits. However, in the process, they made numerous unfortunate changes to the Mk1 Golf such as softening the suspension and using inferior quality interior parts. Eventually, VW revised the Rabbit and made it more similar to its progenitor.

vw rabbit (1)

It’s interesting that Volkswagen, in their pursuit to increase North American volume and become less of a niche player, has chosen to Americanize the current Jetta and Passat. Built to a price point, certain sacrifices have been made. I briefly rented a Passat in 2013 and came away impressed with its basic dynamic goodness, although noticed the interior had clearly experienced cost-cutting. However, if I had a choice between a Jetta or a Golf, I would pick the latter. The Rabbit’s descendant is almost identical to the European-market model, and it is all the better for it. If it ain’t broke, why Americanize it?