On The Go Outtake: VW Rabbit Diesel L – “L” as in “Long Wheelbase” or The Long Lost Checker Galva 1

After almost ten years, I’m getting mighty blase about CCs I see go by the other way. But when I caught a glimpse of this orange long wheelbase Rabbit (Golf Mk1), I made a maneuver I hadn’t done in quite a while, and then had to drive through traffic like…a jerk, to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. I thought I had lost it, but was relieved to see it stopped at a red light some distance ahead, giving me a chance to weave through traffic and pull up alongside and confirm that it really was what I thought it was. It was.

So is this the long-lost Checker Galva prototype? It was a Rabbit with a stretch added to its mid-section, to make it a suitable replacement for the venerable Marathon after the energy crisis. But that on had a full 21″ added as well as a raised roof, so that there could be two rear-facing seats in the back to offer seating for four passengers. This one is a bit shy of that, although maybe not that much. The story on the Galva is here.

The front doors are the long ones from a two-door Rabbit, and then a plug added in front of the rear doors. I’d say its probably about 12 inches or so of total stretch.

There was a young woman at the wheel, and if you look carefully, you can see the vast amount of space behind her; a veritable limousine. She must be very short and maybe leaning forward, because look at how much room there is behind her.

The VW-based Checker prototype didn’t pan out, because it got way too heavy. Frankly, they blew it by trying to make it too big and tall; this long would have been more than big enough to make a very comfy cab.

She pulled away very smartly from a light or two, and the sound clearly from a healthy diesel; turbo-diesel, I should say. Probably a 1.9 Td, or maybe even a Tdi.

This is one of my favorite finds of the year; I’ve got a thing for compact but roomy cars, and this one ticks all the boxes. And it’s orange to boot. Taxi!