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!
I like the idea of building a limousine that avoids the too-short-fronted proportions trap they often fall into by using two-door coupe front doors. Something Cadillac should’ve done for the Series 75 back in the day, since they used Coupe deVille rear fenders and quarter windows anyway.
Wonderful find! I still like the look of the original Rabbit with the round headlamps, to me it is a timeless design. With the exception of the fit of the rear hatch, the body work on this car is really impressive, particularly given the unit body construction of the Rabbit. We used to be able to squeeze at least three (granted, 1970’s sized starving graduate student) bodies into the back seat of my car, a couple of jump seats could easily have given you seating for five, although trunk space would be limited and with that high liftover. Works for me!
Incredible. Those are brand new plates by the way. Maybe you’ll catch it curbside.
Very well done conversion. i’d drive it! Maybe you or other readers could dig up more info on the manufacturer?
Did someone have a rear-ended 2 door Rabbit diesel and the back half of a 4 door?
After my sister got married, the first car her husband picked out was an orange 77 Rabbit 2 door. After I got to looking at it I could tell that it had been two cars welded together at the B pillar – I believe their orange car was original from the B pillar forward, but a formerly baby blue donor car had donated its rear 1/3. It was a very nice job, btw, and my BIL knew its history.
I see now that they could have made a Rabbit XL, which would have had a lot more comfortable back seat area. Sort of a VW Land Cruiser (in the Studebaker sense, not the Toyota sense.)
That is an amazing find.
By late 70s standards, that hatch fit is dead on.
I saw a stretched Rabbit in 80 or 81. It was stretched more than yours and, iirc, painted dark red. I have no way of knowing if it was a personal custom job, or a Checker prototype, but it was in Kalamazoo.
One difference, the stretched Rabbit I saw was a more ambitious mod than this one. I don’t think I noticed whether the B pillar was stretched, but what got my attention was the extra long rear doors.
While I didn’t see the same thing Steve saw, I would think that having bigger rear doors would make more sense for something in livery usage. The car above looks like what Principal Dan said, the front half of a two door and the back half of a four door.
I think Eugene has eclipsed Woodward Avenue north of Detroit as the Curbside Classic capital of America, no, of the world!!!
Certainly on a per capita basis it has. Even if Paul spends every waking hour digging up these amazing finds (he must, lol!) …Rabbits, Mustang IIs, Novas, Fairmonts, etc., etc., he sees more in a day than I see in a month in metro Detroit.
Eugene is on my bucket list!
oh yes, the Rabbit IS fascinating, and from the picture, they did a fantastic job with the B-pillar and roof!
Okay, now I know what I want for Christmas!
Zonk. Wow! I was going to crack wise about your traffic acrobatics probably being unnecessary, what with the diesel Wabbit’s 0-60 acceleration figure of “maybe sometime next month”, but then you mentioned the upgraded engine.
Anybody driving such a burdened diesel Rabbit in modern traffic would likely be a true pro at preserving momentum and running yellow lights. I’d rather catch up to the modern powertrain because at least I wouldn’t have to think like a 50s truck driver to predict their moves.
“Be vawy careful, I’m shooting wabbits.”
What happen when you mix a Subackru , a Prius & bondo ?
A real Hybrid …
…but prefer this one with no 4×4
I see a “Darrin Dip”.
another awful thing , Dustbuster van with extra big dustbag .
Orange fit very nicely to an Xb too .
Would that make it an XXB, or an XBB, or an XXBB? Maybe an XBL?
The next project for Mr. N when he finishes the Promaster camper conversion.
Call this Scion , simply an Xtended Box . Rather then chop the car in the middle I would propose a kit for the Xb to replace the rear hatch and bolting to the existing hinges a kind a substructure just like the longer version of an old Dodge Tradesman where obsviously it’s welded .
a smart length for a powerful excitation
Thanks for all the great comments and great pictures.
The Pumpkin, as our granddaughter calls it, began it’s 2nd life in Florida.
About 10 years ago her grandfather had the opportunity try to do something different. He had a couple rabbits just sitting around and this is the result. The front half is a 2-door rabbit and the back is a 4-door. The backseat area gained 14″, which makes for a comfortable backseat ride (and the kids can’t kick the front seat!). The diesel engine was swapped out for a 1.8 carburated (old-school), gasoline engine with Tectonics tuning exhaust. (Grandma wanted a little more “get-up-and-go”!)
We had great times with it, but decided it was time for someone else to make good times with “the Pumpkin”. So we made our last trip in it out to Eugene.
what a nicely thought out stretch ~ using four coupe doors is brilliant .
ROGER did a double take on this car also. In EUGENE OR,
Quick pics after work