|A Short History Of The Rabbit And Pickup.
The VW Rabbit was introduced for the 1975 year. At first it was offered as a 2dr and a 4dr with a
gas engine and a 4spd. Also offered were a 5spd and a 3spd automatic. Both the '75 and '76
model years used a Carberator for the fuel system, and were prone to many drivability problems.
There were many recalls, and updates, but basicly the system was flawed and unable to overcome
the added smog equipment the US market required.
If you can find a '75 or '76, BUY IT! If you can get it running, Let me know. I want to meet you.
Then in 1977 they introduced the Bosch C.I.S fuel injection system. This saved the Rabbit from a
miserable life. The car's sales began to climb as the gas crisis of the late 70's took hold. The Rabbit
had finally become the worthy sucsessor to the Beatle Volkswagon had been hoping for.
I consider any Rabbit made between '77 to 80 to be a great find. I never pass on one of these if
the price is right.
In 1979 the Rabbit got even thriftier with the introduction of a diesel motor that got almost 60 miles
to the gallon on the highway. These cars became very popular, and still hold their resale value.
Also 1979 was the first year Rabbits were made in USA. The factory made all the USA bound
2dr and 4dr rabbits untill 1984
1980 Was a Big Vw Rabbit year. This year the Rabbit's Engine regrew to 1.6L and with the CIS
system it started to put out a lot of Power. VW also introduced the Rabbit Pickup, and from
europe came the convertible Rabbit. All this added up to big rabbit sales.
1981 The Rabbit Gets A midlife makeover. The American Rabbits now have diffrent color
combos, new interiors,A larger 1.7L motor, and a diffrent front and rear end look. Vw also added
a LS and S model to the line.
1982 The only thing that changed this year was sales figures.. All of a sudden Vw faced a bunch of
cheap compitition from, Japan....
1983 The Year Of The GTI. Cutomers spoke, and Vw listened. The GTI had been availible in
europe for some time, but this year, with a 1.8l big valve motor, and a new 5spd. the GTI made
driving a Vw Fun for the USA.
1984 The last year for the Rabbit. These cars are some of the nicest of the line. Most are found
with all the specials, from power steering, to A/C and sunroof. But sales were still dropping, so
Vw pulled the plug and started selling Golfs.....
An Era of Good cheap cars died, and the current VW came into being.
|A Great Book for the Rabbit fan.
If you can find one
The book "Getting the most from your Rabbit" is a very good piece of info for the history and future
of the Rabbit. It was written in 1980 at the peak of Rabbit fever. And explains in depth the history
of the Rabbit, VW and Aftermarket suppliers. There are pictures of external gas tanks, A snow
plow attachment, and a camper conversion.
If anyone knows where to reach the writer : Richard G Van Treuren, I would love to hear the rest
of the story, and find out if he is still into Rabbits.