1980-82: Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel Pickup
Built in VW’S Pennsylvania factory and introduced in 1979 as a 1980 model, the Rabbit pickup was billed as a stylish light-duty hauler. The design originated in the American market but soon emigrated overseas and became known as the Volkswagen Caddy. With only 48 hp, the early 1.5L pickup ran a whopping 17 seconds to 60 mph. For 1981 the pickup got an updated 1.6L diesel that made 52 hp and the unit could make 60 mph in about 15.5 seconds. Slow, yes, but you got 40-50 mpg. The Euro market got a turbocharged Caddy later on. While these cool little trucks were only offered here through ’82 they were built in PA through ’84 for other markets and continued to be built in various VW factories around the world until 1996. While a gas engine was offered in these cute little rigs the diesel was the most common variant here.
DISPLACEMENT: 1.5L (90 ci)/1.6l (97 ci)
POWER: 48 hp @ 5,000 rpm/52 hp @ 4,800 rpm TORQUE: 56.5 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm/
72 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
COMPRESSION RATIO: 23.5:1 /23:1 ASPIRATION: Natural
1980 VW diesel engine cutaway
1980 Rabbit pickup from the VW historical image files… a gasser, unfortunately. The only external difference was a “DIESEL” badge on the tailgate.