June 28, 2009

Pennsylvanian Pickup

Volkswagen began producing the Mk 1 Golf/Rabbit based pickup truck in 1979 at their new North American plant in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. It was the VW attempt to cash in on the new compact truck segment that was gaining significant popularity at the time. 
Natrually, the prime location of this market was in the United States. Cleverly, VW decided to base their new compact truck on the Rabbit which was already being built in the States, thus saving on development, tooling, and shipping. 

This particular example found its way to my place of employment at Wolfgang's Foreign Car Service in Erie, PA - about 200 miles from it's original assembly point. The body, while recently painted, is showing some signs of corrosion, but overall, the truck is in remarkable condition considering the less than stellar rust-proofing and 25 years of PA weather. 

The interior is also in fair shape, though the vinyl on the dash is getting a bit lumpy and puffy with age. Poor interior quality was a frequent complaint of the Pennsylvania-built Rabbit cars and trucks. 

Like many of the Rabbit trucks, this example is a 1.5 litre diesel with roughly 50hp. Needless to say, it's barely fast enough to get out of it's own way. 

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