Your Projects: Making a VW Rabbit Pickup Not Suck at Moving

By Ed Higginbotham
Jun 11, 2018 | Volkswagen

This Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup came with a 52-horsepower diesel drivetrain. In an effort to put more pep in its step, forum member BirgerBuilder is swapping in a 1.6-liter engine rated for about double the original powerplant’s output. But this project is far more than just an engine swap—it’s also a full restoration. Come for the Rabbit pickup, stay for the fabrication photos.

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View comments on the GRM forums
noddaz GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/11/18 1:56 p.m.

Bring it on!


rdcyclist New Reader
6/11/18 2:32 p.m.

Lookin' forward to reading about this. I've done two of these but I didn't bother with the standard 1.6l motor but dropped in a complete Mk1 GTI drivetrain. Huge difference in power between the 1.6 and the 1.8 GTI motor. Would've been a drop in swap but I elected to use a G60 Corrado manifold and that caused all sorts of shift linkage fabrication. Worth it though as the exhaust is allegedly good for another 5 ponies or so.

sfisher71 New Reader
6/11/18 3:34 p.m.

In reply to rdcyclist :

I've owned two USDM A1 GTI (enough alphabet soup?) hatchbacks, and I approve this message. I got a ride in a Euro Rabbit years ago with the 1.8L, full exhaust, and a G-grind cam. There are probably better cam grinds today, the march of technology being what it is, but it was electrifying back in the Nineties.

Every so often I think about doing that to an early transverse VW, preferably either a truck or a first-gen Scirocco. Problem is dimensional -- not the engine, the driver. I could never fit into a Scirocco with a helmet (not in the stock seats, at least, and I was staying in stock classes at the time), and my legs should really be about four inches shorter to be comfortable in a pickup. Ah well. I have more projects than money at the moment, but if that changes...

Good luck on your swap!

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