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1980 VW Cabriolet Project Car (Rabbit Convertible) Part 1

Updated on May 23, 2008

Photo Gallery

One dirty little Rabbit saved from a watery grave.
One dirty little Rabbit saved from a watery grave.
My buddy whom we'll call "Ted".
My buddy whom we'll call "Ted".
This top could use some help.
This top could use some help.
So much for weather-proof...
So much for weather-proof...
Rusty, empty trunk space.
Rusty, empty trunk space.
Inside is not much better than outside.
Inside is not much better than outside.

The Start of a Long Process

No "How To" here - this is just a Blog for VW enthuisiasts like myself (I'm a new convert).

I believe there comes a time in every workaholics life when you realize that you're killing yourself and not really enjoying doing all those things you used to love. That is why I have gone back to racing motocross (occassionally) and why I have taken on this nasty little project car.

First, a quick explanation. A friend of mine (let's call him Ted) has been buying and working on little crummy cars for a couple of years now. At first it was a $500 Subaru Legacy wagon - then a $100 Subaru Justy, then a $50 VW Rabbit diesel. At first I thought he must be totally broke and needed to have these cars - but then he bought one I didn't expect of him - a $750 VW Cabriolet. After he got it running, he came over and took me for a ride and explained his philosophy on these little cars. He simply loves taking something that is broken - something someone else has decided is unrepairable - and fixing it up! Coincidentally, he is an ER nurse.

Having worked in the motorpool in college, I came to the realization that I miss working on my own car! I too started looking for something small, cheap, and broken. I narrowed my criteria down to something that would get over 35 mpg yet cost less than $300. Searching Craigslist,, and Ebay, I finally found a 1981 VW Cabriolet in Seattle and made the deal. As Ted and I got the trailer hooked up and ready to go, it started snowing! We took one more look on Craigslist and what did we find - a 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Convertible in Longview, less than 1 hour away - and only $150!

So, on the way to Seattle, we stopped to take a look - liked what we saw, and I bought the car. These photos were taken shortly after getting it home and coasting it out of the trailer, my $150 Volkswagen Rabbit Convertible project car!

The dust was worse than it looks in the picture. Some of it is dust from sitting in a garage. Much more is mud and salt ... from being under water we believe. My work is cut out for me! Fortunately, Ted brought the Bentley Service Manuals and has offered up a parts car to help. Stay tuned!


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is so funny. I just purchased a 1984 VW Rabbit conv, for $300.00 as project car. I thought it was in bad shape, but yours wins the ugly prize. Your article fits my place in life as if I wrote it myself. I'll keep track of your progess so remember to post more pics. I'll send some as well.

      Thanks Man! Good luck!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      hey im doing a1990 caberiolet good luck


    • dlarson profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Priest River, ID

      I do love a challenge! :)

      Thanks jimcrowthers.

    • jimcrowthers profile image


      11 years ago from Port Charlotte

      Holy, cow!!! You're going to do what? Fix what up? No way! LOL! May the wizards (for their intelligence and knowledge) and elfs (for their wisdom and intelligence) be with you. You're going to need some magic spells for this melee!

      Great hub, dlarson!


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