The VW Rabbit (known as the Golf in Europe) was always a little different compared to the Iconic VW Beetle it would eventually replace. Water cooled, with a transverse mounted engine it would use front wheel drive and uni-body construction to motivate it down the road. High tech compared to the air cooled older than dirt but beloved Bug.
VW never really wanted to bring the Oil Burner Diesel to the USA but newly raised fuel prices and pressure by the US Government for higher MPG vehicles made VW introduce it in 1976.
From the start they sold well. That was good and bad news for VW. At the time USA VW dealers did not have enough qualified mechanics to work on kidney shaking Rabbit Diesel. Rabbit Diesels that had warranty or running issues would sit for months whilst dealers would find a qualified tech to repair it. Volks would eventually get things figured out.
The other problem was the average American Rabbit Diesel owner was just not ummm "Diesel" friendly. Very few gas stations at the time had Diesel on hand forcing owners to seek out truck stops or fleet fueling stations. Many owners didn't quiet get the glow plug starting method (as easy as it was)and many an early Rabbit Diesel on cold days would remain driveway oranaments.
Perhaps the biggest problem was owners that did not follow the strick maintenance schedule would find that a broken timing belt would result in a massive engine destruction Chernobyl like in it's magnatude.
Even with these problems from the start the frugal and rugged Vibro Massage Diesel Rabbit had a cult following and adoring owners. You could easily squeeze 50 MPG from the dashboard shaking beast and were even peppy with the manual transmission.
VW offered many body styles, trim levels abd colors. You could even get a Rabbit Diesel Pickup starting in 1980.The VW Rabbit Pickups have devoted fans and a cult like status.
Now here is the big question. What are they worth? The last few years have seen a renewed interest in these bladder shaking 80's Econo Cars. Rust is always an issue. If you find one with rust in the front strut towers..throw it away. Good rust free examples with a service history are holding strong in value. Besides they are kinda cool and drive like slot cars.
Our feature 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel Four Door Sedan is the very Chic "LS Deluxe" model. LS Deluxe's got the better trim outside plus a plusher interior. It has the 5 speed manual transmission and factory A/C. All rare options in the usually "Stripper" Rabbit Diesel. It has only 115,200 miles and just had a full service. Original paint and interior are in wonderful condition. WHAT'S IT WORTH?