1981 VW Rabbit Pickup RWD "LS" Swap

Sold for: $15000
Total Bids: 27


Presented here is the first RWD converted, “LS” LQ4 swapped VW Rabbit Pickup to come to market! 

When this 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup aka “Caddy” left the factory, it was equipped with a transversely mounted 1.7L mill that produced a paltry 78hp (74hp in CA). The current owner and seller has extensively modified this ultimate sleeper to handle 5X the power at the rear wheels!

Yes, it does donuts.

This project began with a clean California titled shell and was built from the ground up over the course of 2 years. Original mileage is unknown, however the current drivetrain has 5,185 miles, which are accounted for in the custom Speedhut gauge cluster. The engine is a 6.0L “LS” LQ4 pulled from a 2001 Chevrolet 2500 Silverado. In stock trim, the engine made ~300hp and 360ft/bs at the crank and hauled a truck that was over 5000lbs. Aided by upgraded valvetrain components, intake, exhaust, and tune, it now makes 366hp and 351ft/lbs at the wheels and weighs 3000lbsA Dynojet run is included in the image gallery (red lines are stock vs blue with mods). An engine oil change was performed 2 weeks ago. 

The engine transmits the power through a GM 4l80e transmission and into a narrowed Ford Explorer 8.8 rear end which has been drilled to 4×100. The seller states the rear end was serviced last year with new clutch packs, fluids, and 3.08 gears. 

The additional longitudinal twist is controlled via “Caltrac” bars at the rear and a custom cage made of 1.5 DOM tubing and plates that extend forward to the strut towers. The interior includes a custom, narrowed VW Corrado dash and a Winters Sidewinder shifter. Both the interior and engine bay are painted Audi Nimbus Grey.

Brakes are manual (no booster) and fluid is pushed through an Audi large bore master cylinder and Wilwood prop valve. Front brakes are MK3 Golf calipers and rotors with green stuff pads. Rears are standard Ford Explorer drums and shoes. 

The exterior/body of the Caddy was left largely unmodified and exhibits patina throughout. It was kept that way to help solidify its “sleeper” status. The fenders and grille are from an earlier model and the seller will include an early used gti round headlight front apron, in case the new owner would like to switch to round lights.

The Jongbloed series 550 wheels in 16x7 front and 16x9.5 out back are the only hint that there is a lot more than meets the eye with this RAD little truck. 

Check out the Speedhunters feature here!


RWD Conversion

6.0L LS LQ4

4l80e trans

Brian Tooley Stage 3 truck cam & valve springs

8.1 marine injectors

92mm throttle body

LS2-style intake manifold

Corvette water pump, crank pulley, ict acc brackets

Summit high torque (small) starter

Howe racing radiator 

Shorty headers

Full single 3-inch exhaust

Custom tune

Ford Mustang 2 steering rack

Ford Explorer 8.8 rear end (narrowed & custom drilled 4×100)

DD torque converter

Caltrac bars

Tanksinc under-bed fuel tank


Automatic transmission

Jongbloed racing wheels 

  • Front 16x7   195-40-16 Federal ST1 with 5k miles

  • Rear16x9.5  215-45-16 with brand new Falken Azenis

Sony Touch Screen Receiver with Apple Car Play, Camera

Kicker components and sub, excelon 5ch amp

Custom Corrado dash

1.5 DOM tubing & plates

Speedhut gauge

Sparco seats

Slider rear window (seller will include a solid rear window)


Interior recarpeted and painted 

Surface rust throughout 

Dings, dents, scratches 

Windshield is new and has clear solar guard window tint

1981 VW Rabbit Pickup RWD "LS" Swap


Bid to: $15000