Vintage Vehicles

This cute Volkswagen cabrio was compared to a picnic basket but buyers loved it

The Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet is a classic convertible that has been forgotten by many.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Remember the simpler times? Before amusement in the car was measured by whether or not it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there was a tremendous amount of joy that people received just from having a car with a sunroof. Pop-up, pull-down, electrified - it was all good. Even more fun was had by those that were lucky enough to have a convertible.

The original Beetle was a popular cabriolet though the top didn't win many accolades. It was often ill-fitting and less rainproof than what is ideal. Owners found carwashes to be a perilous experience. Volkswagen sold 332,000 Beetle Convertibles worldwide.

Volkswagen Rabbit CabrioletThe model was beloved though its roof was not.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In 1976, Volkswagen replaced the Beetle with the first-generation Golf, which was known as the Rabbit in the U.S. But that wasn't good enough. VW wanted to make a Golf cabriolet with safer and affordability in mind. The result was the 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet with a five-layer roof that folded all the way back.

Globally, the model was sold under a number of different names and in a variety of special editions including the Wolfsburg models in the United States.

The Rabbit Cabriolet was the first model in its class to have a permanently installed roll bar attached to the B-pillar. This feature improved rollover protection and structural integrity, and quickly led to the model being compared to a picnic basket. However much fun of it people poked, they couldn't ignore its relative spaciousness and fuel efficiency.

Five years later the Rabbit was updated for its second generation and the Cabriolet received slight exterior updates though it kept its original underpinnings.

Volkswagen Rabbit CabrioletThe Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet was sold in the U.S. up until 2002.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen continued to sell the model in the U.S. through 1993 updating it over the years adding options like power windows and larger wheels. By the time production of the first-generation Cabriolet ended in 1993, Volkswagen had sold 388,552 of them worldwide.

The second-generation of the Cabriolet was launched in the U.S. in 1995 and included updates from the third-generation Golf as well as an available power roof with glass rear window. Buyers loved it and would make this version of the Cabriolet the best-selling convertible in the world with more than 600,000 produced over the next seven years.

In 2002, production of the model halted as customer preferences changed and safety regulations became more stringent.

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VW purchased the rights to the iconic Scout name and plans to make new EVs under the brand.

Volkswagen

Automakers bring back names and brands from the past all the time, but it's not every day that a major company purchases a brand name specifically for the purpose of reviving it. That's exactly what Volkswagen just did with Scout, the name of an ultra-popular off-road SUV that was built by International Harvester in the 1960s and 1970s.

As for the types of vehicles we'll see from the brand, we currently only have the renders to go on. The pickup truck and SUV both feature throwback styling that is reminiscent of the original Scout shapes. Beefy off-road tires and lifted suspension are the only other clues available in the drawings.

Volkswagen has its own EVs, and its other brands like Audi and Porsche have made significant progress with electric vehicles as well. That said, VW doesn't really have a solid off-road option from any of its brands at the moment, so the Scout purchase opens doors for the automaker in that arena.

The announcement sounds exciting, but we've still got plenty of time to wait before there's a Scout-branded EV on the roads. Volkswagen said the plan is to release vehicles by 2026, but it won't be sitting idle between now and then. The VW ID.4 is still very fresh and the automaker says it will launch a total of 25 new EVs in the U.S. by 2030.

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The ID. Buzz enters production in Europe soon.

Volkswagen

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz is one of the most anticipated EVs in a sea of desirable and exciting new vehicles. With retro styling and an all-electric powertrain, the van promises to be a funky, futuristic people-hauler with plenty of new tech. Today, VW handed out specs and information on the van during its global launch.

Volkswagen ID. BuzzInterior and exterior design ooze retro style. Volkswagen

Two configurations are available: A five-seat passenger version and a three-seat cargo version. Both ride on Volkswagen's modular electric drive platform (MEB), and both are rear-wheel drive. Power output lands at 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque, and the van's top speed reaches 145 mph.

Inside is where the magic happens. The passenger van features five seats, and in top models the seats come with massaging functionality. The three-person bench seat in the second row can be folded flat or folded 60/40, and the seat slides up to 5.9 inches front to back. Six-passenger seating is standard, but an extended wheelbase seven-seat configuration will be offered.

Inside, a ten-inch digital gauge cluster is standard, and pairs with a ten-inch infotainment touchscreen. A 12-inch display is available, and touch controls handle climate controls and audio volume. Rather than a traditional gear selector lever, Volkswagen uses a stalk mounted on the steering column. The Cargo version gets special storage functions, including a removal center console and several storage bins.

Volkswagen ID. BuzzBoth passenger and cargo configurations are offered.Volkswagen

ID. Buzz Cargo production starts in Europe early this year, with production of the standard van following shortly after. The European launch is scheduled for the third quarter of 2022, and the van will launch in North America in 2024. Volkswagen has not yet nailed down the model year for the new van, and will release more information closer to its release.

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