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NO RESERVE - 1988 Volkswagen Caddy 1.8T

"Interested parties should note that this vehicle was subject of a cat d insurance claim in 2009"

Guide Price: £8,000 - £12,000


• Classic pick-up with over 250bhp
• Chipped and derestricted Audi TT engine
• Bespoke suspension, TAROX brake callipers and exhaust system
• Built over several years by current owner

The Background

One of the best things about the Volkswagen scene is that anything goes. From an immaculate stock Beetle to the most extreme and obscure modified customs, whatever you turn up in is welcome.

As long as it has that classic VW badge, whatever you choose to drive will get you into all manner of VW events, shows and a lively and vibrant social scene.

And here we have a vehicle that’s guaranteed to be a talking point at any VW show, or anywhere you go for that matter. It’s a 1988 Volkswagen Caddy – the Yugoslavian-built tray-bed variant of the classic Mk 1 Golf, which was sold in the UK from 1982 until 1993 when the war-ravaged plant in Bosnia-Herzegovina was forced to close.

It’s also a real sleeper. For while its light customer exterior and chunky rims will no doubt give hints that this truck is far from standard, its stealthy appearance belies its astonishing performance. 

The original VW 1.6 diesel engine has been cast aside, its replacement being a 1.8-litre high pressure turbo unit from a damaged Audi TT, which in turn has had some performance mods of its own.

The installation was carried out by the staff of a well-known and highly respected Land Rover specialist in Hertfordshire out of a desire to build something a bit different, and it has been properly executed with a number of bespoke parts, engineered and developed in-house. It’s a brilliantly executed conversion and an unusual but professionally done vehicle, offering performance by stealth and astonishing practicality.

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The History

The current owner has had the Caddy for several years, having acquired it in the mid-2000s. It was built up as a hobby project alongside his day-to-day work, which involves running a Land Rover restoration business and general village garage, so the build took several years to complete as it had to be fitted in around customers’ paid work. We all need to make a living, after all…

It was put back on the road in 2015 and has been used occasionally ever since.

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The Paperwork

The Caddy comes with a number of receipts for parts purchased during its build, but there’s no early service history, manuals or books to speak of.

Not that such things matter with a custom build such as this, as the truck was built pretty much from scratch by the current owner. 

It has a full UK V5 and MoT certificate valid until September 2021.

The Interior

White-backed dials, period Recaro seats and a small diameter Momo steering wheel are all modifications typical of the Caddy’s period and seen on many a Mk 1 or Mk 2 VW Golf, so it’s no surprise to find them here, inside the Caddy’s otherwise stark and simple cabin. This is a commercial vehicle, after all.

The interior is basic but all there, with no major wear, though there are a couple of minor trim bits such as an interior door handle that need refastening. 

There’s also a six-speed wooden gear knob from the same Audi TT that donated its internal organs – the only real hint that there may be something more to this truck than meets the eye.

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The Exterior

Performance by stealth is what this vehicle is all about, so it’s no surprise that subtlty is the key. The core part of that is the paint finish, which is a Maserati pearlescent metallic black.

The bumpers have been removed to reduce weight, as has the rear tailgate – which creates a lot of drag when unladen. This has been replaced by a Bully tailgate net popular with Australian ‘ute’ lovers, which improves airflow and aerodynamics – perfect if you want to maximise performance and improve downforce, which is something you’d expect to say about a supercar rather than a pick-up truck. 

The wheels are an obvious indicator that all is not standard. They are Keskin kt4 alloys, offering much improved grip and fresh tyres that have done less than 30 miles. 

Paint finish is excellent, while the body is in fine order with no rust on top or underneath. An inspection of the underside also reveals a set of bespoke-build parabolic leaf springs designed by the owner to offer better ride and grip than the cart-like originals.

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The Mechanics

Power comes from a 1.8-litre high pressure turbo version of the Audi TT’s 20v engine, which in standard tune develops 225bhp, and to match this, £3,000 was spent on new TAROX brake callipers! 

But during the build the Caddy has had a remap, which along with a set of performance filters gives it a useful power boost. While it hasn’t been tested on a rolling road (yet…) the owner estimates that the current power output is somewhere in the region of 270-280bhp, which is quite a lot of grunt to put through a lightweight vehicle with old-fashioned leaf springs on its rear – it’s no wonder that a new set of springs were developed during the build.

It sounds quite fruity, not least because it’s breathing through a giant foam cone filter, but also because it has a bespoke stainless steel exhaust system, built by the owner himself to accommodate the parabolic springs and mount up to the Audi TT front pipe.

The exhaust system is something to behold – a beautifully made engineering masterpiece that really sets the truck off and adds to its performance soundtrack.

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The Appeal

This is something completely different. A subtle-looking but tyre-shredding way of getting into the Vee-Dub scene and a really unusual choice of custom.

In many ways, it’s a handful. But the engineering is brilliant, as is the performance, and there’s something very, very cool about its discreet yet purposeful appearance.

You’ll know instantly if it’s your cup of tea or not – and if it is, then rest assured that it has been properly built, is completely rot-free and is the perfect way of raising a few eyebrows over at Santa Pod. We love it.

"Interested parties should note that this vehicle was subject of a cat d insurance claim in 2009"

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.

Vehicle specification
  • Year 1988
  • Make Volkswagen
  • Model Caddy
  • Colour Black
  • Odometer 0
  • Engine size 1781CC
  • Location Hertfordshire
Bidding history
77 bids
  • RugCrea•••• £7,700 03/11/20
  • Jerseyd•••• £7,600 03/11/20
  • RugCrea•••• £7,500 03/11/20
  • Jerseyd•••• £7,400 03/11/20
  • RugCrea•••• £7,300 03/11/20
  • Jerseyd•••• £7,200 03/11/20
  • Jerseyd•••• £7,100 03/11/20
  • Biggest•••• £7,000 03/11/20
  • Biggest•••• £6,900 03/11/20
  • Jerseyd•••• £6,800 03/11/20

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