This Humble Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup Is Getting a Mid-Engine V12 From a JDM Toyota
“Big engine in a small car” is a phrase that instantly grabs our attention, like moths to a flame, or maybe fire ants to a sugar-coated Dorito. “Big engine in the middle of a small pickup” makes us want to drop everything and stare because something is clearly a glitch in reality. Behold! The single greatest Volkswagen pickup build I’ve ever seen.
This is a first-gen Golf-based Volkswagen Rabbit pickup, which was also known as the Volkswagen Caddy abroad. While those are lovably light pickups to begin with, this VW has been widened by eight inches to fit a V12 Toyota 1GZ-FE engine from a Japanese-market Toyota Century right in the middle.
Clearly, its builder Dylan Mitchell expects it to be fast. The 5.0-liter 1GZ-FE puts out 305 horsepower and 355 pound-feet of torque, per CarThrottle—and it certainly isn’t stressing too hard to achieve those figures. Tuners have coaxed almost 1,000 hp out of these V12s.
There’s custom suspension all around on this Rabbit, complete with a race-car-style pushrod design in the rear and a front suspension that used the front subframe from a 2007 Mazda Miata as a very competent starting-off point. Mitchell also installed a full roll cage, which ties into the front of the car to shore up the extra space under the hood. The floor is all new, which gave the roll cage some solid metal to attach to.
In order to handle all the power expected from that V12, the transmission came out of something a little easier to find in the States: a Lamborghini Gallardo.
The sheer amount of fabrication on this pickup is incredible, from the roll cage to the new frame rails. In addition to all the custom parts, the off-the-shelf goods had to be made to work with each other, too. The Lambo transmission had to have a custom adapter plate and an entirely custom flywheel design to work with the Toyota V12, for example.
Then there’s the entire body of the car, which was laser-cut right down the middle so it could be widened by eight inches. Mitchell is going to fantastic lengths to try and make it look like it’s always been that way, buying two identical European Caddy grilles to combine into one and seamlessly hide the split in the middle up front. The original tailgate with “Volkswagen” across the middle was left intact, with four-inch strips added on each side to keep the extra width as inconspicuous as possible.
The goal was to look like the original truck bed, except with enough room to fit a giant JDM V12 in the middle. It’s a work in progress, and we can’t wait to see how it turns out. We’ll definitely be watching Mitchell’s channel on YouTube here for what happens next.
[H/T Wide_Riot on r/cars!]
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