Unexceptional Classics

Unexceptional Classifieds: Volkswagen Caddy pickup

by Antony Ingram
3 March 2023 3 min read
Unexceptional Classifieds: Volkswagen Caddy pickup
Photos: NCV Sales

Price: £8990
Mileage: 110,528
Condition: Like a dark blue unicorn
Advert: NCV Sales

Volkswagen wasn’t fooling anyone when it applied its badges to the Skoda Pickup in the 1990s and sold it as the Caddy, but it still seemed somehow appropriate – given the first Caddy models were light utility pickups, rather than the vans the name had since been applied to.

The Caddy had been around since 1979, based originally on the Mk1 Volkswagen Golf. To further confuse things, it wasn’t called Caddy until three years later, when it hit Europe; the model was originally destined for the truck-lovin’ United States, sold as the Rabbit Pickup.

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Those Mk1-based pickups have since become a darling of the watercooled VW scene, and you’re more likely to see one today on a set of shiny BBS wheels and wearing custom paintwork than you are one with its bed filled with mulch.

The same is becoming true of the generation seen here – up for grabs through NCV Sales, in Newark – but if anything these Skoda-based trucks are even more special to see in this condition. Neither Skoda nor VW was as frequent a sight on the roads in the ’90s as its predecessor was in the ’80s, and few seem to have survived, not helped by their propensity to rust.

Unexceptional classifieds: Volkswagen Caddy pickup

That was a characteristic of the Skoda Felicia too, on which this generation of Caddy was based. The cues are obvious despite the VW badges, particularly inside where the Felicia dash, seats and steering wheel are carried over wholesale. Not that VW buyers would have felt too short-changed – the Felicia was the first Skoda model where Volkswagen’s influence on quality (if not rustproofing) began to take hold.

Power came from VW units, either a 1.6 injected petrol or the 1.9 naturally-aspirated diesel in this car, an engine you’d also have found in Polos, Golfs, and Ibizas at the time. Not exciting, with 63bhp, but liable to go on forever and not put too much strain on the fuel budget of a small business.

You might be most familiar with this chassis from the gleefully self-aware Skoda Felicia Fun, which painted the pickup bright yellow, featured a pair of jump seats that slide out into the wood-decked pickup bed, and had the recurring visual motif of a frog wearing a crown, which would sound more strange if the rest of the vehicle wasn’t already completely bonkers.

Those Funs are the collector models of the range, but our classified is more unexceptional, even if its condition is the complete opposite. According to NCV Sales, the Caddy has apparently lived on display in a Volkswagen showroom for the past seven years, which has no doubt contributed to its tidiness – and is no doubt inflating the price, which is a tenner under £9000.

Other than some wear on the steering wheel and seats – not unexpected for a car with 110,000 miles on the clock – it must be about as straight as they come, and even has the original VW stereo still installed. Check out the condition of the load bed, too – usually the first place these things begin to fall apart.

We don’t see too many commercial vehicles at the Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional, and those that do turn up tend to be from the British Leyland stable. If you end up adding this Caddy to your collection, make sure to bring it along.

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