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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Mk1madness, the official show

2021 was a pretty good year. There was a solid turn out and some cars I was pretty excited to see

Mary and her pickup on cookie cutters, which I believe started out as a trailer that was cut up


Chase’s sportruck



Dan’s 20v powered race inspired rabbit



Chad’s coupe



Evan’s Bali 78. One of my absolute favorite cars. This shell came from my friend Fred that I got my blue rabbit from and my wheels from. This sat in his barn next to my blue rabbit iirc



Becker’s old PBR, he had sold it to Jerry by this time





Chad’s inca pickup. Inca brown has to be the best color for a pickup



[mention]Mattrad [/mention] in the recycle rabbit. I was so excited to finally see it. This car has always really done it for me



Blair in his lovely Miami Blue 77



[mention]Mattrad [/mention] again in this mars red s1. I really liked the tv lights and the 15s but he’s since gone with 16x7s



Mike from budget buildz had just finished his stage 3 alh swapped lago 80 truck. The thing sounded wild, turbo whistle that could be heard for miles



And of course that was Forrest’s first year at madness. He took home Best Pickup, well deserved





Tony made it out in the Reiger Corracco, i believe this was its debut although it may have been at Alpine Vag Fair previously



I got to see Johns Jetta for the first time, a car I had dropped over on Instagram for years



Dennis had his Golf he had brought back from
Puerto Rico. I was hoping to also see the zombie rabbit, but a foreign import was also cool to check out



JonFarthammer (Mike I think is his name?) came out with two of his gorgeous sportrucks




And it was humbling to see Becker back in That Yellow Truck



I’ve hit the photo limit, I’ll share the last few as well as my favorite two cars in my next post


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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
The car that really got me was Jess’s Panama Brown 77. Clint did floors in it, but Jess did the aba swap, put the interior in it, cleaned it up, did suspension and brakes and wheels and man was it perfect. I got giddy driving behind that thing











It makes me want to roll my fenders more and get my car lower. I may do that soon.

I was also happy to see my good friend David made it down for the day



Of course Clint had the mountain green pickup



Someone snapped this cool shot from behind my car at the showfield, I thought it was pretty cool



Tony Watson snapped a picture of my family and I walking around checking out the cars, my son had his tricycle decked out to keep him cool and happy haha



But that was that, the show was over and it was time to pack up and say our goodbyes. I had an incredible time





Some guy took some pictures of my car on the way home just as I crossed the CT border and I happened to find them on Facebook





The car did awesome on the way home, but the rotted/half rolled rear arches tore up my rear tires on every bump, and of course replacement 165/45/16 are near impossible to find



We made it back home with no hiccups, the 1.6td performed incredibly and my new rad fan held up for the 6-7hr drive




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Discussion Starter · #43 · (Edited)
I forgot to mention, I had bought a replica of the original Rabbit windshield banner that I had held on to for a couple years. I decided my first madness was a great time to debut the new banner, so I installed it with soapy water the night before we left. I squeezed out as much of the soapy water as I could that night and left it to dry for the morning



It seemed pretty well adhered so we hit the road, but about 5 minutes in we encountered a hurricane. We stopped about 20 minutes in to the trip to pick up a set of wheels from my friends house and by that time all I had left was one of the B’s. Too much soap, plus hurricane winds and rains and active wipers was too much for the graphic to withstand. I was really bummed. Hopefully someone else makes another replica


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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
I ought to get better about updating this haha

Madness was mid July 2021, and a few weeks later in early August it was time for Wolfsgart again. My dear friend Cody had picked up an 87 cabby and I commend him into taking the drive with me after we installed a fresh top on his car



Wolfsgart is about 4-4.5 hours north of me in Burlington VT, and I knew my car was cut out for the trip, but Cody’s newly acquired cabby was still unfamiliar territory and boy did it give us an interesting ride



It ran alright, still had its original 1.8 cis engine, but neither of us are terribly familiar with cis so we weren’t able to properly correct the small issues it have. Cody tinkered with every part of the fuel system from the tank to the bay, built his own fuel accumulator, swapped pumps, made lines, but no matter what the car would stumble sometimes and had a wierd issue where it would seemingly run out of fuel or be unable to pickup fuel from the tank after only using a few gallons. There were lots of fuel stops and pit stops on the drive up and down



But regardless, we made the trek without any major issues. His car would only cruise alright at 66 or over, my car would only cruise alright at 65 or below, but we made it work. Long highway cruises with your friends are damn near the best part of any show. The journey is just as great as the destination







Cody’s car died as soon as we pulled into the lot to get our camping spot, so we just pushed it into place and set up camp and chilled for the night. We got a camper spot away from the main camping area so we could relax and have a calm night. The main camping area is usually a big party and I’m too much of a grumpy old curmudgeon at 25 to be dealing with that haha. We ran to Walmart and bought a little charcoal grille to use as a fire pit and Cody and my girlfriend and I sat around the fire enjoying each others company. I wish I had taken more pictures, our camp setup was pretty good

Cody’s car was being a ****head (it had really just run out of fuel when we pulled in, a gallon in the tank the next morning was all it needed to fire right back up) but he didn’t trust it so we ripped around town in my rabbit for the weekend, despite it filling with soot from the open downpipe and holes in the floor



The show was great as always, that was the first year of the radwood inspired Retro Night. Air Out in Winooski was cancelled last minute so the team was able to throw together another event that was pretty alright given the small timeframe




Needed more lighting tho for sure haha. Hopefully this year was better, I didn’t make it to Wolfsgart 10 unfortunately.

I did get to see some pretty awesome cars tho, and quite a few I hadn’t seen before













We had an awesome time as always. Wolfsgart is one of those great shows where you can just cruise around the town and see some really awesome cars on the road and at local business. This year especially I kept running into the wildest people. At the gas station near my house, just before heading up to VT, I had a random crackhead comment on my fitment and keep sticking stuff between my tire and fender to see how close it was. Then in the parking lot of a 99 shortly after arriving in Burlington, some lady told me all about this rabbit that a college friend used to have and how she used to…ride….in the back of it all the time. Then pulling out of that 99 some guy frantically pulled up next to me at a stoplight and shouted “is that thing really blowing black smoke?!?!” So of course I had to roll cool as hard as I could pulling away from the light.



The cruise down went alright, I had to keep my car near 70 so Cody’s car would run alright, and it was shaking terribly with the bad alignment. I made it home without any hiccups, but my tires were DESTROYED worse than I’ve ever seen a tire get. Still, it was awesome and I’m always excited to go back










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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
One more for tonight. I’ve been having a real tough time recently and this is a fun outlet that really helps me

Wolfsgart was kind of the end of the show season for me last year. I went to Fieldwerks at the end of august but didn’t really take any pictures, I didn’t go to Eurosummit or anything. I just drove the car around and enjoyed it. My daily was down during most of October so the rabbit was on daily duty and faired well despite the 20* mornings



Going through pictures it looks like I did hit Staggered at the end of the summer at Thompson Motorsports Park like 25 minutes from my house. It used to be at the Big E fairgrounds in Springfield mass and I loved it but since it moved last year it hasn’t been great. I just went again this past weekend and was underwhelmed. Lots of Japanese/drift cars



Toward the end of October I was heading to work and I suddenly had no brakes on my street. Pedal went right to the floor. I turned the car around and pulled it in the driveway and let it sit over the winter. My master cylinder died and I decided to worry about it once the weather warmed up. I know many people use the downtime of the winter months to really go to town on their projects, but I actually often focus on other things over the winter. I buy/sell/trade/collect guitars and music gear so I get pretty into that after Halloween



Come April it was time for shows to start again. The rabbit awoke from its slumber and I spent a day installing a new aftermarket master cylinder and took it to New England Dustoff, again at Thompson.



That show was alright, it was nice to be around vws again after a 6 month break. The turnout was good and I saw some cool cars





My friend Dylan has picked up an 86 Jetta with 60k original miles that’s spotless and this was its first outing



I also hit the local CT VW association dustoff a couple minutes up the road from me.



My new master turned out to be no good. I had brakes, but kept locking up the drivers side caliper. After a few stops it would be completely seized and start to smoke. So again my car was down for the count. I ordered another master from rockauto and installed it as quickly as I could. I had brakes again, but had a soft pedal. There was a leak somewhere. I found a small leak coming from around the brake switch on the master. I pulled the brake switch out, wrapped it in Teflon tape and got it halfway threaded back into the master when:



I snapped the port right off the master. Awesome. It was getting close to time for madness and I was in a rush so this stressed me right out. Fortunately I had recently bought yet another 80 2dr rabbit (I have 3) from my brother and I was able to steal the master cylinder off of that and get it installed and bled and I was alright. You may notice my rear brake lines aren’t installed, I hadn’t been able to get fluid out of the rear brakes, so while I had the beam out to do some rot repair, I installed new soft lines back there, thinking the originals had collapsed. I still was unable to get fluid out of the rear even with a vacuum bleeder so I just called off the ports in the master and left the rears disconnected. I think I need to blow out my lines and maybe get new wheel cylinders, I still haven’t fixed that.

Now to that rot repair I mentioned. Before madness the previous year, I found out my rear frame rail was completely rotted out. Like bad. I had just enough metal left on my beam mount to feel okay about driving it, but man it got worse quick. So before madness this year I decided it was time to tackle that. So I got to cutting





I’m a structural welder by trade and very confident in my skills, but bodywork and patch panels are not something I’m super comfortable with. It’s a natural part of owning these cars, but it’s something I need a lot more practice with. I did the best I could, it’s held, but it’s a lot uglier than I’d like. I’m not used to not pretty welds haha







I got it welded up and sealed and painted and called it good. In the next couple years I’d really like to get the car on a plywood rotisserie remove the whole section and properly repair it, along with the floors. This is alright for now tho.

Now comes the drama. I got the car ready to go, I felt alright about it, so it was time to head to madness. I think I did the rot repair and brake work on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after work and left for madness Friday morning. It was a thrash but I got it done

As you saw last year for madness, I got a big cruise together. This year it was just myself, my girlfriend and our two kids in my car (4 year old son and 2 month old daughter) and Nick Celko in his incredible body dropped pickup



I made the mistake of assuming that nicks truck was good to go because he’d built it two or three years previous. IIII waaaaas wrong. We were supposed to leave my house at 9, and at 11 Nick called saying he kept losing oil pressure and he was pulled over with a dead battery about 20 minutes from my house. So I ran up there and gave him a jump and hit the road a few hours late.

Things went well for another hour until nicks breaks locked up and we had to pull over and bleed his master cylinder. He had a vanagon manual master cylinder installed with a bleeder valve on the top so it was as simple as hopping out and cracking the bleeder to let the air out and getting back on the road. Alright. That was fine. 20 minutes further down the road we hit bad traffic and Nick pulled off to fill his 5 gallon bucket “fuel cell”

Again half an hour down the highway we hit bad traffic so we decided to pull off to get food and supplies. We hit a Burger King and of course Nicks truck got beached trying to pull in the rather steep driveway so we had to jack up his rocker and have a stranger help us shove his truck back in the street and try again. While at Burger King Nick and I tried to repair his leaking dipstick tube with some success.

We hit the road 45 minutes later to hit a Walmart and grab a few things for the trip. Then when trying to leave, Nicks truck wouldn’t start. It would crank and crank but wouldn’t fire. He thought it was a battery issue so he tried using his jump pack but it still wouldn’t fire. So I ran jumper cables off my car, and the jump pack and still nothing. It would burble and try to fire the second you started cranking and then nothing. He ran in Walmart and grabbed silicone spray but it wouldn’t crank fast enough for that to have any effect. So he ran back in and grabbed a fresh battery. Still nothing. So we had his fresh battery, a jump pack, and my battery all connected to this truck trying to get it to fire. Nick was about ready to call it and just head home, but I wasn’t going to let him give up.

We took one more look and realized that the wire running to his fuel cutoff solenoid on his injection pump was loose; so it likely just wasn’t getting fuel. We tightened that up and Nick bumped the key and…

Instant flames

The wire burned up all the way to the fuse lock pretty immediately. Nick jumped out and in a panic tried to rip the wire in half and burned his finger pretty bad


Fortunately he had a set of test leads in his toolbox and we were able to run a little wire from the shutoff solenoid to the battery and were able to get the truck started. That was a temporary fix that we expected to last a few miles but it actually held the whole trip. It was run out the hood, over the fender, in the door and behind the seat where his battery was haha.

So we hit the road again and had pretty smooth sailing through the rest of Connecticut and into New York. We pulled over at a rest stop in New York for fuel when we found another issue.

As soon as Nick shut off his truck he noticed it puking coolant. Apparently his fan plug had rattled loose and has fan hadn’t been running for a couple hours, so his engine got real hot and his radiator started leaking at the seams. Again it seemed like we were done. We pushed the truck into a shady spot and let it sit and cool down for a good while. It was starting to get late. We planned to leave at 9am and arrive at 3pm, it had to be at least 5pm and we weren’t even halfway there. After letting the truck cool down, we filled it back up with water and decided to keep going. Nick wrapped electrical tape all around his fan plug, tying it off to several points in the bay to ensure that the plug wouldn’t come out again

Again we had smooth sailing for a few hours until we had crossed the border into New Jersey and it was dark. We were cruising the Garden State Parkway when Nick realized he had no headlights. Anyone who’s driven the GSP knows it’s craaaawling with Jersey state troopers. I had Nick cruise close behind me and try to just use my headlights for awhile.

We had to pull off ont he shoulder to fill up the fuel bucket, and just as he was finishing, a state trooper pulled up behind us to check on us. Nick started walking towards the cop to let him know we were alright, when the officer called for Nick to return to his truck over the PA. Uh oh. A few moments later the cop walked over to Nicks truck to see what was going on. He didn’t know about the headlights, he hadn’t noticed the suuuuuper definitely legal 5 gallon unsealed bucket full of diesel in the bed, his issue was that Nick had a trailer hitch ball in front of his license plate that had a big cover on it in the shape of a fish, and that fish was blocking LEO’s view of his plate. So he made Nick pull it off before returning on his way, but not before giving a suspicious glance at the homer bucket

We again cruised through Jersey, off the parkway and on to 276 in Pennsylvania, the final highway to madness. It was getting late, it was probably about 10pm when we stopped at a restaurant stop to get the kids fed and give the cars a break. I was getting stressed about my kids being in the car all day and decided to just get to the campground as fast as I could, Nick had solved his headlight issue and said he was alright for the rest of the trip, so I left on my own. I pulled in to the campground at 12:15am. God what a long day, but the car did great and I made it.

Nick had gotten a flat tire, repaired it on the side of the road, and then his phone died so he stopped at a casino down the road from maple grove and charged it for a bit. He got to the campground a little closer to 1am.

I started unpacking the car in the dark and getting the camo set up. My kids were hot and exhausted and dirty and my girlfriend was very stressed about this whole ordeal. I decided to take the lead and handle getting everything set up while also trying to keep the kids calm. I got our big tent all set up when I realized we forgot one very important thing

The rain fly

The tent wa a early entirely mesh and very exposed. While I love the mk1 community and trust a lot of y’all, I wasn’t about to put my kids in an entirely exposed tent in the middle of a field surrounded by strangers. My girlfriend had had it. That was too much. Out of desperation, I spent the very last of my money on a hotel room so we could get some rest and get cleaned up. I had no idea what the next day would hold and I honestly wasn’t worried about it. I just wanted to get my family taken care of.

I’ll pick up in my next post with the rest of my madness trip
 

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Heck, people used to come over to the west coast with wagons and horseback. A rusty Rabbit would certainly be faster and probably safer than that.

The future generations will even be softer and hotter.
Ah yes. Migration in search of work was a dangerous endeavor as well, although not quite as noble a cause as traveling to a car show to join your peers in memorizing the paint colors of economy cars made by a company that doesn’t care about you one bit
 

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I’m not looking to do a build thread so much (can you even call this thing a “build?”) as I’m looking to just document the time I’ve spent with this car




What better place to go than a 20 year old forum that nobody uses anymore full of dead picture links and shortcuts that don’t work anymore? :screwy:

My journey down the rabbit hole started in August of 2016. I had already been into Volkswagens for a few years, having purchased an 84 vanagon to daily drive in 2013, then a mk4 2.0 golf the following year and a mk2 gli two years later.





The mk2 was my first “project” car, it was a half million mile rotbox with a quarter million mile aba swap. It was a pile, but for some reason I saw something in it and spent whatever spare cash I had (which wasn’t much at 17) picking up parts to keep it going and pretty it up. I was gung ho on that car, hitting every local show and swap meet I could and clearing them out of mk2 parts.

The premier local Vw gathering here in CT is the Terryville Bug-a-fair, an old school air cooled get together that usually pulls in a few hundred bugs, busses, ghias, and even a good crowd of watercooled stuff. I’ve gone every year for a decade not for the cars, but for the killer swap meet. Of course it’s air cooled focused, but there’s always a few good troves of early watercooled parts there.

2016 was my fourth year there, and it wasn’t a great one. Boy was it hot. It was north of 100 degrees when I pulled in that year and the swap meet wasn’t turning up any treasures. I hung around for an hour or two but I was over it, quickly. That same day, a couple of local guys were hosting a show in northern Massachusetts called Fieldwerks. It looked like a good time and was something I wanted to check out so I packed up the car and headed up to Mass.

The main road out of Terryville was being repaved at the time, so I had to take a detour down some small backroads to get back to the highway. I was cruising around the side streets, craning my neck to look behind houses and down alleys hoping to spot something cool, when out of the corner of my eye I saw the reflection of the sun off a headlight from on top of a hill.

I’m pretty sure I shouted something. I knew immediately what it was. A rabbit! A westy! I ripped I’m the parking lot to check it out. There, amongst a pile of bent up rotted squarebodies, was a rabbit pickup, a dasher coupe, and a rabbit. A Mountain Green rabbit. A 2dr, Mountain Green, diesel rabbit C with tan interior and good patina.




Maaaaaaaaaan it was perfect. It was my dream car at the time. I was big into mk2s and going fast at the time, but my best friend from highschool had an incredible, clean, all original one owner 80 tarpon blue 2dr diesel deluxe that I’d ridden around in a bunch and it really turned me on to rabbits, and early westies in general.



He still has it although he doesn’t drive it as much as he should. Some of you may know him as mk1sadness on Instagram.



But this car was exactly what I wanted. I looked it all over, up and down, inside and out and I was in love. The interior was fairly complete and really pretty decent aside from the dash





The towers were good, the drivetrain was complete aside from a radiator and alternator



I had to have it. While laying under the car seeing how much floor was left (which was most of the floor, save for the drivers rear) I called up David and said “I bought a mountain green!”
“You bought a rabbit??”
“Well…no…but I’m buying a rabbit! I think. I hope. I don’t know if it’s actually for sale. But I found a mountain green and I have to have it”

I did what we all do and left a note on a torn off piece of a Dunkin’ Donuts bag giving my name and number, and I did my best to convey my desire for the car while also sounding like I wasn’t going to waste the owners time.

All I could do was wait and hope for the best, so I packed up and headed for Fieldwerks.




Fieldwerks is a great show, it’s a calm little gathering with a limbo and some music and it’s always a fun event. I had a great time my first year and have gone back every year since. On my way back to my car, I felt my phone ring. I tried not to get my hopes up.
Unknown caller
Bristol CT
“Hello?”
“Is this Ethan? I’m Cynthia, I have the little green Volkswagen you left the note on? It was my dads car, but he died a few weeks ago, so it is for sale”

Score! I’m sure we all know the feeling. I’ve left notes on several dozen windshields, doors, mailboxes. Rarely do I get a response, and even less often is it the response I’m hoping for. But this time, it worked. I was elated

We talked for a bit about the history of the car, her dad, her memories of his vws. Her dad was into GM stuff, he liked to build Camaros in the 80s and 90s. Blown big blocks aren’t known for their fuel economy, so the old man would buy up diesel vw’s in the days of 50$ rabbits to beat around in. This car was a parts car for one of his pickups, he bought it in 1990 and never touched it. He didn’t drive it, didn’t start it, there it sat in that parking lot for 26 years until I found it.

She had been told the engine was seized, but a friend in the know had told her that the car was a rare color and was desirable, and that she should try to get 1000$ for it. All things considered, that’s a fine price. I would have been happy to pay it had I not been 19 and less dollars than I did fingers. After some back and forth, I offered to show up the following Tuesday with 600$ and she said “I can work with that”

Killer. 600$. I could do that.

I scraped together what cash I had, sold some parts, borrowed a bit, and managed to get 600$. I made the hour drive from my house in Plainfield CT to Bristol where the car was. On the way I scheduled a roll back to meet me there to bring the car home.

Hardly able to contain my excitement, I handed Cynthia the 600$, expecting us to fill out some paperwork or something. Instead, she asked when I could have the other 400$. I was shocked. I asked what she meant. Her understanding was that I was coming with the 600$ as a down payment, and I’d give her the other 400$ when I could get it. I was crushed. I didn’t know what to do. I got back in the car, head hung low. Where was I going to find another 400$? My girlfriend asked what was going on and I explained the situation. She was just as bummed as I was. After a moment of silence, she said “well it’s a good thing I have 400$”
I lit up. I hurriedly told Cynthia I’d be back the following day with the cash.

The next day I stopped at the bank to borrow the last 400 from my girlfriend, and drove all the way back out to go get my new car. Cynthia had all the paperwork in order and I had all the cash. The tow truck was waiting for me when I pulled up. Man what a feeling.

The process of buying the car and getting it home isn’t very exciting, but once it was home I was ready to tear into it.



I called Clint to come down and check the car out and see if there was any work he could help me with. We’d just met a month or two before but he was more than willing to take the 2hr drive down in the woody westy he had just put together to lend a hand. What a swell fellow. That was a productive night. We buffed the paint (this was just a quick pass with some 3m rubbing compound on a rotary buffer



Cobbled together a radiator situation



And got the old girl to run! I think whoever told the seller that the engine was seized was just trying to get a deal. We turned the key and the care instantly came to life. It sat for 26 years with 3/4 tank of diesel and it ran like brand new. I drove it that night. I was over the moon instantly. I was so ready to dive in to my new project.


That’s enough for tonight. It’s a long read, I’m doing this more to keep a record than I am for entertainment. But if you’ve read this far, kudos to you. I’ll update as regularly as I can. I have 6 years of photos and events to log on here haha
Where it's green & a diesel can we call it Cecil the Seasick Diesel ?
 
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