Beach Bunny: Keith Archer’s Hand Crafted MK1 Rabbit
You sign into your favorite forum, head to the build threads and make your way through the recent updates. Most lead to very presentable cars and even some become features in either print or on sites like Canibeat, but then you come across build threads that are just that – builds. These are cars that someone has saved from the crusher or just from some negligent owner to create a car that stands out and not because it has a mod list longer than a dictionary has words or wheels worth more than the crown jewels.
As I read through the email that was sent to me from owner Keith Archer about his 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit I could tell that I had accidentally stumbled across one of these rare cars. I say accidentally stumbled because I happened to run into Sean Dougherty who shot this car at Southern Worthersee and after talking shop and drinking a couple beers he then told me he had just the car for me. Soon after getting back home I found a full shoot of this Rabbit and he was right as this car was right up my alley. I started to go through all the info and shots to see what my plan of attack would be. My eyes rolled over “not too much that you can really put on a “list of mods”” when asked for a mod list and that’s when I knew this was no average build.
When Keith got his hands on this Rabbit, he knew he had his work cut out for him as it showed up with basically the 1.6 diesel motor and two front seats. Most would have found stock interior and went on to the next thing but not Keith. The lack of interior would lead to him making his own door panels, headliner, finish panels and center console. For the rear, Keith decided to fabricate a custom wood floor instead of installing a rear seat back into the car which he puts to good use.
While cleaning up the engine bay, Keith decided to keep the 1.6 diesel motor when others would have elected to go for a swap because he loved the feel the chattering diesel gave the car. The diesel is nestled into a tucked and completely redone bay which Keith decided to undertake in the middle of the winter but his hard work really paid off.
With everything going on with this car inside and out, Keith did actually have a plan for this car. From the start was to build a “beach cruiser” that he could enjoy and use. Things like the rear wood floor were built not only because it looked good but because it would be easy to clean out after a day at the beach. The roof rack with the surfboard ready for action isn’t just a show piece either. Sure it might not flaunt “legit” wheels or cast a long mod list of fancy parts but it’s a car that has been built to daily driven, daily beaten and daily enjoyed. Keith’s MK1 Rabbit is a prime example of what the car scene should be, cars that are built to be driven and enjoyed not to just sit in a garage waiting for a sunny day to go out and brag about a mod list, so take note.
Keith would like to thank: “My close friend Frank Kardok for helping me turn wrenches”
Editor: cristian loza