Mexico Adopted The Rabbit Convertible
By JOHN M. DERBY
Times Founding Publisher
November 15, 2018
Kathy’s dad thought she was crazy; paying $11,000
for a brand new Volkswagen convertible in 1980.
It was not a Volkswagen bug, but one of the newer models
built in the Carmen plant in Italy.
Who would have thought that Volkswagen would outlast her
father’s Cadillac many times over, and still be on
the road today humming from the beaches in Baja to the little
town of Mulege where it is a regular sight.
For 35 years the engine had not been touched, and when
it started using oil, it helped keep the mosquitoes at bay.
Then when it was using almost a quart of oil to a fill up
of gas, we broke down and took it to the local mechanic.
Mechanics in Mexico are very familiar with Volkswagens.
There are tons of them still running here. The campers are
very popular, and the original bugs are still raced in the
Our first choice was to replace the whole motor. That turned
out to be a false hope because motors for that year car
were just not available and the mechanic said he could fix
the old motor.
He started working on it in the spring of 2016, when we
left for our home in California. We paid him in advance
for the new motor which never arrived, so he owed us money.
This is never a good situation in Mexico. The rule is to
pay for the parts up front and the repair work after the
job is completed.
Fortunately, we had a friend who stayed in Baja most of
the summer and gave us an update on the work. He looked
in on the mechanic periodically and the report we got was
that the mechanic had a blanket and the entire engine was
laid out systematically on that blanket, but there was little
movement on the repair.
The next report said that the mechanic was waiting for
parts he had ordered. We dreaded the day when we expected
to hear that the parts were no where to be found, and the
Red little Rabbit would never make it back on the road.
Seven months went by and it was time to return to Mexico.
One of the first things on our mind was to check on the
To our amazement it was sitting in the mechanic’s
yard, all back together. It had a layer of dust a half inch
thick. And the mechanic said there were extra parts he had
to buy, so there was an additional bill.
The total bill was $18,000 pesos which equaled about $1,000
with the peso at 18 to $1 US dollar.
How’s the Rabbit convertible doing today?
It’s got a new paint job for $500 and looks and runs
good as ever.
Mexicans love it so much they want to buy it, however,
it is not for sale!