At the end of July 2023, we had our first look at the turbo Suzuki Hayabusa Volkswagen Rabbit pickup project that the guys over at Rich Rebuilds are currently working on. Since it was the first video in the series, no one knew how it was going to turn out—but the idea seemed potentially interesting. Take an incredibly lightweight, early-80s VW Caddy, mount a Gen One Hayabusa engine at the front of the bed, just behind the cab to make it mid-engine, and go from there. Sounds totally simple, right? 

I am, of course, joking—absolutely nothing about that sounds even a tiny bit simple. Then again, YouTube channels like Rich Rebuilds wouldn’t be half as entertaining if viewers didn’t get to watch the builders rescue themselves from new problems they’ve run into while building.  

In large part, that’s what most of the video time in the past two episodes of this series was about: problem-solving. When we last checked in with the RR crew, the original plan was to cut out a small, rusted-out section of the VW’s bed so they could mount the ‘Busa engine. Unfortunately, as they soon discovered, the angle to get it to meet up with the driveshaft was going to result in a significant binding situation.  

There were other problems to solve, too—like the fact that most motorcycles, including the gen one Suzuki Hayabusa, don’t have a reverse gear. Add to that the fact that the ‘Busa sending all its power to the rear wheels of the truck would leave the front end a little floatier than they wanted, and the team found itself with multiple quandaries to ponder. 

In between that first video and this one, the RR team did a whole lot of work to solve at least some of the issues it had discovered along the way. To solve the problem of both reversing and controlling the front end a little better, they decided to go from having the VW only be powered by the turbo ‘Busa engine, and instead opted for a hybrid electric setup. To that end, they installed a tidy little electric motor and battery setup in front, to power the front wheels. It will also handle reverse gear duties—so that’s another item checked off on their build list. 

The second major thing they figured out is that since mounting the ‘Busa engine with only a tiny segment of the bed cut out would result in a suboptimal shaft angle, what they really needed to do was cut the entire bed out and make their own subframe. That way, they could mount the engine even lower down, spend plenty of time measuring to get the angle exactly right, and maybe even come up with a good place to mount a fuel cell. 

So, that’s exactly what they did. In this video, we get to see the Turbo Hayabusa Hybrid VW Caddy Pickup rolling under its own power. The engine and the electric motor still aren’t connected in any way, and there are a load of things to figure out as far as shifting the ‘Busa engine goes—but those are tomorrow’s problems for tomorrow’s Rich Rebuilds team to solve. Today, they have a partially running build that’s starting to come together nicely, and that’s a pretty excellent turn of events. 

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