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Arándano: A 1975 Single Cab

Purchased 9 April 2013

Arándano, originally from Mexico, is welcomed to the family.

[1975 Blue Single Cab

This is an interesting and unique vehicle, being the only single cab pickup ever built in Germany and delivered to Mexico, as evidenced by the "ME" export code. How did this happen? German-made Volkswagens are not allowed to be sold in Mexico, since Mexican VWs are all supposed to be built in the Volkswagen de México plant in Puebla. The history of this pickup, made in Germany and shipped to Mexico, is provided below, and it does involve the Peubla plant.

More pictures:

And some details for the aficianados:

A deciphering of the M-codes:

M-code plate:

52 084 059
098 171 209 547
A7A751 AD5 Z21 070 071
07 2 7707 ME 2610 51

Interpretation of M-codes:

098  radio model "Ingolstadt"
171  tubeless bias-ply tires (?)
209  PVC tilt
547  corrosion protection
A7A7 paint code L345: licht grau | light gray
51   interior leatherette dunkelbeige | dark beige
AD5  unknown
Z21  package: Z01 and Z05:
     Z01 bad weather package comprising:
       652 interval wiper facility
       659 halogen fog lamps
       571 rear fog lamp
     Z05 includes:
       025 trip counter and clock
       162 rubber on bumpers
070  tilt and bows for pick-up
071  second lid in side panel (storage compartmnet doors both sides)
07   day 7 of the month
2    February
7707 temporary serial number
ME   delivered to Mexico
2    Type 2 body
 61  Pickup, LHD
   0 ?
5    engine 51 kW | 70 BHP Type 1 (AS) - 1584cc, 37 kW (50 bhp DIN) - Stiff instead of torsion suspended clutch plate
 1   manual transaxle

History of this vehicle:

The following history for this particular VW pickup is constructed following conversations with all previous owners. Facts have not yet been independently verified.

In 1974/1975, the Volkswagen de México assembly plant in Puebla considered building VW pickups in Mexico for the Mexican and Central American market. Volkswagens built in Germany were not sold in Mexico; instead they were assembled in Puebla from a mix of German and Mexican-made parts. In order to fully evaluate the pickup from a manufacturing point of view, including optional equipment, the Puebla factory ordered two vehicles: one single cab and one double cab pickup, with all available options (excepting the Arctic package). The double cab was a beautiful deep green, and the single cab an unassuming light gray. These vehicles had the VW export code "ME", for Mexico. It is believed that these are the only two pickups ever imported directly from Germany to Mexico.

The options, as detailed in the M-code plate of the single cab, included bumper rubbers, double treasure chest doors, PVC tilt, "ambulance fans", trip odometer and clock, and a foul weather package. The Z01 foul weather package included front and rear fog lights, rear window defroster, and intermittent wipers. It had an upright AS engine, and an extra-stiff clutch. The collection of these options on a lowly pickup is a rare thing indeed--possibly unique. Since the location or state of the double cab is currently unknown, the options that it had are also unknown.

Volkswagen de México's assessment included evaluating the possibility of using Mexican-made glass, brake systems, lights, and wiring, but ultimately it was decided that the production of pickups in Puebla would not be pursued. Since these two special-order German-built VWs could not be sold in Mexico, other options for their disposition would be needed.

Bill Jones, the owner of the Autohaus Volkswagen and Porsche dealership in San Antonio, Texas, had been a regular visitor to the Puebla plant, having consulted on the manufacturing lines and whatnot. The two pickups were offered to him for sale, and he happily accepted delivery in Laredo, driving them back to San Antonio. The double cab was soon thereafter sold to an acquaintance of Jones in the DC area, who promptly resold it. The rest of its story is not known to Jones.

Bob Jones, son of Bill, ended up with the single cab. The pickup "wanted for nothing" and was fitted with a heavily modified 2.0-L engine in Jones Autowerks. "It would go 100 miles an hour on the flat."

By the time I came into possession of this pickup, it had seen rougher times. One previous owner (PO) recounted rear-ending someone and crunching the nose. Another used it to execute an amateur paint job, with sparkly two-tone blue colors but never having bothered to remove surface hardware--some was simply painted right over! Someone switched the nose emblem to the early bay style, probably after the nose crunching. :P Another PO replaced the stock mirrors with some monstrosities from Ford, but those got switched back by me right away. All four POs lived in San Antonio, Texas, and so did not see any value in keeping the heating system intact, so critical parts of the ductwork under the vehicle had been removed, and require restoration in order to get heat to the cab. The current engine, a CB type, was very rough, and needed a rebuild. The PVC canopy, however, has been in dry storage nearly all this time, and is in excellent condition. The hoops and bows are incomplete, but excellent replacement parts hand made by Derek Gregg (DG Creations) have been obtained. I will reproduce the wood stringers myself, in red oak.

As of December 2013, the top end of the engine has been completely rebuilt by Pablo Sanchez of Santa Fe, using pistons, cylinders, and heads graced by Adrian Audirac's magic touch at Headflow Masters. The dual Weber 40 IDF carburetors were also rebuilt, and the engine runs well (though I still prefer fuel injection).

The seats still require reupholstering, and the doors require a complete rebuild. The wiring needs attention, and was all spray painted black along with the rest of the interior (another lovely PO touch). All that will get cleaned up. Then there will be the restoration of the fog lights (front and rear!) and bumper rubbers.

I'll leave it in its blue paint for now while I work on restoring the rest of it, but it will get repainted in the original but rather drab L345, light gray. The nasty black bedliner all over the bed and the dropgates will also have to be removed. The floor in the treasure chest needs to be refinished, but the treasure chest doors have now undergone restoration, with new hinges and seals, and cleaned up lock hardware. Lots more elbow grease will be needed in the times ahead.

last updated 31 December 2013