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The Mexican VW Single Cab

This truck was built in 1975 as a factory sample by the factory in Germany
specifically for the Mexican VW Plant in Puebla

For sale: $38,250

(1/2 the appraised value)
contact email: me75sc@tauxe.net

Appraisal provided on request.

[1975 Mexican Single Cab]

This is an interesting and unique vehicle, having been built in Germany and delivered to Mexico, as evidenced by the "ME" export code. "How did this happen?" you may well ask, since German-made Volkswagens are not allowed to be sold or registered in Mexico, likely as a protectionist measure for the Mexican VW industry. The history of this pickup, made in Germany for export to Mexico, is provided below, and is part of what makes it special.

A lot of work has been done on this truck in order to bring it back to its factory configuration. Aside from the engine, all the missing bits and bobs that were special to this vehicle have been verified or painstakingly acquired. All the parts are there, from the original dual-position fog light switch to the recently-fabricated slats for the pickup bed. This makes it a great candidate for a full-on restoration. I've gone through one restoration, and I just don't have another in me, truth be told.

I would love for someone to pick up this pickup and return it to its full glory.

Also read the captivating build thread on The Samba.

Here is the interesting M-code plate (in the original light gray color) and the build plate:

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   delivery 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

Those M-codes are in complete agreement with the options found on the vehicle during the refurbishment and during its appriasal inspection: extra wires, odd switches, and the complete original PVC tilt canvas! This truck came with all the extras, which few pickup drivers would have ever ordered, so that the Puebla factory could see what might involved (details below.)

A quick walk-around:

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 exported directly from Germany to Mexico.

The options, as detailed in the M-code plate of the single cab and confirmed on the VW "Birth Certificate", include 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 condition 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. Here are the only older photos I could find, from two owners ago. Note the mismatched emblem on the nose, the ill-fitting tilt, and the wrong mirrors. All these have been made right and proper, along with a lot of other stuff!

One previous owner (PO) recounted rear-ending someone and crunching the nose. Another used it to execute a short-lived paint job, with sparkly two-tone blue colors but never having bothered to remove surface hardware--some was simply painted right over! This is what the truck looked like when I bought it, after the previous owner had painted it:

All four POs lived in San Antonio, Texas, and none saw any value in keeping the heating system intact. Sadly, critical parts of the ductwork under the vehicle had been removed. 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. Ash bed slats are by Ken Hippensteel. I reproduced the wood stringers myself, from 1x2 red oak.

My vision for this truck has been to restore it to the condition that this one is in. Except whomever restored it smoothed over the captive nuts for the tilt. Pffft! It is the same light gray color, though!

YouTube from a 2014 show in Wenduine, Belgium, and
YouTube from a 2014 show in Maasctricht, Netherlands.
Thank you baywindowbus, for posting those videos!

As promised, here are some of the cool factory options:

The Good:

This truck runs and drives well, and would make for a good daily driver even if it weren't restored.

The Bad:

Of course it ain't all roses and butterflies. Here are some of the issues with the truck:

The Ugly:

Some stuff isn't good or bad, it's just ugly.

Work done as of 2020:

Wow. So much work has been done. It may be best to refer to the thread on The Samba (link provided above), but here is a quick summary aside from normal maintenance stuff:

Parts acquired and installed:

As I've said, I have spent a good bit of effort in tacking down all the parts that were once on this truck as factory options, and that somehow went missing. This was no small effort, involving scouring parts houses not only in the US, but in the Netherlands, Canada, the Philippines, the UK, and Germany. In some cases I had to enlist hte help of friends since not everyone wants to bother shipping to the USA. Here is a summary of those parts that I've installed on the truck. Others are awaiting paint, because, well, you don't want to install them, then have to remove them for paint and reinstall them.

Parts acquired and not yet installed:

These all come with the truck. It made little sense to install most of these before paint, so they are waiting patiently in their boxes until that is done.

Work still to be done (sorry...):

This is not a show truck or museum piece -- yet! But it is well on its way. Here is the work remaining to get there:

Extra goodies:

Even as I replaced parts, I always kept the original ones for... well... whatever. Here are a bunch of other goodies that come with the truck:

last updated 24 April 2023