Not Your Daddy’s Caddy: Mike Whittaker’s 9-Second AWD VW Caddy

Mike Whittaker’s MK1 Volkswagen Caddy isn’t the type of vehicle you expect to see at a drag strip, let alone one that’s capable of laying down nine-second passes. After a lot of hard work, Whittaker has unlocked the true potential of his VR6-powered Caddy and now he’s ready to see just how fast this quirky little home-built hot rod can go.

When Volkswagen brought the MK1 Caddy to market in 1979 it was introduced as a coupe utility type of vehicle. It was designed for those who wanted more capacity to haul things but didn’t want to purchase a pickup truck. The Caddy came from the factory with small displacement engine options that generated a maximum of 94 horsepower, so if you were looking for performance this wasn’t a vehicle for you.

The VW Caddy that Whittaker has built is a completely different animal than the original MK1s that rolled off the assembly line. Under the hood, Whittaker removed the anemic stock powerplant and replaced it with a stout 3.0 liter VR6 VW engine that’s capable of producing over 700 all-wheel-drive horsepower. All-wheel drive wasn’t an option on the VW Caddy, so Whittaker swapped in his own system.

For the past few seasons, Whittaker has experienced some issues with the Caddy that left him stuck in the 10-second zone at the track, but after an offseason of upgrades, he finally got things figured out. Whittaker went to a new clutch setup and added a launch control system, this netted him a new personal best of 9.963 at over 140 MPH.

Check out this footage from VeeDubRacing that shows Whittaker’s homebuilt hot rod making its first nine-second rip at Santa Pod Raceway.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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