Volkswagen Corrado Buying Guide
Following in the footsteps of the Scirocco, the Volkswagen Corrado offered coupé style with (almost) Golf practicality. Here’s how to bag a good one
How much to pay
• Project £1000-1500 • Good £3000-4550 • Concours £5000+ •
Running costs ★★★★
DIY friendly ★★★
Back in the 1990s, car buyers were spoiled for choice if they wanted a sporting hatch or coupé, and one of the best was the Volkswagen Corrado. Using the Golf’s tried-and-tested platform and running gear, the Corrado was strong, suave and usable – while also offering decent performance and drive. What’s not to like?
For fans of classic coupés it’s a bonus that the Corrado was built to a higher standard – and better rustproofed – than many of its rivals, so survival rates are good. And because the model shares so much with the Golf, parts availability is good, too.
Buy a Corrado VR6 and you’ve got near-150mph performance, but any version is good for more than 120mph, while upgrades are plentiful. The Corrado may look less distinctive than rivals such as the Fiat Coupé or Alfa Romeo GTV, yet if you’re looking for something that offers strength, practicality and fun in one affordable package, the Corrado ticks every box.
Your AutoClassics Volkswagen Corrado inspection checklist
All Corrados featured an engine from one of two families; four-pot or VR6. The four-cylinder unit came in 1.8 or 2.0-litre forms, while the VR6 always displaced 2.9 litres. The 1.8-litre engine came in naturally aspirated or supercharged guises, the latter in the G60. The 2.0-litre engine was offered in naturally aspirated eight or 16-valve forms.
The VR6 doesn’t have a cambelt, but the four-cylinder unit does. This should be renewed every 40,000 miles or five years, so check the service history. The oil and filter should also have been replaced every year; a Bosch or VW part should have been used, along with fully synthetic oil.
After 80,000 miles the VR6’s timing-chain guides and tensioner will probably need to be replaced; listen for chattering at idle. The parts aren’t too costly and it’s possible to do the work yourself, but it’s fiddly and time consuming. Some owners replace the clutch at the same time.
The G60 engine is tough, but the supercharger usually needs to be rebuilt after 50,000 miles – and that’s if the oil has been refreshed frequently, using a fully synthetic lubricant. Replacement costs aren’t too high, though.
Clonking sounds as the car is driven probably points to perished mounting rubbers for the exhaust. These go soft but are cheaply and easily replaced.
Some VR6s were sold with a four-speed automatic gearbox, but such cars are very rare. They’re also not very sought after, as this transmission is not well suited to the Corrado’s sporty nature. As a result, virtually all Corrados were supplied with a five-speed manual. It’s the same unit as is found in the Golf MkII, so it’s strong, but parts are readily available when a rebuild is needed, and used replacements are also easy to find.
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Cobra by DAX , 6.3 V8 (De-dion chassis) This stunning Cobra was SVA/IVA registered sept 2005 and has only covered 3942 miles since The stunning finish of silver with grey le-mans stripes looks superb. Details include Chrome bumpers , Oil cooler, Clear front indicators, Cobra badges, Smoked sun visors, Clear wind deflectors, Chrome mirrors, Two three leg roll bars,Chrome stone guards, Large AstoFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Epping, UK£ 44,995
De Tomaso Longchamp cabrio GTS RHD series 2 1984
Only 3 RHD units produced by the factory. This very rare De Tomaso Longchamp is a series 2 ( last models, better handling, wider tires " a la Pantera GTS" ). Complete history known. Completely original. No rust. Power steering, power brakes, power hood. A/C works perfect. Close to concours condition. The interior is immaculate. Extremely powerful and torquy, Superior handling.For Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Belgium£ 150,000
Buick Riviera 1967
1967 Buick Riviera condition: excellent cylinders: 8 cylinders fuel: gas odometer: 120000 title status: clean transmission: automatic Bought from original owner! Runs great, carb was rebuilt last year! Have all maintenance records since new!! Tires are new! New water pump last year! Fresh oil change just done! Ac does work, just needs more freon. If interested contact us ASFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Indianapolis, IN, USA$ 11,500
Ford Galaxie 500 1967
1967 Ford Galaxie 500 condition: excellent drive: fwd fuel: gas odometer: 49125 paint color: green size: full-size title status: clean transmission: automatic type: coupe 1967 Ford Galaxy 500 49,125 original miles. Originally sold by Borchers Ford in Dayton, Ohio. I have documentation for work preformed on car over the years. Includes dealer brochures, warranty cards, gloFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Vienna, OH, USA$ 17,400
Chevrolet BelAir 1959
1959 chevrolet belair condition: good fuel: gas paint color: yellow title status: clean transmission: automatic Here we have a 1959 Belair 2 door sedan with a 455 pontiac v8 and tons of chrome. Automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes. Power doors, trunk and antenna. It is an old show car that still looks very well. It runs and drives great, just finished a 4.5 hour roFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Clarksville, IN, USA$ 19,500
Dodge Polara 1964
1964 Dodge Polara 500 Convertible fuel: gas title status: clean transmission: automatic 1964 Dodge Polara 500 Convertible- 440 V-8 Engine- Don't know if it's the original engine. White Convertible Top- The Top Does Go Up and Down. Bucket Seat- Console Car, Original Gold Exterior Paint. Metallic Fawn Interior- Original Interior, 33k Miles On Odometer, Original 14" Spinner Hubcaps. HFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Indianapolis, IN, USA$ 15,000
Chevrolet Corvette LT1 1972
1972 Corvette LT1 VIN: 1Z37L2S523509 condition: excellent cylinders: 8 cylinders drive: rwd fuel: gas odometer: 62000 paint color: yellow size: full-size title status: clean transmission: manual type: coupe For Sale is one 1972 Corvette LT1 Coupe. This car was originally sold by Nankivell Chevrolet in Indianapolis, In. I would be interested if anyone in that area might knFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Jefferson, OH, USA$ 52,950
Cord 810 Sedan 1936
1936 Cord 810 sedan VIN: 1437S condition: good cylinders: 8 cylinders drive: fwd fuel: gas odometer: 67000 paint color: custom size: full-size title status: clean transmission: other type: sedan 1936 Cord 810 Sedan Custom Beverly 4 door V-8 Lycoming as Original Pre select 4 speed trans as Original Certified Cord by the ACD club Rich Maroon in color Tan leather interFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Holly, Michigan, USA$ 62,000
Chevrolet II Nova 1966
1966 chevy nova fuel: gas title status: clean transmission: manual 1966 Chevy II nova SS 117 vin code Built for power tour 2018 Featured in local calendar Kentucky car Professional built 355 cubic inch aluminum heads Aluminum radiator Muncie 4-speed manual Disc brakes Vinatage AC Painless wiring and fuse box Chrome hood hinges Tri-bar headlights Billet steering wheeFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA$ 48,000
Suspension and brakes
All Corrados came with a very reliable power-steering system, while the suspension gives few problems. At the rear there’s passive steering and if the bushes have been allowed to deteriorate the handling will be spoiled, but they’re not a big deal to replace.
Every model had alloy wheels and an alloy spare, but a steel space-saver was fitted from 1992 – although a full-sized rim can still be stowed. Five-stud hubs were fitted to the VR6, while four-cylinder cars got four-stud hubs.
Anti-lock brakes were optional until 1992, when they became standard. As a result, all VR6s and 16v 2.0-litre cars have ABS, as do all of the later G60s. It’s a reliable system, but it’s worth checking that when the ignition is switched on the orange warning light illuminates. This should go out after a few seconds.
If the light doesn’t illuminate at all, it’s probably been disconnected. If it doesn’t extinguish after a few seconds, it might be due to a dirty or failed sensor, or a low brake fluid level, both of which are easily fixed. More costly is a faulty control unit, pump or pedal sensor.
The rear brake calipers also seize, especially on cars used sparingly. It’s not a big job to free things up, though.
Corrados don’t rust badly unless they’ve been crashed. There might be a few localised areas of corrosion, however; check the underside of the bonnet plus the wheelarches, front valance and sills. The top spring plate in the rear suspension can also corrode; you can see these by peering into each wheelarch.
Crash repairs are more likely than rust; rippling in the front inner wings will give the game away. Also scrutinise the two seams on either side of the rear panel. If they’re not even or there are signs of rust, it’s been repaired. An unmolested car should have a factory build sticker on the rear panel, above the spare wheel.
Be wary of a Corrado with an electrically operated tilt-and-slide sunroof. The mechanism for these tends to fail and it’s not that easy to fix, although it is a DIY proposition. Even when broken it’ll tilt, but it won’t slide. The roof also gets scratched easily, but a Passat MkIII (1988-1996) glass roof goes straight in.
The Storm had leather trim as standard. Hide was optional on some editions, but most cars came trimmed in cloth. Leather lasts better than cloth so it’s more desirable, especially if Recaro seats are fitted. As you’d expect it’s the bolsters that wear, while the base goes baggy after 100,000 miles or so.
Water can get into the cabin via failed inner door membranes or a leaking heater matrix. While the first is easy to sort out, the latter isn’t, because of poor access. Soggy carpets can also be due to blocked bulkhead drains, which lead to water getting into the ventilation intake.
The wipers lose their tension with age, but can be upgraded by fitting a VW Lupo or Audi TT mechanism. Meanwhile, the headlight switch gets hot so the plastic goes brittle and breaks, and the plastic headlight reflectors and glass lenses lose their lustre. This is not hard to fix.
The ventilation controls can break, so check that the four-speed fan works properly, along with the direction control. Until 1992 sliding controls were used (these are no longer available); later Corrados feature dials, which are less durable. Also ensure the MFA trip computer displays correctly. If it flashes, or resets when the ignition is turned on, the car has probably been clocked.
- 1989: The Corrado appears with a 1.8 16v engine.
- 1990: Electric steel sunroof and front windows are now standard.
- 1991: The Corrado G60 debuts with a supercharged 1.8-litre 8v engine.
- 1992: The 1.8 is replaced by a 2.0-litre unit. Standard kit now includes a catalytic converter and anti-lock brakes. Corrado VR6 has V6 and auto option. New switchgear and revised dash layout.
- 1994: The Corrado 2.0 appears with an 8v engine.
- 1995: Run-out Storm special has heated front seats, 6.5-inch alloys, Sony CD player, leather trim. Just 500 are made.
The pick of the Corrado bunch is the 190bhp VR6. It sounds the most muscular and has the most power, while it was also built by Karmann; four-pot cars were made by VW in Wolfsburg. The VR6 is built to a higher standard, but the four-cylinder cars were screwed together pretty well, too.
A good G60 will also provide plenty of fun for not much cash – just bear in mind that the supercharged engine isn’t that much quicker than the naturally aspirated alternative. The four-cylinder unit is also lighter, which improves the handling; the same goes for the 2.0-litre cars, which are even more affordable but offer fewer thrills.
Whatever you buy, establish whether or not it’s been modified – and if so, how much and by whom. A few sympathetic brake or suspension tweaks are a good thing, but you should avoid cars with a butchered interior or major mechanical changes that destroy the character.
Focus more on the condition than the spec when buying; any good Corrado is worth owning. If you can buy one without a catalytic converter, it’ll be a bit more frisky than a car that has one.
|Corrado 1.8 G60|
|Corrado 2.0 8v|
|Corrado 2.0 16v|
Looking for that ideal Volkswagen Corrado?
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