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Volkswagen Corrado

Volkswagen Corrado Published: 26th Jun 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Volkswagen Corrado
Volkswagen Corrado
Volkswagen Corrado
Volkswagen Corrado
Volkswagen Corrado
Volkswagen Corrado
Volkswagen Corrado
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Angie Voluti has not just one, but a trio of them and they both need a lot of tlc. A labour of love or wise investments?

Corrado: they have always been a quirky, efficient VW interpretation of a sporty coupé, based (with typical Germanic efficiency) on the floorpan of the Mk2 Golf with some Mk3 parts thrown in.

Without laboring the point, they were a flop for VW, sales were way under expectations, it was too expensive and nobody bought it. According to ‘how many left’ website there were just 2168 registered last year, and three of them are mine.

In typical VW fashion, they do not let their owners down too often, but they do like being looked after, as even the youngest Corrado is now 15 years old and eldest 25. However, parts are cheap, maintenance is relatively simple, and the rewards worth the efforts.

At the moment, we have a cluster of Corrados in the garage, all of which need some TLC. As we emerge slowly from frosty mornings and early nights towards milder early spring longer days, I have mapped out a plan for one of them. This will be a reasonably economic “rolling restoration”, not an 18-monthsoff- the-road while it’s trailered from specialist to specialist, mega-bucks scenario.

I bought this early 1.8-litre 16 valve recently for just £225. It’s fairly reasonable but various non-standard and poor quality parts initially adorned it (such as wheels, suspension, stereo and some horrible body additions) but these were quickly sold to offset the cost of restoration, which if I farmed it out to a company would probably run to £5000 or so. As this Corrado is not going to appreciate to over £10k anytime soon… why spend so much cash?

And therein lies the reason for doing a ‘home project’ and/or DIY, arguably you don’t charge it out at £50 per hour as you’re (hopefully) doing it for pleasure and who knows, relaxation.

There are some urgent jobs, such as removal of a cheap coilover kit (which has broken rear springs and leaking dampers), to be replaced with higher quality springs and dampers.

Following on from that, the plan is sympathetically to repair/replace with quality OEM or mildly uprated parts with the view to having a reasonably economical, reasonably safe but above all FUN daily driver.

Jobs that will be done/needdoing include:

  • Replace the rear brake calipers with beter Mk4 Golf units
  • Replace front (brakes) with either late model VR6 Golf (larger) or AP Racing kit (nicer)
  • Replace all brake and clutch flex lines with braided hose
  • Check/replace any corroded hard lines (brake & clutch lines)
  • Fit larger (new) brake master cylinder for better feel
  • Replace rear hub carriers/ bearings with new (stronger) type from Ibiza
  • Update the anti roll bars with Eibach units
  • Replace suspension bushes, some with urethane, some with VW sport parts
  • Replace standard (sloppy) Corrado adjustable column and lock assembly with (rare) non-adjustable unit, and fit urethane rack mount
  • Replace stock Corrado (sloppy) gearshift assembly, cables and gearbox actuator for Mk4 Golf
  • Fit Recaro front seats
  • Remove sunroof (yes, really) and fit blanking plate
  • Replace damaged/sagging roof lining with Alcantara trim
  • Remove rear seats and re-carpet interior
  • Relocate battery to boot

This is going to be an interesting exercise: as work is carried out and restoration progresses, another part of the plan is to group jobs together, as it makes no sense to take the front struts off and not do the brakes, suspension bushes and front roll bar at the same time.

However, for the sake of this ongoing diary of my Corrado-ing, it may make more sense to separate things out by function, and have a recording of activities by, say, front brakes, springs/dampers, roll-bars etc.

I even harbor a secret wish to invest more effort and money to have the earliest one (a 1989 G plater) stripped and dipped, sort the bodyshell out and then have a nice spray job or maybe a wrap. This would add a new stage of extensive welding and shell preparation. If I went this far then I would do some extensive engine/ transmission work at the same time.

But you know what they say about all good plans…


As you can see, our newest projects have a distinct 1990s feel about them but if what we hear from trade experts comes true, this is the market canny classic collectors should be in while prices are low.

The VW Corrado is an excellent example of an overlooked 1990s sports classic. Perhaps that less than sleek coupé appearance has always worked against it, but anybody who has enjoyed the privilege of driving one, especially the VR6, knows how great they drive.
A wise investment but we reckon it’s the hot hatch sector that could see the best buys and future financial returns which is why we’ve just bought a Nissan Almera GTi! What’s one of those you might ask and why not a Golf, Astra or Escort?

The reason is simple; it was there ready to be snapped up! But the Almera – the replacement for the old Sunny – wasn’t a bad hot hatch at all in its day thanks to its very good handling and a vivid 143bhp 2-litre engine first used in performance Primeras. Ours may be a tad faster care of a sports K&N induction kit already fitted, but thankfully that – and a set of aftermarket alloys – are the sum total of deviations from standard; there can’t be that many Almera GTis like it left. Our car is also fitted with the approved Nissan bodykit that was available when new to improve the car’s slab and frumpy looks. It was a £395 option and most came fitted with it we reckon as part of a sales sweetener to counter the 14 grand asked back in 1998.

Car magazine was pretty complimentary when it first tested the GTi hailing it, “goes, steers and stops with the leaders” adding that “few sports hatches are faster or move better.”

What makes ours a bit special is its provenance. You may not think it, with its faded pinky red sheen (yes it’s the one in the picture!) and busted back bumper, but our car – an ex demonstrator – boasts only one owner from new. What’s more he looked after it mechanically, with every MoT carried out by a Nissan main dealer. The sheaths of bills and service records of over 15 years of ownership requires two hands to hold. We picked it up the day before Drive-It Day and have been enjoying it since; we’ll tell you more, along with our plans, in due course.

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