The Volkswagen Corrado is loved among many petrol heads as being one of the cars you should drive before you die. Auto Express magazine labelled it as “One of VW’s best ever driver’s cars”, and my god I think they could be right.
Released in 1988, the Corrado was VW’s liftback coupe which could seat four people, a sort of 2+2 car. Originally designed by Herbet Shäfer, it was a styling success and they sold 97,521 in its seven years of production, later to become the Scirocco.
Unluckily for those who wanted one when they were new, they had to fork out almost twice the price for one of these than a normal coupe was. I am not sure how much they were then but one was up for sale for $37,000 a couple years ago... That’s some serious money. Even Richard Hammond said back in the early years of Top Gear that “it was too expensive, and nobody bought it”.
As you can imagine, the Corrado is based on Volkswagen’s A2 platform which is basically the Mk 2 Golf and Jetta components. But this was with the exception of the VR6 which used components from the A3 model range this was due to its wider stance.
The Corrado is famous for its really well-designed rear windows and active rear spoiler which would deploy when you exceed 60 mph but could be operated manually.
There were many engine options for the Corrado when it came out including a 1.8L inline 4, 1.8L supercharged inline 4, 2.0L inline 4 and the two VR6 engines which came with a 2.8L or 2.9L engine. Along with this you could choose between a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic gearbox (obviously you would go for the manual!).
However, I would like to focus on the VR6 as that’s the one people remember most. This 12V engine produced 179 bhp from the 2.8L and around 187 bhp from the 2.9L. Unfortunately for the American market, the best they got was the ‘underpowered’ 2.8L.
When Volkswagen introduced the new VR6 engine, they also revised the styling of the car, updating the front grille and fog lamps. What made the VR6 so unique was that it gave a compromise between the V shaped and straight six engines by putting 2 cylinder banks at a 15-degree angle. This allowed the engineers to fit a 6-cylinder engine into almost the same space where an inline 4 once lived.
For you Volkswagen enthusiasts out there, you may remember the Corrado Storm which was a limited edition Corrado just for the UK. The ‘Storm’ featured discreet Storm badging, coloured front grille, 15 inch BBS alloy wheels and offered some optional extras such as heated leather seats. Volkswagen only produced 500 of these with 2 different colour schemes. 250 in ‘Classic Green’ with cream leather interior and 250 in ‘Mystic Blue’ and a black interior. You are very lucky to see one of these nowadays.
But, if you thought that was rare, VW released another edition which I wasn’t aware of until I did some research and that’s the ‘Campaign’ model which was released in 1992. It was basically a VR6 but only came in the ‘Dusty Mauve Pearl’ effect paint and with a red leather interior. What makes this one so special is that they only made 6 of these. Now that’s pretty rare.