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1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet

The first water-cooled entrant into the Volkswagen world had remarkable staying power, just like its air-cooled brethren had before it. Construction of the first models began back in 1974, and though the convertible version didn’t begin production until five years later, the renamed (but largely unchanged) Cabriolet wouldn’t wrap up production until an amazing 1993. Granted, by that point the Cabriolet was more niche model and nostalgic throwback than practical transportation, but nonetheless it was an impressive return on investment in the chassis design that 19 years later it was still being produced. And, if you want to count the reworked South African version, technically the Mk.1 was still available for sale until 2009!

What we have here is one of the later U.S. specification Cabriolets. In 1988, Volkswagen updated the look of the aging model (which, incidentally, had just been lightly refreshed in 1985 and renamed Cabriolet from Rabbit Convertible) to the “Clipper” models. Signature would become the four-headlight grill, deeper and smoother front fascia, wider fender flares and side skirts. The Cabriolet became the first Volkswagen model to sport an airbag as standard in 1990, too, as well as a new knee protection bar to the lower portion of the dashboard. 1990 also marked the change from the ex-GTI CIS motor to the Digifant electronic fuel injection. The more upscale models, like this “Best Seller”, also received the 16V model “Teardrop” alloys making for a slick looking package:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet Best Seller on eBay

Year: 1990
Model: Cabriolet Best Seller
Engine: 1.8 liter inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 108,000 mi
Price: $6,000 Buy It Now

Relisted, very nice two-owner 1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet. This is a Colorado car with no rust and only 108,000 miles. The top, pad and headliner are brand new as are the newly sandblasted and powder coated “tear drop” wheels with nearly new tires. This car originally came with steel wheels and plastic hubcaps. The paint is in excellent condition for a 27 year old car with no dents or dings – just a couple small touched up scratches. The timing belt has been changed, new shifter bushings installed, o2 sensor replaced, the car has been tuned and serviced. The OEM radio has been replaced with a JVC and sounds great. The a/c has been converted to 134 and blows cold – everything works as it should and the car runs, drives and shifts excellent. THIS IS NOT A PROJECT. This item is also for sale locally, and if you have questions my name is Mark 239-292-2370.

I’ve had a number of calls asking about this and other Cabriolets I’ve listed and sold. I’m not a broker or dealer. I have a “real” job, do this strictly as a hobby and have owned and worked on various Volkswagens since 1985. I try to find low mile examples that need minor reconditioning – mechanical and cosmetic – then go through the entire car before I list it. I try to provide honest descriptions so as not to waste anyone’s time.

The Nugget Yellow color is a bit rare to find on the later models but looks great. White remained the signature color, usually accompanied by white cloth (or leather) and a white top – so the splash of color here is very welcome. This one does have white interior, and the cloth with checker pattern pulls the black top together nicely. Condition overall is quite good, though the interior looks like it could use a good cleaning. Miles are not outrageous and the alloys are in unusually good shape.

Dynamically, these aren’t very fun cars to drive on the highway. The 5th gear is remarkably short and the engine remarkably buzzy. 94 horsepower sounded great in 1991, but Karmann’s additional bracing to strengthen the Cabriolet weighed it down and consequently the Cabriolet doesn’t drive like the sporty car it looks like. I spent many hours in one of these cars when it was brand new – a friend’s mother had a then brand-new triple-white Boutique ’92 – and even with no miles on the clock, the design felt quite dated and it had plenty of minor electrical gremlins that kept it regularly heading to the dealer. But, around town or by the beach with the top down, does any of that matter? At $6,000, the asking price seems a little high; originally, it was a limited production Wolfsburg ’89 with similar miles that grabbed my eye towards this lineup earlier in the week, but that car sold before I could write it up with a $4,750 asking price. To me, right around $5,000 seems on point for a fun John Hughes-directed summer fling.