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1990 VW Golf GTI Cabriolet


・GTI Model
・12 months MOT
・New roof

The Background 

It's a well known fact that in 1976 Volkswagen launched what was to become the brilliant hot hatch, the Golf GTI. It was in 1979 that the Golf Cabriolet was launched. A bit of a latecomer to the Mk1 range, but one that was continued to be produced up until 1993, even throughout the production of the Mk2 Golf. Although the Cabriolet looks like a Mk1 with the roof cut off, it is a unibody construction which gave it the extra strength needed when the roof was removed, and this was built entirely at the Karmann factory. From stamping panels to final assembly, it was all done in house. Volkswagen supplied the factory with engines, suspension and interior which Karmann would then install to the reinforced shell of the Cabriolet. The Karmann badge you see on all Cabriolets is to pay tribute to the factory who built them.

The Cabriolet GTI was only sold in the UK, and it was the engineers at the Karmann factory who decided to put the Mk1 GTI in the Cabriolet to offer the sporty hot hatch performance with the option of dropping the roof. After many years and great success it was in 1988 that the Golf got a facelift. Bringing it up to a more modern look, the Cabriolet was fitted with a Clipper body kit which featured wheel arch extensions, side skirts and smooth body coloured bumpers. This became known as the Mk1 Clipper and was produced until 1993 when it skipped the Mk2 range and the Mk3 Golf Cabriolet was launched.

The History

This lovely 1990 VW Golf GTi Convertible has been owned by the seller since 20th June 2015, and in that time has only covered around 5,000 miles. It has been fully garaged and the seller has never used it in the rain. 

The GTi has been repainted by the previous keeper which still looks very fresh. The seller had a new roof fitted to the car last year along with a new clutch and clutch cable. Being quite handy mechanically, any other servicing work such as oil and filter changes have been carried out by the owner. There were some advisories noted on a previous MOT which was 18th June 2020, regarding a caliper binding slightly and steering gaiter deteriorated. These were all addressed as a matter of caution. 

With very little use over the past few years, the seller has now decided it is time to let someone else enjoy the Cabriolet.

The Paperwork

The V5 is present and shows 7 previous keepers in the UK, and it currently has an MOT certificate until the 18th June 2022.

The Golf GTi Cabriolet has retained the original owners handbook and folder. There is also the service book which is stamped up to 72,000 miles. Present are some old MOT certificates and some odd receipts for parts and work carried out over the years, although the seller did mention that some paperwork has been lost.

The Interior

Inside the Golf is in a nice original condition. As you open the door, the GTi seats are in a tidy condition. There is some slight wear to the driver's bolster, but it's not worn through. It's quite common for Golf seat bolsters of this era to usually wear through, so this Cab has done well to miss this. The passenger seat is in good condition with no real wear to the bolsters. 

Sitting in the driver's seat, the Mk1 dashboard has the instruments showing 105,010. The fuel and temperature gauge work as they should. The multi-function display MFA, or in German Mehrfach Funktion Ausstellung, does have an intermittent fault, where some of the display will disappear and then sometimes its back. Moving across there is a JVC head unit fitted and connected to some speakers in the original location in the front doors and some Vibe  speakers to the rear parcel shelf. All the switchgear is working correctly. Moving lower down is the center console with the switch for the electric hood. The rear seat is in good condition with no obvious signs of wear. 

Into the boot, and the original boot carpet is nice and clean. Under is the spare wheel, jack and wheel brace. To the left is the motor for the powered roof. The car also has a Cobra Immobiliser, which is working as it should. 

The Exterior

Starting at the front, the Golf has very minimal, if any, stone chips. The front indicators, headlights and spotlights are free from any cracks or chips, the inner spotlights are slightly cloudy compared to the headlights. The grille is all in nice condition and retains the original GTI badge. The bonnet edge meets the grille nice and straight and also down each side of the wing rails. 

Around to the sides of the Cab and it looks lovely. The factory fit Clipper body kit is nice and straight, the door gaps on both sides are straight and uniform. The side mouldings down the length of the car are free from any dents. Just at the bottom of each wing is the Karmann badge (Karmann is the factory where the cabriolet was made). The windows are scratch free. The rear quarter window seals have deteriorated and these are on order, due any day, and these will be replaced before the auction ends. Around the fuel cap is nice and clean with no signs of any rust. There is a small blister on the top of the passenger side quarter that the seller points out has been there since he got the car, but this hasn't gotten any worse over the time he’s owned it. The Blue roof looks and fits fantastic. This was replaced in June 2020 and is in excellent condition as you would expect. It powers up and down nice and smoothly and does so as quickly as it should. When down, this is finished with the original tonneau cover keeping it nice and clean. 

The rear of the Golf is again like the rest. The boot lid shuts and lines up just as it should. The Golf GTI and Volkswagen badges are present, the VW one has been replaced for a Wolfsburg Edition badge. The bumper fits well and the light clusters are free from any chips. There is a cut out in the middle of the valance, maybe from a tow bar at some point in its life, and also fitted is a Jetex Stainless exhaust, which is slightly larger than the original tailpipe. 

The wheels have been replaced with some Lenso BBS RS style alloys and these are in good condition with no kerb marks to them. They are fitted with matching Firestone tyres which are pretty much like new. The underside of the Golf is very clean, no issues around the jacking points that we could see and it’s all nice and dry with no signs of any oil leaks.  

The Mechanics

The GTI is powered by the classic 1.8 engine that was used in the Golf GTI for many years. The engine comes in the form of a 1,781cc 8 valve, fueled by Bosch K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection, which produces 110 bhp. 

The engine fires up at the first turn of the key and sounds just as it should. As mentioned, the Golf had a new clutch and clutch cable around 6 months ago. Also the brakes were given a service to free off a binding caliper. The seller reports the GTI pulls well through the 5-speed gearbox, nice and smooth with no untoward noises coming from the engine or transmission. The suspension is standard and drives along the road with just the right amount of firmness for throwing the GTI into some corners when the needs arise. The Jetex stainless steel exhaust gives a nice note to compliment the GTI’s engine.  

The Appeal 

Based on the original hot hatch, this Golf GTI Cabriolet has the best of both worlds. The GTI engine and a powered hood you can put down for when the sun is out, which won't be long now (hopefully!) Repainted a number of years ago, the GTI is in excellent condition with no areas of concern that we could see and with a new clutch the VW runs lovely.

Summer is coming! It's time to relive that 80’s dream in a convertible hot hatch!

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1990
  • Make Volkswagen
  • Model Golf Cabriolet GTI
  • Colour White
  • Odometer 105,010 Miles
  • Engine size 1781
  • Location Cheshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
7 bids from 5 bidders
  • harriso•••• £6,600 21/06/21
  • L30NSH £6,500 18/06/21
  • jayden.•••• £5,350 18/06/21
  • L30NSH £5,000 17/06/21
  • neil-ke•••• £4,000 17/06/21
  • L30NSH £3,000 17/06/21
  • Giul72 £1,000 17/06/21

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