The 1990s were a golden age for the sporty coupe. There was the Vauxhall Calibra, the Nissan 200SX, the Mazda MX6 and of course, the car we’re looking at here; the Volkswagen Corrado. For many, the Corrado was the ultimate. Certainly, when it launched the motoring press were quick to praise it as being one the finest driving cars of its kind. It was testament to how well Volkswagen could engineer a car, and through being so well engineered, it became the coupe to have. It was a clever design by Volkswagen though, which utilised the platform of the older Mk2 Golf and Jetta. By using this platform Volkswagen was able to make considerable savings. But more importantly, Volkswagen was also able to show the world how capable said platform was when draped with the lighter, smaller, Corrado body.
The Corrado was available in various guises. The ultimate of which is probably the VR6 version, complete with 2,861cc narrow bank V6 with an impressive 187bhp and 245Nm, plus a soundtrack to die for. However, unlike the rest of the Corrado range, the VR6 used the A3 platform, which came from the Mk3 Golf and the Vento. This was because those cars had been built with the VR6 engine in mind, so it made sense to adapt the platform to fit the car, rather than adapt the A2 platform to fit the engine.
The VR6 engine is still praised as being one of the most impressive engines of its kind. Technically speaking, it’s a V6. However, the bank angle of the cylinders is so shallow - just 15 degrees - that both banks can share a cylinder head. It also meant the VR6 was exceptionally compact and thus could be fitted to cars like the Golf and Corrado without too much difficulty. It offered power and torque like nothing else in its class.
This Corrado shows nine previous owners on the V5, and by looking at the condition of the car as well as the paperwork, it’s obvious that every owner has been caring and well aware of the car’s needs. It has, as we’ll explore later on, lived a life wanting for nothing.
Supplied new by Windrush Volkswagen, the Corrado was registered on the 3rd of April 1995. The car was ordered in fetching metallic black with matching heated black leather interior. All of which it retains today - this car is largely standard, with only some tasteful and beneficial modification applied.
The car sits on a set of 15 inch Speedline five-spoke alloy wheels, a stainless steel exhaust system has been fitted, as has a RamAir induction kit, coilover suspension and upgraded performance ignition leads. All modifications that carry benefit, but also that can all be reverted back to standard without too much fuss.
In terms of the vehicle’s owners, the Corrado was, as mentioned, supplied new on 3rd April 1995. The next owner took the car on 2nd November 1995. They kept the car until the 20th Oct 2003. The owner kept the Corrado until the 13th February 2010. The next until the 11th August 2013. After this, the car was sold again on the 29th June 2014, and again on the 11th of February 2015. That owner passed the car onto the current owner on the 13th May 2017.
The history file for this Corrado is, frankly, breathtaking. From the point of view of an auction house, we are always keen to see lots of history. However, what’s on offer with this car was more than we could have hoped for. There is original paperwork from the supplying dealer including all warranty work, such as a replacement seat to cure a broken adjuster, the running in service and so on.
There is full, stamped, main dealer service history with the car up to 129,000 miles. After this, there are myriad receipts for all manner of service and repair works. This is incredibly reassuring, given the car’s mileage of just over 200,000. However, the detail and the work covered in the near bursting box folder shows how the car has got to that mileage.
A look through the MOT history will show that work has indeed been carried out on the Corrado. It’s worth noting that the MOTs that have been failed in the past can all be attributed to wear and tear items. Bushes, bulbs, wheel bearings and the like. Never anything significant, never anything structural, and never anything that has been ignored. The receipts included with the car can be cross referenced with every MOT to show that the work was done correctly. This is a car that has lived a life of being constantly enjoyed by its owners, as evidenced by the mileage, so it’s a given that wear and tear items would have needed replacement.
Recent works include a new clutch in 2015 at 193k, fitted by a specialist. In 2019 the Corrado was given a full service, new sup gasket, a new NSF tie rod and the suspension was cleaned up and raised by 1cm. This year, just last month in fact, new rear wheel bearings were fitted, a coolant flush was carried out as was a brake fluid flush. New track rod ends were fitted, a new drive flange was fitted and work was carried out to repair the indicator loom.
This is a car that has, as can be seen from the extensive amount of included paperwork, wanted for nothing. No owner has tried to run this car on a shoestring, and no owner has cut corners on labor or parts costs. It might have 208,000 on the clock, but honestly, there are 50,000 mile cars out there that haven’t been looked after as well as this.
Open the long, pleasingly weighty doors of the Corrado and step in and you’ll be in for a treat. As you adjust your position in the heated leather seats you’ll soon be looking around, wondering just how this car has racked up over 200,000 miles? Certainly, the condition of the interior in no way suggests it, other than the digital readout of the odometer of course. The carpets aren’t worn or holed, the seats show no excessive wear or damage, nor does the steering wheel. It’s a testament to the level of quality that Volkswagen offers. Even the headlining is free from damage and still sits firm, with no sagging at all - a common fault on the Corrado.
The dash is in excellent order with no wear or damage, the dials are still clear and bright, all the switches also appear to be functioning. In the dash, you will find a modern Sony head unit. The speakers in the doors and in the rear shelf have also been upgraded to match. Speaking of upgrades, the gear gaiter is a custom affair, made from a tartan cloth, which is a lovely nod to the tartan trim offered in some Golf GTi models. The gear knob is also Golf, but the seller does have the original should you want to change it back.
In the rear, the deep bucket seats are again in excellent condition with nothing more than light wear to show their age, though it is worth noting that the panel/trim car on the passenger side perhaps needs a new securing clip (pictured). The carpets are good, the sills and kickplates are free from damage. It’s all very neat, very clean and very tidy. More 50,000 miles than 208,000. This car has, make no mistake, been looked after. The boot is dry, the carpets near immaculate. The only ‘issue’ is that a past owner has cut into the parcel shelf to fit the obligatory 6x9 speakers. But that’s it. New parcel shelf and you’ll be OE.
Again, the exterior of this Corrado is another lesson in how to beautifully hide the years. Is it perfect? No, there are some light stone chips on the frontmost edge, there is some ever so slight rust blistering on a couple of the arches (pictured), there is a scratch under the Corrado script on the back, and there is a pinhead ding on the offside rear quarter, but… that’s about it.
The deep, rich metallic black paint still shines, the paint seems to have been cared for, too, with very little in the way of swirls or scratches from over enthusiastic sponge washing. The bumpers are free from any obvious damage and still hold true to the body lines of the car. All the black plastics are still a deep, rich dark hue and haven’t bleached at all.
The Speedline alloys, in silver, would perhaps benefit from some attention, as there is some light curb damage to be found. But there are no significant bends or buckles to be found. The tyres all have plenty of life in them, too. Furthermore, all the wheels and tyres were recently inspected and balanced, and there is paperwork to back this up.
Finally, the sunroof is worth pointing out. On this car, it’s a glass unit. For those not in the know, this is a rare find, as most Corrados were fitted with solid metal sunroofs. Happily, the latter option can be found in the boot of the car, and while it carries some scratches, it’s only a lick of paint away from being used again, should the glass item not be for you.
As we mentioned in the paperwork section, this Corrado has lived a life wanting for nothing. As such, it’s fighting fit and match ready from a mechanical standpoint. On startup, the VR6 engine barks into life without any hesitation, and it revs cleanly and quickly. The RamAir induction kit isn’t at all intrusive, and instead gives the Corrado a deep intake noise, while the stainless steel powerflow exhaust makes light and tuneful work of dispelling the exhaust gases.
On idle, and as the engine is brought up through the revs, there is no evidence of any noise from the cam chain. The current owner assured us that this has been inspected by a specialist, and they reported that there are no concerns here. However, change or upgrade on this part would be at the buyer’s discretion.
The car pulls cleanly through all gears, with no fight or crunch through the changes. There is no sign of weakness, excessive roll or unpleasant feedback from the aftermarket coil-over suspension. Though as we mentioned earlier, this has recently been inspected and raised back up by 1cm to improve the drive.
The brakes are all in good health, and the brake fluid has recently been flushed and renewed for extra peace of mind.
And then there is the bit you’re all keen to know about - the spoiler. It's working well, and raises and lowers easily at the 60mph mark as well as off the button!
A timeless design, outstanding build quality, a chassis to die for and that glorious, powerful, tuneful engine… What else do you need? This is a ‘90s coupe in the ultimate form. It’s powerful, handsome and a riot to drive. It’s not so old to be fragile, nor is it so modern to not be considered a classic. The Corrado was a car that ignited the passions of a generation of Volkswagen fans. Still today they flock to the VR6 engine, such is its following. It’s a design icon, and that’s pretty special.
But more than that, the Corrado is an appreciating classic. As the years move forward, the number of surviving cars goes down. Soon, obtaining one is going to be a very difficult thing indeed. And yes, you may be hesitant in the case of this car because of the mileage, but don’t be. You can see by looking at the images that it certainly doesn’t look like a 200,000 mile car. The history detailed above covers almost every one of those miles, and as such, this car is in exceptional condition. A rival car from this era wouldn’t survive as well as this, but then, if only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen...