Felix and his 1990 VW Corrado

Today we have Re:Fuels own Felix Leach talking about his stunning 1990 VW Corrado. A car he’s owned for almost a year but hasn’t been able to drive. Continue reading to find out why.

Hi everyone, here’s an introduction to my Corrado.

In May of 2019, I purchased my 1990 Volkswagen Corrado 1.8 16v . In 1990 you could either get the Corrado with the 1.8 16v kr motor or the supercharged 1.8 8v G60 version. The KR motor would only be an option from 1989-1992 and was also used at the time in the MK2 Golf GTI. Similarly, the Corrado’s floorpan (excluding VR6 models) was based on the same A2 platform as the MK2 Golf and Jetta. When Volkswagen offered the Corrado there were many additional options you could go for: leather seats, ABS, electric windows, electric sunroof etc. Of which mine has none and I tell myself that this means there’s less to go wrong!

Personally, I have an interest for all cars from classic British to JDM, so I was never specifically in the market for a Volkswagen Corrado. In fact, I had very little knowledge of Corrado’s before buying one, I but have always been interested in them for their “boxy” styling. I’ve always had a love for the “boxy” car designs associated with the 1980’s and 90’s, with cars such as the Audi Quattro and BMW E30. I was looking at the time to buy a modern classic / project car, something I could work on and enjoy. I didn’t have a large budget to work with, I was looking at cars such as Honda Preludes, MK3 Golf GTI’s and MK2 Fiesta’s. However, when driving my Father to collect the family wagon after some repairs at a garage in Dorchester; we noticed this bright red Corrado parked outside.

After talking with the mechanic at the garage, Ollie, we found out that it was in fact his personal car, which he was selling but hadn’t listed any advertisements for. Ollie then took us round the car discussing how he had plans to do the popular 1.8t BAM engine swap, but just never found the time to do so. Unfortunately, we were unable to take the car for a test drive that day, so we planned another visit. Ollie was incredibly helpful and when we arrived the second time the car was up on the lift in the garage so that we could completely inspect the underside. After taking the car for a short test drive around the neighbouring lanes I knew that I had to have the car and I would regret it if I didn’t.  

My favourite thing about the Corrado has to be its active rear spoiler! The Corrado was one of the first production cars in history to have ‘active aero’. The active rear spoiler does provide function in breaking up the laminar flow over the car at high speeds. This helps to reduce rear-end lift by 64%. But if I’m completely honest, I never tire of watching the spoiler operate as you drive along, going up as you exceed 45mph and back down below 15mph.

With there being less than 100,000 Corrado’s produced globally, and under 6,000 being sold in the UK, the Corrado isn’t your most common car. However, due to VW sharing a lot of the running gear parts amongst their platform range running gear parts are easy to replace and won’t cost you too much. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for parts which were specific to the Corrado model such as interior parts, like speaker covers, or exterior body parts, like front indicators. This means that such parts are difficult to find, often second hand and can cost you an arm and a leg once sourced. Therefore, I would advise anyone when looking at a Corrado with the intention to buy makes a list of parts which need replacing and go away to source them. You can then create a mock price of how much it would cost and account this into your purchase price of the vehicle.

Despite owning the car for almost a year now, due to being 18, I was unable to get insured on the car. Up until 2 weeks ago, I have only been able to drive the car a handful of times. For the past 11 months of ownership both my parents have been insured on the car whilst I’ve had to sit in the passenger seat. However, now I’m 19 I can drive it as often as a like and, once lock-down is over, my first action will be driving the Corrado to the Re:Opening!

Thanks for reading,


Car Facts

Make: Volkswagen

Model: Corrado

Year: 1990

Engine: 1.8 16v

BHP: 136

Top Speed: 131mph.

0-62mph time: 9.3 seconds

Weight: 1141kg

Additional mods: Front and rear fitted adjustable coilovers, 16×7.5 Borbet type A’s in front resprayed anthracite grey, 16×9 Borbet Type A’s in rear resprayed anthracite grey, Imasaf exhaust system, full body respray in 2016 (originally tornado red), smoothed front bumper, tinted rear lights.