2020 Hagerty Bull Market selection: 1990–95 Volkswagen Corrado
The 2020 Hagerty Bull Market list showcases the top vehicles that our valuation experts project will appreciate in the coming year. For the full list of 10 vehicles (and one motorcycle!) click here.
The “people’s car company” threw us a curve with the expensive and ambitious Corrado. Volkswagen advertised the chunky and distinctive coupe, actually built by VW’s longtime partner Karmann, as the VW of sports cars, meaning fun but practical, beautiful yet functional, and powerful yet responsive. However, unlike VW’s other sporty coupe, the Scirocco, the Corrado was not simply a rebodied Golf. It had its own chassis—still front-wheel drive—and a blown version of VW’s eight-valve four-cylinder engine, called the “G60” because of it’s unusual G-Lader scroll-type supercharger.
With 158 horsepower, VW—trying to be Porsche—said the Corrado accelerated quicker than a Porsche 944 and was good for 140 mph, heady numbers back in that decade of peak Springsteen. The feature most remembered is the rear spoiler, which rose on motorized struts at speed to increase high-speed stability. The Corrado also carried VW’s steepest price, at $17,900.
For the 1992 model year, VW swapped the supercharged engine for its VR6 motor, a novel and compact V-6 with a single cylinder head and a narrow 15-degree V-angle between the cylinder banks. Despite that addition, the Corrado didn’t exactly fly from showrooms, and it was gone from the U.S. after the 1995 model year. Just under 100,000 were made.
The car pictured here is a 1990 model, and it still has the supercharged engine, which is becoming rare. Many of the original G60 motors were later replaced with VR6s. Hagerty member Jonathan Goncalves provides this reason: “The G stands for ‘grenade,’ and the 60 represents the 60,000-mile mark when the superchargers go boom.” The base engine is reportedly robust, but the blowers require a preventive rebuild to avoid meltdown, and a new supercharger runs $2500, more than the cost of a junkyard VR6.
Back in the day, writers praised the G60 for its prompt throttle response but derided its coarseness. Time hasn’t smoothed it, but there’s a charm to the deep-throated, rumbly powerplant with ample grunt. Corrados are roomy for passengers and luggage, frisky on curvy roads, and capable highway cruisers, and you’ll likely have the only one at the local cars-and-coffee. Perhaps VW’s first swing at Porsche just needed 30 years of depreciation to make sense.
[+] Robust community support; fun to drive; VW’s first attempt at building a Porsche competitor; more rare than a Scirocco, and those aren’t exactly common.
[–] Hard to find Corrado-specific parts; the G-Lader supercharger is a grenade waiting to go off; somewhat unknown except at VW events.
1990 VW CORRADO G60
Engine: inline-4, 1781 cc
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Power: 158 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 166 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Weight: 2600 lb
Power-to-weight: 16.5 lb/hp
Brakes F/R: disc/disc
Price when new: $17,900
Hagerty value: $5700–$8000
THE HAGERTY VALUATION TEAM SAYS:
This car appeals equally to all age groups. With #2 cars going for $6500, it’s a cheaper entry point than a GTI of the same vintage but more rare. Our insurance quotes are up 25 percent on this car from 2018, so the interest is burgeoning.