Low-mile VW sale shows strength of ’90s sports-coupe nostalgia
When discussing the ascendant ’90s-era collector-car market, you’d be forgiven for thinking primarily about Japanese vehicles. It’s hard to escape spectacular Nissan Skyline and Toyota Supra sales, let alone this year’s dramatic Acura Integra Type R auction record. However, when we saw a 15,000-mile 1993 Volkswagen Corrado SLC sell for $53,550 on Bring a Trailer, it served as a good reminder that Japan doesn’t have the market cornered.
The Corrado’s potential as a future collector car wasn’t a sure thing at the start. As the stablemate of and eventual replacement for the popular Scirocco, the Corrado didn’t start off on the right foot. Improvements over the Scirocco drove costs through the roof, and performance from 1988’s top-line G60 supercharged 1.8-liter engine was anemic. Then came the introduction of the VR6 engine in 1992.
The 2.8-liter six-cylinder’s narrow, 15-degree V layout squeezed 178 horses into the tight confines of the Corrado’s engine bay, dramatically waking up straight-line performance. VW used suspension and other components from the Mk III Golf to help integrate the engine into the Corrado, and the body grew a more aggressive hood and fender flares.
The change in powerplant led to critical success, but the problem of price remained. A VR6-equipped Corrado SLC carried a base price of $22,540 in 1993—almost $49,000 today. The Ford Probe GT that beat the Corrado SLC on its way to winning Car & Driver’s December 1992 sport coupe comparison test cost a comparatively paltry $15,504, just over $33K in today’s dollars. Whether the Corrado cost too much for the segment, too much for a VW, or both, the VR6 couldn’t save Volkswagen’s sports coupe. Corrado production ceased after 1995.
The redeeming traits of the VR6-equipped Corrado SLC and its slow sales relative to the competition have paid dividends for it in today’s market. Hagerty Price Guide’s #1 condition (Concours) value for a 1993 Corrado SLC is $57,300, just a touch north of where this BaT sale landed. Compare that to a $31,400 #1-condition value for a 1997 Honda Prelude SH, or $33,100 for a similar-quality 1993 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX. The Corrado isn’t likely to cross into legend status like the Integra Type R, but it clearly has built a strong case for itself against most of its Japanese sports-coupe competition.
This particular example benefitted from a few factors. At 15,000 miles and in pristine shape, it may be one of the cleanest Corrado SLCs in the country. Mild modifications don’t tend to hurt cars in this segment, and the Borla exhaust on this example will only serve to highlight the VR6’s growl. The photographic presentation—a hallmark of Bring a Trailer seller 911r—exhaustively portrayed every detail of the car and gave the Corrado the glamor a car in this condition deserves. Finally, the right person was in the room: According to comments, the buyer is Dave Schouster, owner of Eastside Motorsport, a VW shop that’s been steeped in VR6 work for decades.
$53,550 might sound like a lot for a Corrado—many people thought the same thing when it was new, too, but die-hard fans are still enthusiastically plunking down cash on their favorites. The battle for superiority in the ’90s sports coupe segment lives on, decades later.