I love weird cars. Ones with personality, with unexpected quirkiness, and controversial looks. I have never been the type to favor practicality when I can have fun. When companies share that outlook and design cars that offer an experience slightly off-beat from the rest of the market, you can truly see and appreciate those chances to express themselves and their interest in making fun cars. When they’re relatively affordable, it becomes even more fun. One such interesting car that proves VW designers care about cars and driving, not just transportation, is the Corrado. The Corrado was a lift back, front-wheel drive, compact sports-coupe offered from 1988 to 1995 for limited markets. It had a few engine options, some design changes in its short run, and developed a cult following despite low production numbers. But you probably know most of that. I’m here to tell you some things you may not know about the Volkswagen Corrado with the help of our resident Corrado aficionado, Dave Siebert.
Without further hesitation, here is our list of things you didn’t know about the VW Corrado:
Wings and things
The Corrado has a vacuum and electric motor-operated active rear spoiler that extends automatically above 45mph and retracts below 15mph. It can also be manually controlled by the driver to remain up or down at will, making this VW more similar than you would have expected to the bubble-era Mitsubishi 3000gt VR-4.
Parts bin special
The Corrado was built with parts from the B3 Passat and MK2 platform underneath the unique exterior. The A2 platform provided the base chassis while the A3 platform supplied the front suspension assembly for the VR6 versions.
While only the G60 supercharged 1.8L and VR6 2.8 liter options were available in the United States, there were actually several engines available in the ROW markets. A 1.8 N/A, 2.0 N/A, VR6 2.9, and even a 2.0 G60 were offered in various countries in limited numbers. There were also some special editions, like the Corrado Storm, Corrado Jet, and Campaign versions.
The famed design company Karmann was responsible for the design of the Corrado’s unique appearance, which makes it a distant relative of cars like the Ghia. The Corrado features a Karmann badge on the center console designating its development as a product of their creative and iconic lineage.
Built to compete
The Corrado is considered by many to be VW’s first ‘sports’ car. While the GTI was certainly a hot hatch, it was more like a project car that received some engine swaps and updates throughout the years as a Beetle replacement. The Corrado, though, was designed exclusively to compete with the Porsche 944, which it did effectively. With a 6.2 0-60, the Corrado was faster and more capable as a performance car than the Porsche 4-cylinder coupe.
While all Corrado models may look identical from a distance to an untrained eye, they actually have distinctions that help identify what version the car might be. VR6 Corrados had wider arches to accommodate the wider suspension and wheel track, a different hood, different front grilles, headlights, fog lamps, quarter panels, and valances. Only the roof panel, rear hatch, and doors are shared between 4-cylinder and VR6 Corrados. Not only that, but interior differences like matching stitching, color-coordinated shift boots, and different badging can be found on all the special editions if you manage to snag one of the 1,006 special edition cars.
The Corrado has appeared on screen a few times. Most recently, a Corrado is driven by the sketchy attorney hired by the protagonists in season 11 of Trailer Park Boys. While it only appears briefly, the unmistakable shape of the Corrado lends its talents as a quirky car driven by a quirky character to emphasize his nature.
The G60 supercharged Corrado features a distinct whine thanks to its supercharger that is unlike any other engine-driven forced induction sound. This is due to the shape of the internal structure of the G60, named for its G-shape, and how it pressurizes induction air.
If you love the Corrado, you may have known a few of these fun facts. However, with this list of interesting anecdotes, you’ll be sure to clear out any party conversation and establish yourself as ‘that VW nerd no one wants to talk to.’ Enjoy your new status as a social pariah while you revel in your new VW knowledge. Just remember, you’ll then be the go-to source for random knowledge and might have to help them find some old school VW parts. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered in both ways.