Regrets: Volkswagen Corrado VR6

Regrets. I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention. Actually that’s not strictly true. After reaching a grand total of 40 or so cars in my 20 years of driving, I look back at my back catalogue of cars with a fair degree of regret. There are cars I regret selling. Cars I regret not buying. And cars I regret buying (although there aren’t too many of those).

But given that this is my 20th year of life behind the wheel, I felt it was time I took a reflective look back at some of the decisions I’ve made along the way.

At this point it’s only right that I should give some credit to fellow PetrolBloggers, Rob Griggs-Taylor and Ton Dumans, for it was a discussion on twitter that prompted the new feature. Safe to say that we can expect some regrets from them soon.

So where to start. Which of my many regrets do I start with?

It’s a tough question really as it all depends on my given situation at the time. If I’m faced with a long drive back from somewhere, my thoughts invariably turn to my old Passat V6 TDi or Skoda Superb. But if the sun is shining and I’m pining for some B-road action, then it’s the VX220 or Racing Puma that spring to mind. But the vast majority of my regrets are about selling rather than buying. Make of that what you will.

We’ll start with my old Volkswagen Corrado. The only car I’ve owned with an electric spoiler and the only car that made my children cry.

Volkswagen Corrado VR6 on PetrolBlog.com

I distinctly remember buying the Corrado. It was for sale on PistonHeads and for once it didn’t involve a trek across the country to view it. The rationale for buying it was classic PetrolBlog logic. I was running a Honda Accord Type-R and a twice weekly 220 mile commute meant I needed something more economical. I managed to convince myself (and Mrs MajorGav) that a Corrado VR6 would be more fuel efficient. A big engine that would cruise at low revs opposed to a rev-hungry VTEC lump, there’s some logic there, surely? Okay, perhaps not.

Anyway, it was love at first sight. I arrived at an immaculate bungalow in the country to see a gleaming red Corrado parked in an equally impressive detached double garage. The seller was an absolute gent and informed me that the Corrado belonged to his late wife who had passed away a couple of years ago. He had only just brought himself to sell it and desperately wanted it to go to a good home.

Having being presented with a box file of old receipts and enough evidence to suggest that this was a good Corrado, I went home to think about it. In truth, it didn’t need much thought. So I phoned up the next day to make an offer, at which point the kind seller offered it to me at a reduced price as he felt it was going to the right home. What a gent. Carlsberg doesn’t do car sellers, but if it did, they’d be exactly like this gentleman. You can tell so much about a car from the person who is selling it.

Red 1993 Volkswagen Corrado VR6

It turned out to be an absolute peach. It wasn’t perfect, but it ticked all the boxes that matter to me. Original condition, full service history, unmodified and everything that should have worked, did work. Right down to the electric spoiler – a feature that was by far and away my children’s favourite.

The Corrado is also one of the rare coupés from the 1990s that still remains cool today. Think about the Vauxhall Calibra and Ford Probe and it’s fair to say that their image has spiralled into the abyss. It’s the same for the majority of Japanese coupés from the same era. The Corrado on the other hand remains the epitome of cool. Although the new Scirocco has only been out four years, I think the Corrado looks fresher, more elegant and suitably aggressive. It’s a car almost exclusively driven by those in the know.

What’s more, in VR6 guise, it goes like stink. The narrow-angle 2.9-litre V6 engine develops 192bhp and is capable of propelling the Corrado to a top speed of 145mph. It would also accelerate to 60mph in six-and-a-half seconds, but it was the manner in which it moved that was significant. The V6 engine is creamy smooth and produces the kind of aural stimulation that a hot hatch can only dream of. A proper performance car.

Volkswagen VW Corrado VR6 at home on a B-road

It’s also pretty handy on a B-road too, often ranked as one of the greatest front-wheel drive cars of all time, with some people claiming it to be as much fun as some of the rear-wheel drive heroes. They’d be right. The Corrado VR6 is supremely fun through the twists and turns, with a wonderfully communicative chassis and slick gearbox. And thanks to that V6 engine, it powers out of a bend like a hare on a greyhound track. Damn, I miss that car so much.

When circumstances dictated that I really did need a car capable of 45mpg+, I bought a Passat V6 TDi. But I held on to the Corrado and even built a new garage around its dimensions. There’s a whole new regret right there as I’ve since found that it’s not entirely suitable for subsequent cars I have purchased. It’s perfect for the AX GT mind you.

I eventually sold it to fund a new oil-fired boiler for our ageing cottage. Goodness, those things are expensive to buy and cost nearly as much as a Corrado to run. Still, it keeps the family warm and that’s what matters. But for some reason the Worcester boiler doesn’t encourage me to wake up at 4am and head for a drive across the hills.

Volkswagen VW Corrado VR6 outside graffiti-adorned building

I’ve promised myself that one day I’ll get another Corrado. Perhaps even a G60 or a 16v. But I certainly have unfinished business with the brilliant car.

Every time I see a Corrado on the road, I think back to mine. I’m unlikely to find such an original and well maintained VR6 again. Even Matt at Volkscraft Exeter, a chap I trust implicitly with my cars, claimed it was the best Corrado VR6 he had the pleasure of working on. Random statements like that stick in your mind forever, especially when you see it being driven away by a new owner.

It sold within two hours of it going on PistonHeads. Full asking price and sold on the strength of my description. Last thing I knew it was in North Devon, so I hope it’s still going strong.

Both my children burst into tears when it went. I tried to console them with the fact that the new boiler would provide hot water and heat for our home. Their response? “But it doesn’t have a spoiler that goes up and down, Daddy.”

Quite.

STOP PRESS: the Corrado VR6 has returned to the PetrolBlog fleet. Read the story here.

REGRET FACTOR:

Car: 1993 Volkswagen Corrado VR6

Regret: Selling

Reason for selling: New boiler

Strength of regret: 9/10

Possibility of buying another one: 8/10

PetrolBlog wants to hear your regrets. Get in touch with us at the usual address and fill PetrolBlog with regret. You know it makes sense.

Footnote – check out The Corrado Forum for all things ‘rado. It’s one of those rare forums that isn’t home to wallies and fan boys. A brilliant resource.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.

31 comments

  1. November 6, 2012
    gordon

    agreed a great car !

    Reply
  2. November 6, 2012
    Peter Counsell

    That is the absolute distillation of PetrolBlog in one article. Chapeau!

    Reply
    • November 6, 2012
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      You’ll be pleased to know there are more regrets to come! 😉

      Reply
  3. November 6, 2012
    Simon Hingston

    Those pesky kids. Unfortunately I got distracted when you reminded me how much oil boilers cost to run!

    Lovely looking cars and I admire the logic (ok crap logic but I can see where it was. I deployed it looking at a Galaxie the other day) you applied to the purchase.

    Reply
    • November 6, 2012
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Just filled up the oil tank. About the price of a very good Bangernomics car!

      Reply
      • November 6, 2012
        Simon Hingston

        Saw a new definition of middle class on FB earlier. A school friend complaining it was so cold the dog was shivering in his sleep and someone else says ‘Just put the heating on woman!’. Oh if only it were that simple.

        Reply
  4. November 6, 2012
    willp1987

    Dammit, every time I read an article on here I add another car to the ‘must own’ list! Looks wonderful Gav, I can understand why you regret selling that one!

    Reply
    • November 6, 2012
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Put it near the top of the list. You know it makes sense!

      Reply
  5. November 6, 2012
    Aaron Martin

    I loved my Corrado VR6 in midnight Blue pearl, remember each MOT alternated to read Blue or Black in colour of car.
    Great fun car that was certainly an expensive one to run, mind you petrol wasn’t as expensive back then!
    Sadly I think mine had been abused in the past & in the 2 years I owned it it had been in & out of VW quite a few times & with jobs that consistently costing around £500.
    Anyway this is 1 of few cars that I managed to sell for what I payed for it which is pretty good after 2 years of motoring.
    Remember first time taking the Mrs out in & putting my foot down in 2nd gear out of a corner going up a hill & hearing from the passenger sear “oh f*ck me!”.
    Some very spirited & entertaining drives.

    Reply
    • November 6, 2012
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Nice summary.

      Forgot to mention, I also got back what I paid for the Corrado. Made a small profit on the purchase price. What’s more, apart from the MOT fee, it didn’t cost me a penny in the time I had it.

      Reply
      • November 9, 2012
        Antony Ingram (@antonyingram)

        I’ve a friend who seemingly continually does similar and not even on the sort of cars you think it’d work on. Owned a shed of a Ford Galaxy for a year, sold it for £200 more than he bought it for (and this at bangernomics money too). Had an E46 BMW 320d for two years – right spec: black, M Sport kit, diesel engine etc – and sold it for about £200 less than he’d bought it for. £100 per year depreciation! I lost 50% on my Rover in 2 months!

        Reply
    • July 13, 2015
      ian macdowell

      I bought my ’93 VR6 new and never abused it, but I too started getting $500 bills every other month by 2003. Actually it was in the shop two weeks after I bought it! Unreliable as h**l. But so fun to drive. I miss that thing.

      Reply
      • July 14, 2015
        Gavin Big-Surname

        I think I got lucky with mine, as it never caused me any real grief. Of course, this just makes it all the more difficult to accept she has gone!

        Reply
  6. November 6, 2012
    Rafael

    Just in time! I was thinking about selling the 9000 and buying a Corrado VR6…shame it´s so difficult to find one in Spain. It´s hard to find a car that received better reviews in car magazines in the ´90s and more underrated.

    Reply
    • November 6, 2012
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Not many in Spain then?

      Wonder if it would be worth looking in Germany?

      Well worth hunting one down, whatever.

      Reply
  7. November 6, 2012
    Shaun Brader (@ShaunBrader)

    I cried when my dad sold the family Fiat 127… a 1976 one in Silver it was… Emotionally attached to cars, as a kid, it can’t end well can it? My ‘regret’ was a Rover 220 Tomcat… probably because I sold it before the headgasket could go boom, so I only had happy thoughts about it. I’ve had better cars since but…..

    Reply
  8. November 11, 2012
    Avantge

    Reblogged this on Life & Lessons of Car Magazines and commented:
    So…what are some of the great finds that you regret that you no longer own???

    Reply
  9. November 11, 2012
    Rafael

    Gavin, perhaps someday I decide to buy a Corrado like yours, and it would be interesting to know the most important points to check when inspecting one…the “Regrets” section could help potencial buyers, besides functioning as “self-help” to former owners.

    Reply
  10. November 12, 2012
    benharrington

    I harbour similar regrets. I had an ultra low mileage pearlescent blue VR6. It’s the only car I’ve ever owned that was show winning standard. Having got it perfect (sunroof fixed etc, etc) Mrs H fell pregnant and, as I’m sure you know, baby seats just don’t fit in corrados. Sold it to a chap from Ireland at just the right time as their values have tumbled in the five years since. Still scour the classifieds, looking for L479 VLA – as close to automotive perfection as is possible.

    Reply
    • August 30, 2015
      BoxerPixie

      I disagree. My friend and I crammed a large child seat in the back of my Corrado, and her six year old got the ride of his young life. 🙂

      Reply
  11. November 14, 2012
    Ton D. (@Tonsty)

    Only now do I have time to read this great piece. Humbled by the fact of my name being mentioned, you are too kind!

    Anyway.. Great article, great car. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never actually driven a Corrado, despite one of my good mates having a VR6 model. He lives in Finland, though. But I would have had a chance in summer of 2011 when we went roadtripping together:

    http://cl.ly/image/282I0W2I2q0P

    Now, I’ll save any further info for a future post, but reading this I almost regret buying my MG ZS 180 instead of a Corrado VR6… Almost. I will buy one when the ZS gets terminally ill 😉

    Reply
  12. December 13, 2012
    aaron short

    one of the rare fwd cars il actually want to own!
    I cried when my dad sold his 420gsi turbo, that thing was rapid 🙁

    Reply
  13. February 2, 2013
    meetzorp

    I sold a dodgy 1st gen VW Scirocco to a teenaged boy who promptly wrecked it in every possible way a teenaged boy could wreck. Side swiped a skip, backed into a retaining wall, and finally stuffed it into a tree.

    The car had been nothing but a headache for me – brilliant fun to drive when it was running, but disastrously unreliable. Wow, though, could that car handle. Also, its original owner had driven it with the oilpan plug out and seized it up, so I’d stuck the 1.8 litre out of a wrecked Audi Fox in it, and that car would take off like a scalded pig. Would that the fuel injection and electrics not been manufactured in Mexico…

    Anyway, if I’d known that kid would be such an abysmal driver, I’d have held out and sold it to someone who wanted a project car, who’d have done right by that car and enjoyed it, rather than willfully destroyed it.

    Reply
  14. March 16, 2013
    Mark

    I have a low mileage (75,205 miles) green 1994 VR6. Love it, would never sell it. Bought it in 2001 after my 1993 Corrado burned in a house fire. Now that’s my regret! But I was extremely lucky to find my ’94 which is in awesome condition.

    Reply
    • March 17, 2013
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Lucky man! Although the house fire was far from lucky.

      Plus you’ve owned it for 12 years. What kind of mileage did it have when you bought it?

      Reply
      • July 28, 2013
        Mark

        Sorry for the late reply. It had about 47,900 miles on it when I bought it from the Manager of a local Porche dealership. I only drive it in the summer as it’s not really designed for Canadian winters. So to bed it goes around November and back on the road March/April. That first drive of the year is fantastic and something I look forward to each spring.

        Reply
  15. June 27, 2013
    Mike Yap

    I own 2 Corrado VR6 in Malaysia both blue! They are a fantastic cars, one has 75000miles and the other 93000miles. Will not sell them as they will be going to my two boys. Great article

    Reply
    • July 2, 2013
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Lucky boys! How old are your children and when do they get to drive them?!

      Reply
      • February 5, 2014
        Mike Yap

        My eldest have just turned 17 and had his 1st drive in both the Corrado’s last year!

        Reply
        • February 5, 2014
          Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

          Nice!

          How did he get on?

          He’ll go far in life with that start!

          Reply
  16. August 30, 2015
    BoxerPixie

    Loved reading this article…and as if I didn’t already need a reason, you’ve encouraged me to head to the garage to pull out my 100% stock two-owner 1993 SLC, with 58,000 miles, for a “quick” clip around the block. It makes me smile every time I slid into the driver’s seat and like your kids it gives me a thrill every time I see that spoiler rising up in the rear view mirror.

    Here’s a link to a photo from a car show two years ago:
    https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5784/20393482613_da4ae2e34a.jpg

    Last year, I won “Best Watercooled” at an all VW show. I might have cried when they handed me the trophy.

    Reply

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