The 1990 VW Corrado, code name “Janet”

If anyone knows me and my personal taste in cars, they’ll know that I always fall for the less mainstream cars over their popular counterparts. Give me a 70’s Buick or Cutlass over a Camaro or Mustang any day. If you look up cool but-not-mainstream cars in the dictionary, you’ll likely find a photo of a Volkswagen Corrado next to it.

This car was Volkswagen’s first attempt at a ground-up true sports car. It had impressive styling, great handling, and for it’s time an impressive amount of horsepower. It started with the G60, a supercharged 1.8L 4 cylinder engine producing about 160 horsepower. They eventually beefed it up with the SLC/VR6 6 cylinder engine producing about 180 horsepower. VW imported them into the US from 1990 until 1994, and it is estimated that about 18,000 made them into the country.

A good friend of mine, Michael, has had this black 1990 Corrado G60 sitting in his yard for as long as I have known him. As is often the case with people and cars, he has grown very emotionally attached to this car. He and his wife went on their first date in this Corrado. He named it “Janet” after “Dammit Janet” in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It is so much more than a car, it’s a member of his family.

You can’t just discard family. I had made several inquiries on the car in the past few years, but it was obvious that he wasn’t ready to part with it. He had it tucked neatly under a car cover and still had the idea that eventually he’d get around to fixing the few things that were wrong with it. It’s a common story and is often times the tragic end of a great automobile.

One day recently, out of the blue, he mentioned that he had another family heirloom vehicle that he really wanted to get from his grandfather (a 70’s VW Camper Van) and it was time to let the Corrado go to a new home. I told him I was interested in it and if he’d come up with an acceptable price that I’d be happy to take it and get it back on the road. I assured him that if it was possible to fix it, that I would fix it and that it wasn’t just going to be parted out.

A few days later we were getting dinner together and he threw out a price, $800. I know nothing about Corrados except they are rare and getting rarer. I knew parts would be expensive and difficult to find and that virtually nothing is remanufactured to restore these cars. However, I didn’t know if $800 was way too much or a steal. I knew Michael, and I knew he cared for this car and that what he said was wrong with it was exactly the truth. Despite this, it had been sitting for many years and was a risk. I accepted the deal and below are photos of us picking up the car the very next day (never give someone emotionally attached to a car too long to reconsider once a deal is made).

What was wrong with the car, as far as Michael knew: The tensioner pulley on the timing belt was starting to make a noise. He bought a new timing pulley and belt and parked the car expecting to do the job himself. He never got around to it and it ended up sitting for a couple of years. Once he went back to start the car to take it to be fixed, the fuel pump had quit working and the car would not start. He purchased a new fuel pump and it was included in the sale.

I’ll update this site as we make progress on bringing this Corrado back to life.