Tuesday, February 10, 2015

4k: Skinned Rabbit; White Inside: 1993 VW Cabriolet

Chick Cars. There is a whole subset of small, fun, and affordably priced vehicle that has traditionally received the stigma; the Mazda Miata, Honda Civic del Sol, VW New Beetle, VW Jetta, and of course the drop-top VW Cabrio all come to mind. But who cares? Is the stigma earned - are these actually terrible cars to drive? No. In most cases they are fun, light, and cheap. Every track day and cheap racing series across the country is littered with countless Miatas. Get over it. Why not get some kicks out of a car that other guys are too insecure to drive, and get some Vitamin D in the process. Find this 1993 Volkswagen Cabriolet Collector's Edition for sale in Glen Burnie, MD for $4000 obo via the turbobricks.com forums (membership required to view; sorry).

It's amazing that Volkswagen was producing this 1st-generation Cabrio all the way up through 1993 being based as it was on the original Mk1 Golf / Rabbit that was introduced in 1974. The Cabrio lasted a full 10 years after the Mk1 was otherwise killed, except for the South African Mk1 "Citi Golf" that somehow remained undead until the end of its 2009 model year.

While the Miata is the quintessential RWD "chick car" drop top, it's not the only one that can be a hoot to drive. After all the Mk1 Golf platform was the basis for the original GTI. I'm no expert in early watercooled VW product but there should be plenty of chassis, suspension, brake, and engine upgrades that cross over to the Cabrio body. Incidentally, this flat black Cabrio featured in 2013 is probably the manliest that these cars could possibly look.

Today's particular example is lined in an '80s-fantastic white interior that channels all sorts of Miami Vice references, of which I will spare the reader. The white top needs some repair or replacement, the AC isn't functional, and the airbag light is on, but overall this car presents extremely well for the price. It's got a 5-speed manual and only 78k miles. The little 8-valve 1.8L four cylinder won't get testosterone flowing with its 94hp output, but at only 2300 lb the topless Rabbit will at least scoot out of its own way.

Is your Don Johnson big enough to drive this without fear of ridicule? Hey, at least it doesn't have K-Jet like a Mk1 GTI!

See a better girly car that isn't a Miata? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. Back in the day this was the "hot chick car". If you were driving on the 101 and you saw long blowing hair and a cabriolet you were almost guaranteed a nice sight.
    Once in a while it would be total disappointment. Ahhh! a dude with long hair!

    1. I just remembered that my friend use to drive his wife's red Cabrio around, red with a white top and cow print seat covers. Frikin' classic

  2. Fleetwood T. BroughamFebruary 10, 2015 at 7:33 AM

    This car is one of those that you couldn't go two blocks without seeing one 20 years ago, and now can go 2 months without seeing one. It's like they've disappeared, and it makes me wonder if "collector status" is far behind.

    On another note, the teardrop wheel is one of the awesomest OEM wheel designs of all time, but I'm biased, since they were also on my 16v GTi.

  3. @ FTB - those teardrops look great on the right side but backward and awkward on the left, would prefer Mk1 snowflakes.

    My (now ex-)wife had one of these, I'll confess to borrowing it quite a lot as out on a sleepy backroad on a sunny day it's hard to pick a nicer place to sit and enjoy the drive, girlie-car be damned.

    These nearly require a strut tower tie-bar though, one of the few fitments where there is a real, measurable reduction of body twist...lower bar's not a bad idea either...

    1. I had a Neuspeed upper strut tie bar on my GTi that made a noticeable diff (I imagine it helped even more on this application).

      If you had the snowflakes, you probably remember like I do with the teardrops, what a sad day it was when Pirelli stopped making the P600 in the 195/55 VR14 size. Been almost impossible to find 14" performance tires since.

      Not sure if you've seen these, but they have reproduced both the snowflake and teardrop in 15 and 16" sizes now....look really good on some of the newer VW's. http://www.amourperformance.com/products-page/search-by-brand/brand-label/fifteen52-rml-snowflake/

  4. I had this year cabby but dark green. Lots of fun to drive, I'd love to have another one someday.

    It was dead reliable too, other than a hunger for upper strut bearings.

    1. Ooooh, I just had a flashback to an ex's dark green one----it was the limited edition "Aigner Edition" as I recall, complete with the logo on the seat fabric. How about finding one of those unicorns DT?

  5. The white center console and lower dash really aren't to my liking, but they're not horrible to swap out with a black set. Though the lower dash is pretty darn heavy if I recall correctly.

    If you wanna get too far into one of these, this one's got digifant injection, so it's not the easiest cabby to hop up once you get past the basics. I'd always dreamed of dropping a 1.8T into mine, or a 2.0 ABA.


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