Mellow Yellow Driver: 1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet – SOLD!
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June 22, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
The Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet is perhaps one of the more recognized drop-tops from the 1980s and early 90s. It was synonymous for a time as being the high school cheerleader’s car of choice (back when teenagers actually wanted a driver’s license) but slowly worked its way into the favor of enthusiasts who liked the idea of a lowered convertible with a rollbar and possibly a VR6 engine swap. This 1985 VW Cabriolet originally listed in May 2022 on Craigslist in Denver is a nicely modified example that wears gorgeous primrose paint and rides on OEM steel wheels with an asking price of $6,500. Comparing that price against the Classic.com model guide isn’t a perfect tool as it compares all of the recent MK1 Volkswagen sales, but it does confirm an average selling price of $15,582. I would argue the Cabrios play in a slightly lower price bracket, so the ask here seems fair.
The Volkswagen Cabriolet is a memory machine in some ways, as enthusiasts of a certain age almost always have a recollection of one. The car itself isn’t terribly exciting to drive, but that’s not why you buy one. I would hazard a guess that the reasons for owning a Rabbit Cabriolet include sensible ones (it has four seats and is economical) to purely nostalgic ones (Michelle Armstrong made out with me one time in a Cabrio, so on and so forth). The other benefits include generally cheap ownership costs, plenty of aftermarket support, and respectable parts availability (not exceptional, but the important components are still available.) The community that keeps these MK1 convertibles alive ranges from OEM purists who want to keep the car looking the way it did when it left the assembly line to hot rod Hoonigans who can’t help but try to install as much power into a shaky, no-roof special while slamming the suspension down on its belly. The stigma of it being a suburban girl’s car has definitely been eroded as customizers began installing upgraded engines and coilovers to what was once the most inoffensive convertible money could buy.
The OnlyVeeDubs YouTube Channel provides this nice history of the various Volkswagen convertible models:
Now, while we love and appreciate modified cars, the slope can be a bit slippery with Volkswagens. While the MK2 cars are becoming more collectible to the point that GTIs with the 16-valve engine are being restored back to OEM specifications, the Cabriolet hasn’t quite gotten to that point yet. You can buy 1980s Volkswagens cheaply and throw some equally-cheap modifications at them to achieve a certain look. The seller has done a nice job of personalizing his Rabbit without going so far that the car isn’t appealing to other owners. The seller has installed a coilover suspension to put the fenders on the tops of the tires, but with the restrained look of the factory steel wheels, it doesn’t seem over the top at all. The only other obvious modification is a set of aftermarket headlights, and the seller lists a new clutch, timing belt, and water pump as the recent maintenance items he’s tackled. Overall, between the color and the straightforward presentation, this Cabriolet looks like the perfect choice for a fun summer cruiser.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1985 Volkswagen Cabrio in a great condition. Runs and drives perfectly. Engine and transmission was rebuilt 2000 miles ago. New clutch, timing belt and water pump replaced as well. Coilover suspension, If interested please call or text.”
1980s icon: have you ever ridden in or driven a classic Volkswagen MK1 convertible?
My wife and I bought a used green 1981 Rabbit cab in 1985 as a backup car for our Porsche SC and Alfetta. In April 1990 we drove it from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas and back and then down to San Felipe. A magical trip. DId a camping/hotel combo with a homemade luggage rack mounted on the engine lid to hold lawn chairs and our tent. Not that I ever had to open it! These little cars with their 5-speed were soft but fun to to toss around. As I recall it was a good cruiser and working cruise control and very good air conditioning.
What is the mileage and maintenance history?
Gerd, this VW is one of our Craigslist Classifind leads and not one of our auction lots. As such, we are not involved with the car’s sale so if you are interested in any information like that you will need to reach out to the seller directly via the contact information provided in the listing.