The numbers are dwindling, the species endangered. One day, they'll no longer exist. No, we're not talking about Harpy eagles, but rather another powerful predator, aka the Volkswagen Corrado. It's been almost a decade since the last Corrado rolled off the Wolfsburg assembly line, the place where VW's last true sports car was built. Since then, Corrados have led very active and sometimes dangerous lives. Quite a few have been killed for sport.
Pat Chiu's 1990 Corrado G60 led one of those lives. A previous owner had aspirations of turning this car into a monster, including a turbocharged 2-liter engine, four-wheel drive and rare aerodynamics. Ambitious? You bet, but not exactly a bolt-on project. It sat in a garage for several years, unrealized and dusty, until Pat found it and brought it home.
"The engine was a wreck," said Pat. "Fixing all the problems would have been a major task. Most of the under-hood mechanicals were one-off type stuff, all fabricated from scratch. I thought it would be better to start with a clean, reliable slate."
The "reliable" part of the equation came in the form of a 1.8t engine culled from a late-model MkIV GTI. "I wanted to keep all the functionality the powerplant offered...make this Corrado behave like it was born this way," said Pat.
With the help of the experts at HPA, Pat did just that. This Corrado swallowed the entire GTI mill, including the complex electrical systems. The driveline was upgraded to VR6 stock along with the five-bolt hubs and bigger brakes. The engine was augmented with an HGP ECU and a stainless-steel Supersprint exhaust. Producing well over 200 bhp, Pat wisely used a Quaife differential to ensure the prodigious torque would not be wasted. KW Variant I coilovers were fitted at each corner and rolling stock is comprised of 17-in. MHW wheels with 205/40ZR-17 Bridgestone Potenza S-02 rubber. The cabin is largely stock save a full complement of VDO gauges and a MOMO steering wheel.
Being a big Corrado fan, I arranged to meet Pat in Vancouver and see first-hand what looked so good on paper. A week before the flight, the car was stolen in front of Pat's house. The thief brought his girlfriend, who apparently decided it would be a good time to engage in a heated domestic dispute. A concerned citizen phoned the police and the chase was on. The Corrado eluded the RCMP for more than an hour, both out-accelerating and out-cornering the police cruisers. The high-speed pursuit ended when the driver overshot a long sweeper and spun out in a field where he was promptly arrested.
Despite the abuse, the Corrado was fine save the damaged Oettinger aerodynamics. Pat replaced them with a Rieger Tuning front bumper cap and added a Zender rear wing. He also replaced the hood with a carbon-fiber unit, and sprayed the entire car with a sexy Black Rose Pearl paint.
When I finally hooked up with Pat, his car was perfect, factory perfect. I snapped a few hundred pics and loaded the electronic files into a media storage bin that failed and took the images with it. Almost a year later, the car was re-shot. It's still beautiful and it runs strong, a testament to its sound engineering. Let's hope it stays that way.
VW Corrado 1.8T
SpecificationsEngine TypeTurbocharged inline four, aluminum head, iron block
External ModificationsSupersprint stainless-steel exhaust, HPA cold air intake
Drivetrain ModificationsQuaife limited-slip differential
SuspensionKW Variant I coilovers
BrakesRetrofitted Corrado SLC units
TiresBridgestone Potenza S-02, 205/40ZR-17
InteriorFactory SLC trim, VDO gauges