Tag Archives: VW Rabbit Convertible

Car Spot: Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet

A fun little drop top

Now that the weather has finally started to get decent here in Wisconsin I’m starting to see summer cars like this week’s car spot. This car just exudes fun! The Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet is the convertible version of the Volkswagen Golf, introduced in 1979. For younger readers, there was a time on American roads that convertibles were an everyday sight. They were fun and stylish. We had an 85 Chrysler LeBaron and it was a total blast. Living here in Wisconsin, where summer is sometimes short, I had that top down when it was 50 degrees out.

Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet
Fount this spot at the apartment complex our daughter lives at. In the upper left you can see the 86 Kawasaki 900 Ninja I just bought nearby.

It was a tough act to follow when VW replaced the Beetle Convertible with the Rabbit Cabriolet. Hitting the U.S market as their totally new compact, affordable convertible built with safety in mind. With the slogan ‘Sun, Moon and Cabriolet’ Volkswagen introduced the Golf Cabriolet on the market at February 14, 1979. The same year that Michael Jackson released Off the Wall and ESPN debuted on cable. The roof that folded all the way back, making it a hit with teens and younger drivers looking for something fun.

Just add sun. VW print ad.

With uni-body construction, and reinforcements welded in, it was built entirely at the Karmann factory, from stamping to final assembly. VW supplied the engine, suspension, interior, etc. for Karmann to install. The Karmann badges exist on all Cabriolets to pay tribute to the company that built the cars, from top to bottom; therefore, there is no such thing as a “Karmann Edition”.

RELATED Spot: See the VW it replaced and how I became caretaker.

Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet Karman logo
Karman logo located on the lower right front quarter.

For improved rollover protection, and structural integrity, it featured a permanently installed roll bar attached to the B-pillar sort of looking like the handle of a picnic basket. It was the first car in this class to have a permanently installed roll bar. Power came from h a naturally-aspirated Inline 4 cylinder engine producing 97 bhp at 5400 rpm transmitted to the road by the front wheel drive with a 5 speed Manual gearbox. It was a huge hit, overtaking the Beetle Cabriolet in sales with 388,522 units built becoming the most successful cabriolet of its time. The car went through three more generations before being discontinued in 2002, replaced by the Volkswagen New Beetle Cabriolet and the Volkswagen Eos.

RELATED Spot: Early 60s VW Convertible

Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet
REd was the color of the day as it was parked by two red BMWs.

The Cabriolet was sold all over the world, and sold under several names and special editions, including Wolfsburg models in the United States. A total of 684,226 Golf Cabriolets were sold. And because of that, they are super affordable. A quick search found a bunch of them for under 5 grand. Cheap fun during the summer.

Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet Houndstooth interior
Original rare Houndstooth interior.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out this spot. Go and browse my other unique spots and if you’re in the market for a new car, Mark’s reviews. Come back next week for another one of my spots along with some of its history and have a great weekend.