Refurbishing and modifying old cars almost never makes financial sense. It is a hobby and your personal budget should list it as a hobby expense, not a transportation expense. You should drive a "normal" car for your basic transportation needs. The "fun" car is just for fun.
When I bought my car it was 100% bone stock, down to the original Eagle GA tires that came on it back in 1994. So yeah, I probably should have just kept it that way. And for about 20k miles miles, I did just that. It was a spectacular car in how it would just eat up highway miles---it was such a stable highway car compared with anything else in its class when it was new. But like everyone who still owned these cars in the late 90's through, say, 2005, I felt the need to mod the car. Unlike the guy a few posts up, who felt that he had to spend 10's of thousands of dollars to keep up with the Jones', a few key mods will really wake the car up and still roughly maintain the reliability. Most people who owned these cars in the later years were kids who simply didn't or couldn't afford to do things the right way, and yet, they still insisted on modding their cars. The cars ran like crap, likely made less hp than they could have if done right, and yet the owners still beat the hell out of the cars. You tell me, does that sound like a recipe for reliability for any car?
I have no delusions that my car can keep up with a stock Evo, but that was never the point to me. I tried to do it as right as I could--either doing it myself or enlisting the highest quality people I could afford to do the job. I've almost always been happy with the work and over 12 years, the car has very rarely let me down. But most people would simply walk past my car because it's not flashy and it doesn't have every possible performance mod thrown at it, which was and probably still is, the way to get any respect in the "tuning" scene. And yet, very few of these guys ever drove their cars hard---I mean road course hard, not on some back roads. And those guys who did, usually ended up flat bedding their cars home. If you're going to pretend to be some heavy hitter and maintain reliability, you're basically going to have to re-engineer the car. Throwing on a mkIV headgasket and using some forged internal parts isn't going to get you far by itself.
I keep the corrado because it's fun. Period. My mustang, as it sits stock, could likely throw both my corrado as it sits now and any stock Evo (at least if you go by lightning lap times) a pretty decent beating on most road courses. But in some ways, what I like about the mustang is the same thing that I like about the corrado---it's a blank canvas and noticably flawed in certain areas from the factory. The current mustangs are far less flawed, IMO, than anything that came before them though and that is the main reason why I own one. I don't need a second project car. A little suspension work and if I end up doing track days, an oil cooler. Boom, done.
If you're asking about Miata, then it really depends on what you're after. But my view is that for every person that lucks into a steal of a deal on an old Miata with the matching hard top, all records, lovingly maintained, etc. there are 500 examples that have about $3k in immediate needs due to deferred maintenance. And then you can easily spend another $5k on suspension, wheels and tires alone to make it the back road/ auto-x/ HPDE joy that everyone thinks it is. And even then you'll still have a relatively slow car with all the wear and tear typical of a 10-20 year old cheap commuter car. Most of those cheap Miatas are very well and truly used up and in need of a rolling restoration at a minimum. Not to say they can't be fun, but they really need to be refreshed. About 10 years ago the Mazda factory in Japan even offered an official "Roadster Refresh" program. Click here for more details.
Last edited by MAC; 08-31-2012 at 10:40 AM.
Expose your cracks and love will fill them.
It never really crossed my mind but a one owner all original Corrado is really tempting me, always seem to find these one owner cars that are all stock. I just dont know if I can do it, I already have one potential future headche in the mk6 gti But I have a lot of friends who can help with maintenance, etc
But era of VW's scare me because of past experiences with a Eurovan.
Last edited by Aw614; 08-31-2012 at 10:54 AM.
But the point isn't the fact they're problematic. They're just not great cars. They don't perform particularly well in stock form and they are often times worse when modified. The Scirocco has an infinitely better chance at being considered a classic because it survived for more than 1 generation.
I've owned 3 Corrados, 1st was a G60 and the last 2 were VR6s. I just sold my third and last one a few months ago. Not gonna lie, I miss the sound, the lines and shape of the car was sexy and timeless but it was time to move on. It also turned heads, it's not a common car you see here so people didn't know what it was and all they hear is the growl of the VR. There was nothing else to do to make it more fun and I was dumping alot of money to make it 'new' again so I sold it.
BUT I think I would've kept the Rado VR if it was RWD.
Having owned two, with my current one at the tail-end of a now 6 year build, all of my current issues are due to not choosing to leave the car 100% stock, or at least with just a basic lower kit. There was nothing wrong with my wiring, and yet I opted for an OBD2 conversion. There was nothing wrong with the factory brake system, and yet I opted for the system from the 96+ VR6s. The stock brakes were more than adequate, but I saw fit to purchase a ridiculously large set of Wilwoods for the front and rear. All my issues are my own doing, and of no fault of the car.
The Corrado VR6, and virtually all VR6 cars of the generation are surprisingly simple. The go together quite easily, with minimal wiring, and everything is straight forward. To compare a 1994 or later car to a modern R32 is plain stupid, not to mention that you would have preferred to own a Porsche 944, and yet those were laden with their own collection of issues, one of which being a weak transmission that cause 3rd gear to pop out...which of course was the best gear to be in to take advantage of that turbo charged engine.
As car enthusiasts, we hold some brands and some models above others. Why? Because we are enthusiasts, border lining on masochists, and as such see everything through rose colored glasses. Why do I lust after an R34 GT-R, when by the time I can legally import it, parts will be even HARDER to find and driving right-handed in a left-hand country will most likely be a comical learning experience? Why do I covet an Integra Type R, and E30 M3, or even and original Mini? Or what about the more obscure fascinations, such as a first generation Taurus SHO, wrapped in matte black vinyl just so I can emulate Robocop?
We, as a automotive enthusiast collective, seem quite troubled by the Corrado, and similar vintage VWs, and yet the beloved E36 M3 and E39 M5 get a pass despite needing a complete cooling system overhaul at a paltry sum of 50,000miles. Or how about the M5 and its need for a new clutch, at again 50,000miles, because the worshipped BMW thought the stock 540i clutch could deal with an extra 120hp? Is the much-loved Porsche 993 really THAT durable? Doesn't even the basic of maintenance require engine removal?
Fact is, in its heyday, the Corrado was the fastest VW, the best handling, and with few compromises.
Project Corrado RS: Keep Up
The ending of the story: This was the last time I ever drove the car:
I spent the entire afternoon cruising through the hills nervously watching the temp gauge and oil temp as I tried to keep pace with the group of R32s and 1.8T emkaywhatevers that convinced me to take the car on a 200 mile cruise. It pushed through corners, fighting for traction. It didn't have big enough lungs to hang on straightaways with the porkier VWs. But everyone said it looked fantastic. Surprisingly, it didn't break down. It actually got me home. And just as I pulled it into the garage I heard a pop. Then it smelled like bad PF Changs. My wife pulled into the second bay in the R32 and literally said, "HA!" and I climbed up and out of the car to see more coolant gushing out.
So I did what any honest person would do that finally had enough. $14k into the car was my breaking point. So I GAVE THE CAR AWAY. Free. I just couldn't stomach the thought of it keeping someone else awake at night. And 5 years later, the car is still sitting in the yard of the person who claimed. Still not running. Looks fantastic though! Classic!
But when your contemporaries are a bag of marshmallows, a jar of Goober Grape peanut butter and jelly and a can of Pepsi Clear, you kind of just win by default. Josta was the greatest chemical creation in the history of man and it's long been forgotten. RIP, Josta