If we’re being honest, the Volkswagen Scirocco was fresh in 1974 but ultra-stale by its second-generation’s last year in the United States, 1988. The Corrado was its replacement: a high-tech, aggressive hatchback optionally powered by one of the funkiest engines the company ever made. It was perfectly German, during an era of chunky and understated styling that still conveyed muscle. (Think about the contemporary Audi RS2, perhaps the perfect exemplar of the European styling sensibilities of the time.) Or the Mercedes-Benz 500E that was subtly tweaked and tuned by Porsche.
The 1.8-liter G60 engine under the hood of some models, like the one you’re seeing here that’s for sale on Bring a Trailer, featured a very unusual supercharger. Known as a G-Lader in German, the compressor used two spiral elements: one spinning within and around the other compressing the intake air. It’s a complex but elegant solution—and therefore, perfectly German. And like many other wonderful German things, it worked very well . . . when it was working, that is. But it proved more troublesome than owners—or Volkswagen—were prepared for in practice.
So VW canned it in favor of the VR6, which debuted on the Passat B3 and found its way into later Corrados (and then a whole heap of other VW products). But G-Lader parts and rebuild services are available, so buying and keeping an older G60 Corrado running isn’t an exercise in futility.
Also, spoiler alert: The Corrado had an active one. (We are so, so sorry for this pun. — Ed.) It was one of the first street vehicles to be so equipped. It kept the rear of the car looking clean, but deployed at 45 miles per hour to reduce rear-end lift, VW claimed, by a full 64 percent at 75 mph. Considered a bit of a gimmick at introduction, the concept of an active spoiler has since been adopted by plenty of cars since then as a means of solving tricky aero issues that would otherwise require unsightly wings or spoilers.
But the Corrado was seriously expensive, and our theory is that Americans just didn’t get it. Even in stouter VR6 form, the Corrado was a strange albatross, something hard to explain and hard to afford. Whereas a GTI was easy to understand, reasonably priced, and fun. The GTI thrived and lives on to this day . . . while the poor Corrado was euthanized after the 1994 model year. While the Scirocco was subsequently reborn, the Corrado hasn’t—as of yet—been revived.
This particular Corrado shows low mileage and presents cleanly, with its very Teutonic silver paint set off by its very 1990s black door trim and multi-spoke alloys. There are mods, including a supercharger pulley—no telling what that does to the G-Lader’s generally questionable reliability, though. In fact, it might be worth taking this one to a specialist for an inspection and some tips if you’re actually considering buying it. For everyone else, enjoy this very pretty example of a forgotten bit of German hot-hatchery.
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