Home Technical Library Resources Database Registry Store About Me Email Me

 The original online guide to the Volkswagen Cabriolet & Rabbit Convertible!

The information contained in this site is for entertainment and informational purposes only.  The site creator is not responsible for you, your car, your errors, or your economic losses resulting from your use of this information.  Additionally, this site and its content are not affiliated with Volkswagen of America nor Volkswagen AG.  "VW" and "Volkswagen" are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG and are used on this site for descriptive purposes only.
 No text on this site may be copied to or used on other web sites without written permission of the site administrator; the only exception to this is if proper credit is given to this site when quoting copied text.  Almost all images on this site are watermarked as a direct result of a copy-cat site's plagiarism; if these images are copied and/or used on other web sites, proper credit is now built into said images.
© 2002-2014 KamzKreationz



General Info






Troubleshooting







DIY Guides & Tips




Body & Exterior


Last update:

September 12, 2014


Notes


For paint information, please go to the Paint Colors page.



Windshield Types

1980-1993:

  • Type: Press-in windshield
  • Glass: FW332 (industry part number)
  • Seal, with molding groove: 171845121A (VW part number); WCR332 (industry part number)
  • Seal, without molding groove: 171845121 (VW part number); WBL332 (industry part number)


The "chrome" windshield trim: NLA from USA Volkswagen dealers, but available through Mk1 Autohaus, VW Heritage, Parts Place Inc (item #9136), Mid-America Motorworks, etc. (VW part #255853305). The 255 part number is for a Vanagon; one piece is enough to do one Cabriolet windshield. To make your life a bit easier, use this tool to install your new windshield "chrome".

1990-1993 (USA models):

  • Type: Glue-in windshield
  • Glass: FW659 (industry part number); 155845011K (glass with seal; VW part number; USA); 155845011L (glass with seal; VW part number; Europe)
  • Seal: unavailable; you can have the glass ordered, but you'll be required to use a universal seal (it's wiser to switch to the press-in version; see note below)

Note: The glue-in windshield for USA Cabriolets equipped with airbags is no longer available as of February 2012.  These cars must now use the press-in seal and windshield for the 1980-1989 Cabriolets.  Be aware, that the rubber beading must also be permanently removed from the windshield frame before the new glass/seal is installed.  This will result, however, in a small gap between the new seal and the vinyl/cloth A-pillar covering. This gap is merely aesthetic; it will have no structural detriment.

Bumpers

All 1979-1993 Cabriolets can interchange their bumpers with each other.


Removing the bumpers

Disconnect the front turn signal wires from their harness connectors.  Remove the 4 bolts holding the bumper brackets to the frame, two bolts per left and right side (rear bolts are accessed inside the trunk; front bolts are accessed from under the car -- one left side bolt also holds the horn bracket in place). Clipper kit bumpers: Remove the screws and/or rivets in the fender flare area.  Bumpers weigh approximately 50 pounds each; be prepared to hold/catch the bumpers as the bolts are loosened and removed.


Euro bumpers  

There are two types of Euro bumpers: small metal bumpers (a smaller, lighter version of the USA bumpers) and plastic-over-metal bumpers .  RPI, Concept1, Oldskool Industries, Rabbit Parts, etc. sell these Euro bumpers.  The black plastic bumpers can be painted to match the car.  If you order the plastic bumpers be sure to request that they include the fender mounting clips and check to see if the lights are included.  

Note 1: You cannot use the USA bumper bolts. You will need to purchase M8x1.25x25 hex bolts as well as matching washers (best to use one larger washer with one smaller washer).

Note 2: Euro bumpers use bulb #1156. Be aware that most stock light housings that come with the bumpers are not dual-filament/dual-contact which means the lights have to be wired as running lights or turn signals, not both. If you wish to have the running/turn light combo, you'll need to order light housings for Euro bumpers that come with "city lights". Furthermore, the stock USA bumper lights will not fit Euro bumpers without modification.


Mk2 bumpers  

Mk2 bumpers can be installed on your Cabriolet, but it will take some modifying to make them fit properly.  Additionally, there are two bumper styles used on the Mk2 Golfs: "small" bumpers and "big" bumpers; click here for more details.

Body Kits

Clipper kit

"Clipper kit" is the phrase used to describe the factory body kit installed on 1988-1993 Cabriolets.   Click here for a Clipper anatomy lesson.

Can the Clipper kit be installed on 1979-1987 Cabriolets?  Yes; you will need the following parts to complete the transformation:

  • Front and rear bumpers with brackets and light assemblies
  • Front and rear bumper covers with in-tact holders
  • Front spoiler
  • Fender flares/fender arches
  • Side skirts
  • Hardware for installing all of the above
  • optional: Dual-round headlight grille with lights and clips


Can the aluminum/chrome bumpers from the 1980-1987 Cabriolets be installed on the 1988+ Cabriolets?  Yes, it is a direct swap once the Clipper kit is removed.  You will need the bumper brackets from the 1980-1987 cars in addition to the bumpers.  Optional:  1984-1987 fender flares (it is highly recommended that these flares be installed so that the car looks "finished").


Aftermarket body kits

Various aftermarket body kits & accessories were/are available for Cabriolets.

Still available:


Available used, if you can find them:


Grilles

1979-1987 Cabriolet Grille

The grille on these cars is called a single-round grille.  The single-round grille from '79-'87 Cabriolets can be installed on '88-'93 Cabriolets. Contrary to popular belief, it is simply plug-and-play as far as the electrical goes; however, the wires for the former inner lights may need to be capped or taped off. No additional wiring should be necessary due to the outer dual-round grille lights being pre-wired as both hi- and low-beam (you may need to purchase dual-filament headlights to complete the swap).  Additionally, the inner lights on the dual-round grille, in stock form, are wired into the hi-beam wires and, therefore, only turn on when the hi-beam switch is activated; doing this swap will eliminate a pair of hi-beam lights.  If you are doing this swap and haven't added relays to your headlight wiring, it's highly advised that you do so to gain better lighting out of your single-rounds.

There is also what is known as the Hella grille insert which is the same as a '79-'87 grille except it has lights in the center section.  This grille came stock on some Cabriolets in Europe. If installing this grille on A/C-equipped cars, the A/C condenser will most likely need to be relocated or removed. 


1988-1993 Cabriolet Grille

The grille on these cars is called a dual-round grille.  The dual-round grille from '88-'93 Cabriolets can be installed on '79-'87 Cabriolets.  In most instances, it may be necessary to add wires and/or to add relays to make the inner lights work.

The inner lights, in stock form, are wired into the hi-beam wires and, therefore, only turn on when the hi-beam switch is activated; additionally, they are not fog lights!.  The outer lights are both hi- and lo-beam.

NOTE: Grilles for A2 chassis Volkswagens (1985-1992 Golfs/Jettas) will not fit your Cabriolet!


Red Grille Trim

To replace the chrome grille trim on a single-round grille with red like the Euro GTI's have, remove the trim from the grille pieces and paint it (GTI color is Mars Red), apply red 1/4" pin striping to the grille, or source OEM red trim from Europe.


Badgeless Grilles

Aftermarket badgeless grilles (including all-chrome versions) are also available at many of the aftermarket retailers found on the Parts page.  They are available in both single-round and dual-round versions.

Spoilers & Other Accessories

Front Valance Spoilers

Most commonly used is a "duckbill" spoiler and there are 2 types: the smaller, 1-piece spoiler and the bigger, deeper and often 2-piece GTI "duckbill" spoiler can be found at many online aftermarket suppliers found on the Parts page.  Both spoilers snap into the 5 holes at the bottom of the front valance utilizing clips which are usually sold separately from the spoiler (you can also use bolts, washers and nuts in place of the clips); the spoiler clips are the same as the grille clips.

Part Numbers

Small duckbill spoiler: 171805903

Mounting clips: 171853695A


Large 2-piece duckbill spoiler: 171805903B (left), 171805904B (right)

M5x18 bolt: N0141324

5.3x15x1.6 washer: N0116653

Spacer: 531805917

B5x11x0.5 spring washer: N0122253

M5 hex nut: N01100517


Grille/hood Spoilers  

Kamei (#KM44047, single-round version)

Kamei (#KM44048, dual-round version)

Mattig


Heckblende

A heckblende is a filler panel for the trunk lid.  Most, if not all, are made for the hatchbacks, but can be adapted to fit the convertibles.  Some light up, others do not.  Available with various inscriptions (Rabbit, Golf, etc.) and in smoked form.

Light Lenses

Side-marker Lights (North America)

No aftermarket or OEM smoked or clear side-marker lights exist.  Update: Clear side-markers are available, but you'll need your gold card.  Apparently, the Mercedes G-Wagon (W463) came with the same side-markers (both being made by ULO) and clear versions are available (these will require wire connections)... for a hefty price.  Thank you to Danny for this discovery!  Update #2: Clear and smoked (yes, smoked!) lenses, by themselves, are available at Express Body Parts, Inc. (these are plug-and-play).


Part numbers for the OEM side-marker light mounting hardware:

Plastic nut: N-905-353-01 (2 required per lens)

Screw: N-013-964-4 (2 required per lens)


Aftermarket Tail Lights
























Rabbit/GTI Lights

Installing the square Rabbit/GTI headlights on your Cabriolet requires more work than simply swapping the headlights.  You'll need the fenders and bumper from said Rabbit along with the grille components, lamps and the corresponding radiator support.  You can also install the square headlight grille from a '79/'80 Rabbit, but it too is not a straight swap: the radiator support/front valance will have to be altered (the grille is slightly taller), or the matching support will have to be swapped in.


Click here for examples.


Side Trim

OEM side trim is not available new.  You will need to source it used from online sources (like eBay) or your local junkyards.

Removing & Installing Side Trim

  1. Beginning at one end, place your forefingers along the bottom edge and your thumbs along the top edge of the trim.
  2. Pull the bottom edge of the trim out and up.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 along the trim piece until it is completely removed.


Installation of the trim is reverse of removal, with the larger edge being on the bottom.











Roof Rack

A roof rack, made by Votex, was available for purchase through the dealer; however, it is no longer available new. Click here to see a picture of it.  You can try searching for one of these racks on UK eBay or German eBay (search for Golf cabrio gepäcktrager).  You can also search other online sources in the USA, but the rack is extremely rare States-side.  The OEM part number for this rack is 155071126A.


Thule also made an aftermarket rack that simply clamps to the car, unlike the Votex model that requires drilling into the A- and B-pillars.


Badges & Decals

Where to buy them: Salvage yards, on-line auction houses like eBay, or other suppliers (see Parts page); dealers can still order some of the badges/emblems.  


Collector's Edition badges are no longer available.  Etienne Aigner decals are no longer available in North America; however, the decals (along with Classicline badges and Sportline decals) are now available for purchase from Volkswagen's (German) Classic Parts web site, or you can contact me for a print-ready image to take to your local print shop.


Seals


Click here for a list of part numbers and price list.  Those listed as "NLA" are no longer available new.  If new seals cannot be found, you will have to source used ones.


Where to buy seals, new: Vintage Rubber, Mk1 Autohaus, World Impex, and other online OEM parts suppliers, in addition to your local VW dealer.


For convertible top seal information, please go to the Convertible Top page.


Structural Reinforcement

Karmann Coachworks added structural reinforcements to the Cabriolet, which can be seen in this image (shaded areas).


back to top

Style:
Available At:
Notes
M3-style
TMTuning
When searching German eBay, use the following search words:

Golf I leuchten
Golf I Rückleuchten
Golf I lampen

Be sure the seller is willing to ship to North America before bidding!
M3-style, smoked
Clear
Crystal Clear
TMTuning
Smoked
TMTuning
All-red
Altezza-style
LED Optik
Installing Side Trim Clips
Where to Buy Side Trim Clips
Where to Buy  Rocker Panel Clips
Notes/Warnings
1.
Push clip into hole.
2.
Tap center post in so that it is flush with the clip's surface.
3.
Install trim as outlined above.
1980: #155-853-585D (NLA)
1981+: #155-853-585



NAPA Auto Parts (Part #6651396)


36 clips total on the car
1980-1987: #803-853-139C



VW dealers
(12 clips total on the car)
1988-1993: #155-853-147A


VW dealers
A) The NAPA clips are slightly different from the OEM clips and will require more force to install the trim/molding.
B) If you use a tool to punch out the center posts to remove the old clips, be sure the windows are rolled all the way up or you may break the glass.

Clip #113-853-585C sold at ClipsAndFasteners is for '70s-era Golf I/Rabbits.  It is too small to fit the 1981-1993 Cabriolets.