Updated: 18-Jun-22

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Window Glass

All window glass, including windshield, information is now in one complete document.

 Window Glass Guide


All 1979-1993 Cabriolets can interchange their bumpers with each other. And, no, there was a never a filler piece between the front bumper and valance/core support!

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 .  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.

Golf II (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:

ABD Racingwerks

Rieger Infitinty Spoiler




Autostyle (South Africa)


Erebuni (kit #236)


Kamei (X1 kit)





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; 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 many 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.  (Also available in aftermarket versions as well as badgeless.)

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)



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)

Looking for clear or smoked to make the side of your car less hideous? Head to eBay and search for Mercedes G-Wagon (W460 or W463) side-markers (the G-Wagon uses the exact same side-markers; thank you to Danny for this discovery!);  I got a set of 4 for $50, and a set of 2 for $30 (quite a bargain considering some Mercedes outlets were selling them for far more).  Note 1: The "clear" versions are actually clear lenses attached to white backing plates and, thus, actually appear more white than clear and, therefore, may not look too good on the darker color cars. I installed clear on my Alpine White Cabriolet and smoked on my Orly Blue Vanagon, as seen below, using amber and red LED bulbs from SuperbrightLEDs.com. Note 2: The clear versions, when lit at night with color-appropriate bulbs, will look much like the factory versions; the smoked lenses will merely have a circle of light as seen below.


(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

Part numbers for side-marker light hardware:

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

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

Bulb, incandescent: 37R (3893)

Bulb, LED: BA9s-x4 (12V, 90°); 2 amber, 2 red

To remove/install the side-markers, keep pressure on the lens as you turn your screwdriver. If the lenses have not been touched in many years, you may need to gently pry the bulb's protective rubber boot away from the lens using a small flat screwdriver.

Aftermarket Tail Lights


Available At:



M3-style, smoked


Crystal clear




eBay Germany


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!


Memo Imports

LED Optik

eBay Germany

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.

Installing Side Trim Clips

Where to Buy Side Trim Clips

Where to Buy  Rocker Panel Clips


  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

Mk1 Autohaus

The Cliphouse

▪ NAPA Auto Parts (Part #6651396)*

VW Heritage

36 clips total on the car

1980-1987: #803-853-139C

(12 clips total on the car)

1988-1993: #155-853-147A

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.

Roof Rack

A roof rack, made by Votex (seen at right), was available for purchase through your local Volkswagen dealer; however, it is no longer available new.

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.


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 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.

License Plate

How to mount the front license plate on 1980-1987 North American Cabriolets? These cars were originally equipped at front-plate state dealers with an L-bracket, part #176807997, shown below. The bracket mounts to the underside of the front bumper, while the license plate slides into the bracket and is bolted in place.

Structural Reinforcement

Karmann Coachworks added structural reinforcements to the Cabriolet during the manufacturing process, which can be seen in the images below.


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Body & Exterior

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