Rare Fashion Model: 1991 Volkswagen Cabriolet

By the time 1991 rolled around, the Volkswagen Golf had been sold in the US for 16 straight years. Known in the USA as the Rabbit during its first decade, they always enjoyed hopping sales (in my college days, one of the most recognizable cars on campus was a Rabbit where the owner cleverly painted “Carrots Only” under the gas filler neck).  In an attempt to keep things fresh with the convertible Cabriolet model, VW released the Etienne Aigner designer limited edition in 1991.  This surviving example is located in Westchester, NY and can be found here on Craigslist with an asking price of $3,500.

Strictly an appearance package for the Cabriolet, the Etienne Aigner edition consisted of special interior fabric, leather trim, pinstriping, logos, and alloy wheels. Sold in Europe in 1990 and 1991, they appeared in North America for ’91 only. Only three colors were available; Bordeaux Red Pearl, Mangrove Green Metallic, and Midnight Blue Pearl. The paint on this one appears to have gathered its share of fading and scratches, but the body appears to have escaped the worst of east coast tinworm.

The namesake interior appears to have survived the ravages of time better than it has changes in style and taste.  Still, those looking to channel their inner Yuppie may be attracted to the largely intact cabin.

Little is said of the car’s mechanical condition (other than “Runs well!”), and no underhood photos are provided. The seller does make mention of some recent maintenance, including battery, tires, water pump, front struts, belts, axles, tie rod, power steering pump, shifter bushings, exhaust system. It is also said to sport a newer Kenwood Bluetooth sound system, perfect for blasting out Michael Bolton and Bryan Adams on a warm summer’s evening.

Once derided as cars for teenage girls and hairstylists, Etienne Aigners have been slowly gathering a following with Golf enthusiasts. The colors and wheels were certainly attractive, and as long as upholstery that looks like Gordon Gecko’s luggage isn’t a drawback, this could be a fun, unique ragtop.  Any high-fashion gearheads up for this one?

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Comments

  1. JohnnyU

    Looks like a little Porsche D90 inspiration on those wheels

  2. Miguel

    At least the price reflect the condition of the car and they aren’t asking a special model premium.

    Where are you going to find the missing wheels center?

  3. P Wentzell

    So much fun to drive! With a stick, too!!

  4. Miguel

    Do any of you guys know how easy it is to change an automatic to a stick in a 1984 Rabbit?

    Has anybody here done that before?

    • michael

      Buy one that is already stick

  5. @vwrescues

    Glad I found a Mangrove Green Metallic about 2 years ago.
    91 EA’s are cool.

    • BOP_GUY Member

      I had a buddy in high school that had taken a Cabby, found a Mrk 1 GTI interior and the trim, and made himself a GTI out of it. I always thought that was a pretty cool vehicle!

  6. David Member

    I have not done a conversion but as far as I know there’s no difference in the pans so it should just be a matter of gathering the bits. If I recall an ’84 might have the 1.7? If you’re going through the trouble you should consider a 16 valve swap, pretty much plug and play and not hard to find.

  7. michael

    I have one of these Aigner Cabriolet in mangrove green. So far I have done an Relay upgrade for the headlights, Alternator upgrade. Aluminum radiator, new sensors, water pump, thermostat, valve cover studs and rubber gasket. New clutch and redline transmission fluid, driveshafts , motor mounts, shifting bushes redone…and the list goes on. Last thing will be a new paint job. When I am done, I might sell her.

  8. Joe Haska

    My wife had a red 1991 when they were new, my daughter then starting college called it the, “Ultimate Tanning Machine”. I drove it some, but I was a little intimidated, as it was definitely a females car, not often see a guy cruising around in one. My wife loved it!

    • Miguel

      This was theeee car to have for the girls in my high school back in the ’80s, and a lot of them did have them when they were new.

  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    My sister just had to have one of these, so right after college, she traded in her reliable Nissan Sentra that my father bought her for a Cabrio. The first night she owned it, the engine blew up on the highway while she was heading to a Metallica concert.
    I told her that it served her right for not inviting me. LOL!

    • michael

      Not sure how that anecdote is relevant in this post. Did she own this particular car that’s being offered for sale? And even if, Im sure the engine was fixed since.

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        It’s a story, this is a forum, get over it.
        Unless you’re new here, you’ll notice it happens all the time.

  10. BOP_GUY Member

    Well I personally have owned three Rabbits, or more accurately Rabbit based cars. Two Mark 1 GTI’s and a 1990 Cabriolet (no special edition). This was back in the late 90’s when you could get a clean one for under a thousand bucks. They’re totally fun cars to drive, easy to work on, and parts are plentiful with a huge following. I’ve seen other clean Cabriolets (not Cabrio’s) go for well over 10 grand, so this seems like a relative bargain. I’d want it checked out though, because many of these were driven hard (including mine) ! I like something with a little more girth nowadays.

  11. David Miraglia

    Could agree more. I owned two Rabbits( 1975 and 1979) and one Sirrocco (1980). Affordable, cheap fun to drive cars. Always desired a convertible however and its only an hour and a half away in Westchester.

    • michael

      There is a large difference between the Rabbit and Cabriolet . Not just as far as the engine is concerned

    • David Member

      The Cabby is heavy with stiffeners so it’s not as fast or “toss-able” as tin tops. I would probably put front and rear strut tower braces on to stiffen the body up some. The early German models had problems with water making it’s way through the windshield seal and wrecking the fuse box so you might want to check that in NY.

      • michael

        And the Engine ECU since it sits right under the edge of the hood by the firewall

  12. BuickGuy Member

    Honest to God…

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