This 170-HP Volkswagen Cabriolet Is Here to Challenge Stereotypes

You might not take the MkI Cabrio seriously. This one proves you should.

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The Smoking TireYouTube

No one expects much from a Volkswagen Cabriolet. You know the stereotypes. This MkI Cabrio is here to challenge all of them with an absurd amount of grip and all the intake noise you could want.

This 1988 VW Cabrio is owned by Road & Track contributor Jason Cammisa, who explained to The Smoking Tire's Zack Klapman that he kept it stock for about "11 miles." Originally, the Cabrio had a 90-hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder, but this one received a 2.0-liter block from a contemporary Passat, a 16-valve head and fuel injection from a 1.8-liter Scirocco, and some other goodies from a Euro-spec Scirocco. The result is around 170 horsepower in something that weighs less than a first-gen Miata. For a tight road, it's more than enough to keep some real sports cars honest.

Underneath, the MkI Cabrio's suspension setup was mostly borrowed from the GTI, so you don't need to do a whole lot with it. On a set of ultra-sticky tires, Cammisa said he measured over 1.0g of lateral grip on the skidpad, which is arguably too much for such a softly sprung, old car.

So, next time you see a VW Cabrio in the classifieds for a good price, put away your preconceived notions, and get searching for a 16-valve head. You (probably) won't regret it.

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