This site began in 2002 when I was bored at work and answering repetitive questions on VW forums. Thinking it would just be easier and quicker to copy and paste answers to those frequently asked questions, this site was born. But then I thought, "There is an opportunity here to create something far beyond just answers to FAQs." And so, what began as simply a one-page warehouse of answers, blossomed into the all-encompassing information site you see today... and it continues to grow.
The main reason this site does not have a forum is because plenty of Cabriolet-specific forums already exist, not just in the USA, but around the world (not to mention the popularity of social media, for better or worse). I just do not see a need in starting and maintaining a(nother) forum.
For those who don't know me, I'm probably not who you think I am. I am a middle-aged woman(!) in Arizona, USA who loves these cars, works on her own cars, and goes by the name of kamzcab86 on most VW forums.
Yes, I sure do! She's my baby: 1986 triple-white Best Seller. She was my dream car. I had wanted a Cabriolet ever since I first really took notice of these cars back in around 1981 when Mom and I were driving down the Pasadena Freeway in L.A. We were in the far right lane, and zooming by us in the left lane was a Diamond Silver Metallic Rabbit Convertible with a black top. My eyes followed that little car until it disappeared. I told myself and Mom, "That's the car I want when I start driving!" Fast forward to 1984 when Mom was looking to get a new daily-driver. She had narrowed the field down to a Rabbit Convertible and a Honda Prelude. Upon asking my uncle, who owned Honda dealerships, if Honda was ever going to make a convertible Prelude, the answer of "no" sealed the deal: New car was to be a Rabbit Convertible. We went up to Foothill Volkswagen (RIP) in La Cañada, California and sitting in the front row of the lot was a gorgeous, drool-inducing Montego Black Wolfsburg Edition Rabbit Convertible.
Mom wasn't keen on buying a car without Dad seeing/driving it, so we took it for a little test drive... to where Dad's shop was... 18 miles away... without the salesman! That's unheard of these days. Dad drove the car and said, "If you want it, get it." But, Mom also wasn't keen on spending that much money (about $13,000 with tax and such), so off to the L.A. Times Classifieds we went (yeah, this is back before the Internet, folks). Mom found and subsequently bought a 1984 Mars Red Rabbit Convertible in downtown L.A. for $11,000, which had originally been picked up that year in France via VW's Euro Delivery Program. The car was originally going to be handed down to me, but five years later Mom wasn't going to give up the car, so off to the L.A. Times Classifieds we went again (a new one was out of the question).
We made a few phone calls (lots of them listed in SoCal back then!) and bought the first one we saw on October 9, 1989 from the first owner in Palos Verdes, CA (the car started its North American life in New York). Thirty-seven years (and counting) later, we're still together.
Mom called me at college in 1996 to say that a '95 Cabrio had been bought and that the '84 Rabbit was sold to a couple who were taking it to Arizona to give to their nephew. My heart sank and I had an immediate premonition: the car was doomed. Aside from a few mechanical issues, the car was sold in pristine condition. Fast forward to about 2005 or so, when Mom began cleaning out her file drawers and asked if I wanted anything. This was back when Carfax offered reports for $15, so I told Mom, "Yes, send me the VIN to the Rabbit if you still have it."
She did and I shed a tear: My prognostication proved correct. The Rabbit was wrecked within a year of it being sold. Whether it was repaired or not, I don't know, but it was sold shortly thereafter and within another year it was wrecked again, for the last time... it officially died in 1997 in Tucson, Arizona. I like to think the car, the one I learned to drive with, committed suicide over the shock of being separated from its loving second owners. After graduating college in Arizona, I had thought about tracking down the Rabbit to buy it back... that was, sadly, never to be. Mom always regretted selling it... "The Cabrio just never had the same personality as the Rabbit. I never should have sold that car." My '86 does have a little piece of the '84, however: the carpet in the trunk.
My '86 Cabriolet was retired of daily-driving duties in 1999. She gave me 10 years of mostly reliable service, but parts were beginning to wear out and with a new job in the big city, it was time to get something newer. Enter the 2000 Jetta VR6. The Cabriolet, of course, is still being driven, just not on a daily basis. The car remained in virtually pristine stock form up until about 2006, when I decided to take the plunge and lightly modify her. I love the stock look of the cars (except for those blasted side-markers), but seeing a Golf I GTI in a UK magazine sparked my desire to change things. She now sports black Euro bumpers, BBS RZ wheels, GTI stripes and red grille trim (that's her in the site header). When the stock shocks blew out, I put in sport suspension, but thanks to the craptacular roads in Arizona, I removed the sport suspension and returned her suspension to stock. The engine is still her original JH 1.8L, the trans is still her original 5-speed manual, and I have no plans to change that. Some day she will return to her original, factory glory, but for the near future she will remain her Euro self.
Yes, all Volkswagens. In 1999, a brand-spankin' new Jetta was bought, literally, fresh off the ship and, get this, built on my birthday! It was a black 2000 Jetta GLS with a 12V VR6 engine and automatic transmission (I love manuals, but daily driving in city traffic I wanted an auto trans). It sported smoked tail lights, smoked side-maker and side-repeater lights, a glass sunroof, black leather interior, BBS RXII wheels, GLI headlights, and GLI front spoiler. The Jetta had been a good, trusty car.
In 2010, another dream car, a 1990 Vanagon Westfalia, was added to the stable. Because it's worth far more than the Jetta and because it, amazingly, fit in my garage, the Jetta got booted out to the driveway. I hated to do that to a well-kept, faithful daily driver... and as a result, the Jetta began slowly falling apart: vinyl came unglued, the headliner was falling down, plastic was breaking... and I just replaced the hood lift support and belt tensioner. Poor thing. But the Vanagon has a been a blast! A whole new world opened up when the big blue brick moved in.
In July 2016, the Jetta was diagnosed with a faulty A/C compressor. Combined with a faulty driver's window regulator, sunroof leak due to a shrunken seal, worn out suspension, heater hose junction leaks, and more, the heartbreaking decision was made to replace the 17-year-old Jetta with something new. The repair costs for the car were more than it was worth at the time; thus, the Jetta GLS VR6 was replaced with a 2016 Golf GTI S with DSG and, of course, Clark plaid seats.