For paint information, please go to the Paint Colors page in the Museum.
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.
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
Golf II bumpers can be installed on your Cabriolet, but a) it will look rather silly, b) 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; tap here for more details.
Can the Clipper kit be installed on 1979-1987 Cabriolets?
Yes; you will need the following parts to complete the transformation:
Can the Clipper kit be removed and 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.
||Available used, if you can find them:|
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) may look identical, but they are not and 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.
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.
Front Valance / Chin Spoilers
Most commonly used on the 1979-1987 Cabriolets 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.
Small Duckbill Spoiler Part Numbers:
Large 2-piece Duckbill Spoiler:
HeckblendeA 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.
No, the factory side-marker lenses do not have, nor ever came with, gaskets because:
Part numbers for side-marker light hardware:
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 Light Lenses
When searching German eBay, use the following search words:
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.
Factory side trim is not available new. You will need to source it used from online sources (like eBay or Facebook Marketplace), or your local junkyards, or seek alternative trim.
Removing & Installing Side Trim
Installing Side Trim Clips
Where To Buy Side Trim Clips
Total number of clips on the car: 36
VW Part Numbers:
* Notes & Warnings:
Where To Buy Rocker Panel Trim Clips
Total number of clips on the car: 12
VW Part Numbers:
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 (at right/below) that simply clamps to the car, unlike the Votex model that requires drilling into the A- and B-pillars.
Where to buy them: Salvage yards, on-line auction houses like eBay, or other suppliers (see Parts page).
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. You can also contact me for a print-ready image of the Etienne Aigner decal to take to your local print shop.
Where to buy seals, new: Vintage Rubber and other online parts suppliers.
For convertible top seal information, please go to the Convertible Top page.
Front license plate bracket, 1980-1987:
The above bracket is part #176807997. The bracket was installed by VW dealers when the cars were new and mounts to the underside of the front bumper, while the license plate slides into the bracket and is bolted in place.
Karmann Coachworks added structural reinforcements to the Cabriolet during the manufacturing process, which can be seen in the images below.