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1990 volkswagen golf convertible

THE Australian launch of Volkswagen's Golf Cabriolet in 1990 coincided with the return of the Golf hatchback after an eight-year break.

There was a trick, though: while the hatch was the new third-generation version, the cabrio was still based on the original mechanicals and could trace its build history back to 1979.

Volkswagen charged a hefty $34,950 for the cabrio, which came with a 70 kW/142 Nm 1.8-litre engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

In 1991 a three-speed automatic option was added and, in 1993, power operation for the roof. The price was $29,990 when it was discontinued in 1994.

A new version arrived in 1995, based on the Golf III. The base price jumped to $46,990 but so did the equipment level. At its heart was a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that produced 85 kW and 166 Nm. A five-speed manual was the standard transmission, while a four-speed auto added $2000.

Standard equipment included electric windows, dual front airbags, air-conditioning, a four-speaker sound system, alloy wheels, ABS anti-lock brakes, metallic paint and central locking. The roof raised and lowered at the touch of a button.

An SE model was sold from November 1997 to October 1998.

A cheaper 1.8-litre version dubbed the CL (the 2.0-litre became the GL) was introduced in 1998. It produced 66 kW and 145 Nm. Pricing began at $42,390 for the five-speed manual. The auto added $2200.

The CL was was axed in 2000. The GL, pictured, survived until 2003. -- BRUCE NEWTON

The Golf Cabrio was a pretty expensive proposition for what you ended up getting. Go for a later one and inspect for wear.

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