Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: 1988 Volkswagen Cabriolet – Nearly Extinct, Especially in New York

Posted to the Cohort by William Rubano

Convertibles don’t get much love in America these days. They’re a dying breed. Ford and Chevy probably sell a decent number of Mustang and Camaro convertibles each year, but when is the last time a non-luxury German or Japanese drop top not named Miata resonated with the American public? The only other model that comes to mind is the Toyota MR2 Spyder. And before that, the Cabriolet.

What’s it like owning a 1988 Cabriolet in modern times? Parts might be hard to come by. But I think the convertible’s acceleration might the most stressful aspect of ownership. Based on my limited research, the Cabriolet came equipped with a 1.8 liter four cylinder good for 90 horsepower. At around 2300 pounds, a four speed would probably make the car move at an acceptable clip. But these were also available with a three speed automatic. Probably a bit zippy but is it up to the demands of impatient NYC area drivers?

I especially would not want to drive one in Long Island. Yes, that’s right: I did some online sleuthing based solely on the fact that this little VW was parked in front of a Panera Bread. It was surprisingly easy to find, as I’ve suspected that Mr. Rubano has been photographing vehicles in Long Island for quite some time. Now I know for sure. Mineola, New York is a village not far from Hempstead, which itself is located in Nassau County. NYC is generally not a fun place to drive a car. And Long Island isn’t much better.

But you know what? Jones Beach is only about twenty minutes away from this parking lot. In the summer, it’s got to be a helluva lot of fun to drop the top and go for a scenic drive along the Long Island sound. Water, warm weather, and convertibles kind of go together pretty nicely, right? I can smell the ocean air right now, even though it’s late January and the high for today was about 28 degrees, both here and in Mineola. Who cares if the Ram 1500 that’s right behind you could easily run you over, as demonstrated by this picture. A Cabriolet is an extremely rare sight these days, especially in this condition. The owner either took meticulous care of it or recently had it repainted. That’s a good indicator they care about the car. In any event, here’s to hoping this little VW is plying the streets of Long Island many years from now.