Updated: 25-Aug-19

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Buying | Selling | Market Value

Buying A Cabriolet

Where to buy:

Cabriolet Buyer's Guide

Buyer note: These cars came factory-equipped with their convertible top boots (aka covers).  Do not let a seller convince you otherwise, and take off a Benjamin or two if it's missing as they are expensive to replace, even in the used market.

Same goes for the side trim. If any trim is missing, it is expensive to replace if you want OEM.

Selling A Cabriolet

Where to sell:

Cabriolet Seller's Guide

Cabriolet Market Values

To owners this is great news, but not so much for buyers: The market value of Cabriolets has gone up significantly over the last several years.  What used to be a $500 steal is no more.

How does market value differ from book value?  Book value is what most insurance companies go by when determining a payout for your damaged vehicle.  In a Cabriolet's case, you will need to either purchase classic car insurance (Hagerty, for example), get an Agreed Value policy, or fight your insurance company with lots of vigor.  Insurance will want to use book value after an accident/theft, but your argument will be, "But to replace my still like-new Cabriolet with another will cost more than that!  Look at all of these examples!"  Currently, market value for these cars is higher than book value, in some cases, lots higher.  Ergo, after you buy your dream car, or if you currently have it, take lots of photos and try to keep "comps" (comparison ads) filed away as well… just in case.

With that, here are the current (2017) market values for Volkswagen Cabriolets/Rabbit Convertibles in the USA (mostly stock; modified cars are not included):

Level One: $8,000 and up

  • Pristine, all-original car (aside from normal wear items like battery, tires, etc.) and looks like it just left the factory
  • Ultra low-mileage (0-25,000 or so) and no visible wear inside or out
  • Nothing is missing, all accoutrements (badges, cassette holder, original radio, water diverter, radiator airflow cards, etc.) are in factory-original places, and car still runs like a watch
  • Comes with all documentation (owner's manuals, receipts, etc.)
  • The average price for these types of Cabriolets is around $8,500, but a small handful have sold in the $9,000 to $11,000 range

Level Two: $4,000 to $7,500

  • In excellent condition, but may show some minor normal wear (a few little rock chips, etc.), or has perhaps has been repainted and/or the top replaced
  • Upholstery is still original with only very minor wear, or has been professionally reupholstered
  • Rubber components are still in tip-top shape
  • Should be presented in immaculate condition (without bumper-type stickers) and not missing any components
  • Should not require mechanical work or any cleaning
  • Relatively low miles (30,000 to 90,000 or so)
  • Average selling price for these Cabriolets is around $4,500-$6,500

Level Three: $2,000 to $3,500

  • In otherwise good or average condition for its age, but has some age-related issues
  • Paint: rock chips, may be a bit oxidized
  • Wheels: may be coated with brake dust
  • Upholstery is a bit worn, faded, or a touch dirty , or has been re-covered; leather seats may be dried out
  • Engine bay: may be missing radiator airflow card(s), is a touch dirty along with underside of hood; engine and/or transmission may have been rebuilt or swapped
  • Rubber seals may have minor cracks
  • Could use some restoration and/or mechanical work and/or detailing
  • Minor components may be missing (radio, shift boot, floor mats, badge, etc.)
  • Mileage is normal for the car's age (10,000-12,000 miles per year is the average)
  • Average selling price for these Cabriolets is around $2,500-$3,000

Level Four: $0 to $1,500

  • In poor condition: paint is shot, top is shot, interior is shot, has some rust spots, needs mechanical work (or doesn't run), components missing, body damage, etc.
  • Basically, a rescue job: a car destined for the junkyard, but could very well be saved with the right buyer
  • Will require major restoration work by a caring owner