Used Car of the Day: 1996 Volkswagen Derby

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Today we bring you a car that wasn't, to my knowledge, sold new in the United States. It's a Mexican-spec Volkswagen Derby. Which was basically a rebadged SEAT Cordoba.

Basically, the car was built in Mexico using parts from Spain.

This particular example has about 82,000 miles on it and a five-speed manual. It apparently has just 90 horsepower from the 1.8-liter engine (some Googling shows that there are different versions of that engine, and indeed one version does make 90 hp).

There are no airbags, due to the different European safety standards of the time.

A tuneup has been done recently, the battery is new, and so are the tires. The clutch is new, too.

This car is based in Mexico, and it appears that the seller may be a dealer. So keep that in mind. Nothing against dealers, of course, but the buying experience, especially with a car based over the border, may be different than with a private seller. Importing vehicles can be tricky, too, but this car is more than 25 years old. That should make things easier.

If you want to check it out, the price is $5,200 and you can see more by clicking here.

[Images: Seller]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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4 of 7 comments
  • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on Apr 18, 2024

    So this is really just a restyled VW Fox. Craptacular tin can but fun to drive in a "makes ordinary traffic seem like a NASCAR race" kind of way.

    • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on Apr 19, 2024

      I think a car has to be somewhat agile to make that sort of thing fun. One of my families growing up had a 1.0L Subaru Justy (1900 lbs with me sitting in it) hanging around, and I honestly had a blast just keeping up with traffic in it. I don't think an equally slow two-ton sedan would have been nearly as fun.

  • FreedMike FreedMike on Apr 18, 2024

    Apparently this car, which doesn't comply to U.S. regs, is in Nogales, Mexico. What could possibly go wrong with this transaction?

    • See 1 previous
    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Apr 19, 2024

      Yeah, I'm trying to figure out just who would cross the border to buy a 28-year-old VW.

  • SCE to AUX What a farce.Besides, "patriotism" has been redefined a hundred different ways in the last 20+ years. Disagree with one of them, and you're a traitor.And for starters, Jeep is a Stellantis brand with its HQ in the Netherlands. If this persistent myth about patriotism is ever cracked, the brand is doomed.
  • MaintenanceCosts I'm definitely seeing more dealer-level discounts than I did a year ago, but not a lot of lower MSRPs.
  • MaintenanceCosts Some people are fooled by sticking little flag badges on stuff, I guess.
  • Bkojote I'm proud to drive my Jeep, an American car that was made in Mexico and engineered in Italy for Brazil by a French-Italian company discarded by the Germans and now headquartered in the Netherlands.Sure my Renegade is a pile, but it's the same brand that made the XJ Cherokee! And that's as American as they come, as it was financed and engineered by the French whose colors are also red white and blue, and who could forget the Wrangler, which is proudly assembled in Ohio by a Korean firm they subcontracted to.
  • Paul Alexander Pretty cool that WalMart, the driving force behind consumer products all being Made-In-China and the destruction of Main Street USA, is considered patriotic.