Italian car designer Giorgio Giugiaro of Ital Design, the creator of the Lotus Esprit, begins prototype designs for what would
become the VW Golf. Tasked with creating a range of models for VW to revitalise business after the 30 year reign of the Beetle,
Giugiaro began to make his paper dreams a reality.
Giugiaro’s completed designs for a range of Volkswagen models, including the Golf, are submitted to head office for production planning.
The Volkswagen Golf is born, officially launched at the Geneva Motorshow alongside the Mk1 Scirocco. Two Golf models are avaibable,
with either 3 or 5 doors, and a 50Bhp 1100cc engine, or a 75Bhp 1600cc engine.
The summer of ’75 in Wolfsburg, Herbert Schuster and his dedicated team of VW engineers have been working on a special project
– the ‘Sport Golf’. This was to become the first ‘Hot Hatchback’. Convinced of it’s merits, the team persuaded VW’s marketing
department to have some protype models produced, featuring the 1.6 GTI engine. The first car wearing a GTI badge was unveiled
to an interested press, and one month later the first offical production model appeared at the Frankfurt Motorshow.
The world of motoring has gone GTI crazy. Mercedes and BMW owners worldwide curse under their breaths, as the Pocket Rocket
starts to make a rubber burnt name for itself. For the first time, high performance, power and fun driving have been made
available at an affordable price.
July – The GTI reaches UK shores and makes itself at home. The Golf throws dust in the face of it’s contemporary rivals, and
many UK boy-racers are born and converted to GTI power! The 5spd gearbox is introduced, now the top of the range model.
The Hot Hatch is born again! As if the 1.6 wasn’t hot enough, VW now introduce the new top of the range 1.8 GTI with 112Bhp,
0-60 in 8.2 seconds, and more torque than you can throw a wrench at!
August 1983, VW produce the last batch of 1.8 GTIs before the new model Mk2 hits the market. A limited number ‘special edition’
Golfs were manufactured, featuring all the added extras and some tell-tale signs to differentiate them from the older models.
These are known as the Campaign Golfs (see the Campaign section for details).
1983 to the Present…
The Mk2 Golf is launched. A heavier car, weighing 929Kg, needing a better engine to match the Mk1 performance. The 16v engine
is well received, producing 139Bhp, it only beats the Mk1 at 0-60 by 0.2 seconds!
By the time the Mk3 was introduced, the Golf was already one of the highest selling cars ever made. But it was getting heavier
again. Only the 174Bhp 2.8 VR6 could shave a slice off the Mk1s 0-60 time, beating it by only 1 second. But all round performance
wasn’t as sprightly.
Golf Mk4, and VW spins adverts claiming ‘GTI Forever’. Perhaps a last effort by VW to promote their most successful creation
to date. So next they try the R32, the ‘new generation GTI’, which is actually a 4WD ‘super-hatchback’. It certainly has power
and grunt to match a bigger car, but the simple fun of the Mk1 has long gone.
The omnipresent shadow of the Mk1 GTI continues to haunt the corridoors of VW Wolfsburg. Perhaps that’s why someone at Volkswagen
quietly kept the Mk1 shell in production until the present day, in a sunny corner of the world…