When Volkswagen launched the Golf in 1974 , it was a simple, low-cost production car designed to replace the brand’s spearheading Beetle for years.
The Golf has a sharp line design signed by the Italian designer Guigiaro.
Phase 1 is certainly the most successful aesthetically, the following phases will try to be inspired by it by modernizing it with more or less success.
In 1976 appears the Volkswagen Golf GTi. It is also very rustic in some ways: 4 speed gearbox only, engine with intake and exhaust on the same side.
But it also has some rather exceptional elements for the time, namely:
– very good seats
– very pleasant orders
– an engine with superb noise despite its rusticity
– electronic fuel injection (hence the i) which provides performance and low consumption.
It is thus launching a new generation of sports car.
In addition, her trendy look makes her a muse of the beautiful neighborhoods where Madame buys it to go shopping and pick up the children at school and Monsieur borrows from her so much it’s a treat to drive.
Real athletes can not always afford it and will often wait until the beautiful is available on occasion.
The real faults of the Golf Gti are and always will be the brakes, the pedal is spongy and the braking not enduring at all but also the very weak headlights.
Before the Golf GTi, a sports car was a few drives reserved for tough guys like the Kadett GTE, or the Ford RS 2000, it was mostly well motorized and often heavy coupes (Ferrari, Porsche, Lancia, Ford Capri, BMW 30 …)
With the Golf was born the generation of sports cars: everyday cars sublimated by a few touch-ups and an engine worthy of the name, without forgetting aesthetic touch-ups.
With its matte black fender extensions, its front blade, its red grille threads, and a bit of matte black sticker on the side and the rear window, the look has a “Come and try me” side that few sportsmen managed to match.
Its reliability also made its reputation at a time when sports cars were not always reliable.
At a time when speed limits were more an indication than an imposition, and where the oil crisis had just passed a car with devilish road holding capable of doing Paris Nice at 180 km / h in the background of 4 (5 later) as many times as you want, requiring little gasoline and an occasional oil change could only appeal to wealthy Parisians in particular looking for a weekend in the sun. A myth was born.
In 1981 Volkswagen France worried about seeing the competition arrive with more and more powerful sports cars and feared that the Golf would lose its number one place. They order from the sorcerer Oettinger an evil Golf with a 16-valve cylinder head made by the sorcerer. The car also has a shorter gearbox, specific counters, a body kit, specific shock absorbers, Ferrodo 2500 pads but retains its small discs and drums at the rear.
With 1200 copies the Golf Oettinger develops 136 hp, it is a real bomb for the time. No one will dethrone it, especially as the Golf 1800, which will appear with only 112 hp, will remain a solid leader. It is ultimately a car of only 105 hp which will take over from the Golf, taking on exactly the same strengths: the Peugeot 205 GTi.
To drive, the Golf is a car that gives the impression of always wanting to be banged in, its super healthy chassis is slightly understeer, it lifts the rear dough in support. Do not forget to adjust the front axle with negative camber if you want a little downforce.
The following generations are more clumsy both to the eye and to driving, they see the arrival of the 1800 16S made by VW which is no more powerful than the 1600 Oettinger and well finished special series: match … The 1800 112 hp version is still available in 3 and 5 doors but the injection is now hot wire and no longer shutter.
In recent versions of the Volkswagen Golf, GTi versions have emerged which seek to rediscover the spirit of phase 1: powerful, reliable, and tasteful. Even with 200hp these versions do not manage to give sensations like the Golf 1 did. Volkswagen even goes so far as to update the Scottish fabric for the seats, which offers much better support than the leather that we find too often.