In the early Volkswagen desperately needed to replace the venerable Beetle. A lot of people especially in the motoring press though that the company might fail to meet the challenge. It didn’t replace the old stalwart with a car that was destined for amazing success. The MK 1 golf was an utterly conventional interpretation of what was becoming the Euro small car norm a hatch back body powered by a transversely mounted front engine. Because it was a Volkswagen, the Golf was sensibly and ruggedly engineered and, perhaps best of all by the Italian designer Giugiaro. However, the MK 1 Golf will be remembered for more than those admirable traits. It was the basis for one of the most enduring automotive trends ever the hot hatch. It is this fact that makes it a true landmark car and has forever endured it a place in the history of the automobile. Early in the model’s life, enthusiast VW engineers tried fitting the Golf with the 110 bhp fuel injected 1.6 liter engine destined by the Audi 80 GTE, and the resulting prototype had a magic production and eventual popularity with the car buying public a certainly.
The winning formula for the original GTI was simple; a punchy engine, stiffish suspension and some sporty additions and trim. The unobtrusive spoiler, restrained striping and alloy wheels made for a suitable, but effective formula that was still being copied more than two decades later. The combination of reliability, strong performance and razor sharp handling meant that GTI became the common man’s sports car.