There aren’t too many vehicles that have as long standing lineage as Volkswagen’s Golf which is now in it’s 7th generation. But ever since the introduction of the first generation, the Golf has been establishing its place in automotive history. Introduced to the world as a modern economical front wheel drive car, the Golf was created to be an everyday commuter providing ample space in a small package. At a time when emission regulations were becoming more stringent and performance automobiles were not the hot topic, a group skunkworks team was formed at Volkswagen who put in design, engineering and marketing time after-hours to create truly the first hot hatch in automotive history. Branded as the Golf GTI, the car was never thought to be a success story, but customer response proved otherwise.
The GTI first took to the public eye at the 1975 Frankfurt Motor Show. Keeping the recipe simple, the engineers at Volkswagen raided the parts bin and gave the light weight commuter Golf a sport tuned suspension and a bump in the horsepower department. Fitted up front in the mk1 GTI was a 1588cc four-cylinder engine with a ground breaking K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection system which made 110hp. By today’s standards that is not a lot of power. However, big power was never in the design plans for the GTI. It was about creating a well rounded package resulting from the sum of its parts. The mk1 GTI, to this day, is still a highly sought after car because it defined simplicity in engineering. The car is forgiving on the road for a daily driver, but had just enough performance to make it one hell of a weekend canyon carver.